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This Issue: Ensuring High-Quality Care | Table of Contents: Fall 2016 | Download this issue

In This Issue: Ensuring High-Quality Care

From the Acting Chief Research and Development Officer  Secretary Robert McDonald
David Atkins, M.D., M.P.H. VA's need to improve Veterans' access to timely and high-quality care has been much in the news lately. In August, Secretary Bob McDonald told the American Legion at its national convention that "more Veterans are coming to VA for care, and waiting less time." In his speech, the Secretary said that in 2015, Veterans had nearly 4 million more appointments than in 2014. Almost 57 million of those appointments were in VA facilities, and more than 16.8 million were for VA care in communities. ...Read more
New Initiatives New research center to open in New OrleansNew research center opens in New Orleans
The new New Orleans VA Medical Center, built to replace one made unusable during Hurricane Katrina, opened Nov. 18, 2016. Among the features of the new medical center is an entire building dedicated to research. Located in a building formerly used to brew Dixie beer, the 100,000 square-foot structure is designed mainly for biomedical research...Read more

Funding for new suicide studies Funding for new suicide studies
VA's Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development (BLR&D), Clinical Science Research and Development (CSR&D), and Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) services have issued Requests for Applications (RFAs) from VA researchers for projects focused on the prevention of suicide and the treatment of suicidality in Veterans...Read more

Study to compare two gout medicationsExploring precision medicine for depression
VA Health Services Research and Development and VA's Genomic Medicine Implementation and QUERI programs are funding a study of precision medicine's role in improving treatment for Veterans with major depressive disorder. The initiative, titled PRIME care (PRecision medicine in MEntal health care), will be led by Dr. David Oslin of the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia...Read more

A Chat with Our Experts Dr. John R. Blosnich<Health disparities among LGBT Veterans
Dr. John R. Blosnich is a research health scientist with the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion at the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System, and an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. His research focuses on interpersonal and self-directed violence among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. His VA work focuses on LGBT Veterans, with particular attention to suicide risk...Read more
Spotlight on Career Development awardees Dr. Jack TsaiImproving services for homeless Veterans
Dr. Jack Tsai is a clinical psychologist at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System and an investigator for VA's New England Mental Illness, Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) and Pain Research, Informatics, Medical Comorbidities and Education (PRIME) Center. His work involves addressing the needs of homeless populations, improving understanding of PTSD and recovery from the condition, and evaluating psychosocial services for adults with severe mental illness. His HSR&D Career Development Award focuses on improving services for homeless Veterans...Read more
Noteworthy Publications Leveraging estrogen for cardiovascular and overall health Leveraging estrogen for cardiovascular and overall health
Dr. Ellis Levin, a clinician scientist at the VA Long Beach Health Care System, and his colleagues published a study in the Oct. 15, 2016, issue of Molecular and Cell Endocrinology that showed the ability of ERβ, a protein that binds with estrogen, to neutralize a hormone called angiotensin II, a known cause of high blood pressure and heart damage...Read more

Diabetes drug shows effectiveness against chronic liver disease Diabetes drug shows effectiveness against chronic liver disease
A drug currently used to treat diabetes can also be used to halt the progression nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, a disease that is a leading cause of liver transplants, according a three-year clinical trial by researchers at the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, Florida...Read more

Disparities between rural and urban Veterans Disparities between rural and urban Veterans
Rural women Veterans have significantly worse physical health functioning than urban women Veterans, according to a study in the Journal of Rural Health...Read more

Lack of internet access can impede efforts to quit smoking Lack of internet access can impede efforts to quit smoking
A study by the VA Mid-Atlantic Region Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center and the VA Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care points to racial and sociodemographic disparities in internet access that can undermine Veterans' efforts to quit smoking...Read more

Comparing VA and Medicare Advantage quality
VA's quality performance was significantly better than that reported by Medicare Advantage plans for each of 12 nationally-recognized measures of quality, according to a study in the March 31, 2016, issue of Inquiry...Read more

In the News
Honorable Mentions

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