VAIRRS Ambassador Program
In each issue of the VAIRRS Newsletter (every other month), a leading site utilizing the VAIRRS program is selected as a VAIRRS Ambassador. Facilities are evaluated based on participation, enthusiasm and commitment to improving the system and contributing to the benefits the VAIRRS enterprise has to offer. The selected VAIRRS ambassador serves as a great role model to other sites across the country, who want to learn more about VAIRRS and how the program can make their job more efficient and effective.
VAIRRS November Ambassador: James J. Peters VA Medical Center
VAIRRS Experience: The James J. Peters VAMC (JJPVAMC), located in the Bronx and serving as one of the largest research programs in VISN 2, covering New York and New Jersey, provides primary and specialty care for Veterans. The VAMC's research portfolio includes annual spending of about $35M.
The James J. Peters VAMC began using the VAIRRS program in the middle of the pandemic. Thanks to champion Committee Coordinators Trevor Hall and Robert Jordan, the James J. Peters VAMC has been able to train researchers and support staff on how to use the system. The JJPVAMC had over 240 protocols and nearly 500 staffers, so the education demand was high. In addition to group sessions, our champions provided one-on-one training with patience and persistence. Also, one member of the team continually provided liaison support to get answers from experienced users and shared that broadly with all IRBNet users at the JJPVAMC. This played a crucial role in the success of VAIRRS at the Bronx VA.
While there were some initial frustrations, the calm and kind approach of our committee team made the transition happen and the researchers and administrators have discovered many benefits of the program and learned many lessons throughout the process. For example, the pre-programed reminder function reduces the amount of emails that the committee coordinators have to send and allows the R&D administrative staff to tell investigators when work is due. Also, the researchers strongly benefit from storing all documents in one place so that new staff members have a one-stop shop to learn about the protocols.
Congratulations to Trevor and Robert at the James J. Peters VAMC and many thanks for your support!