Office of Research & Development

Joining a Research Study

About Our Research

From research on tuberculosis in the 1940s, to today's developments in advanced robotic prosthetics, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has ranked as one of the nation's leaders in health research.

The VA Research program consists of four main research services, which work together to address the full spectrum of Veterans' health needs

Why Are Research Studies Important?

Research studies are important, because they can help provide:

  • an organized, methodical way to learn more about a specific concern
  • answers about whether or not a treatment is effective
  • a better understanding about which health care services are effective and efficient
  • opportunities to test whether a drug or piece of equipment is safe and effective
  • answers to questions about the best way to treat or prevent an illness

What Are the Results of VA Research?

While some studies look at existing information, numbers, or other data, other studies require human participation. These volunteer participants have contributed to many important advances in health care, including:

  • The development of microelectronics and robotics to create artificial limbs that look, feel, and work more like natural arms and legs
  • The creation of the nicotine patch to help people stop smoking.
  • Inventing the cardiac pacemaker.
  • Performing the first successful liver transplant.
  • Contributing to the development of the CAT (or CT) scan.
  • Developing new drugs and treatments for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and osteoporosis.

No one can predict the exact outcome of a research study, and you may or may not see a direct benefit to your health or health condition if you take part in a research study-but your participation does matter.

Volunteering in Research


85 years of VA R&D

Click to view Windows Media video

Watch this story of the history of VA research, and see the amazing discoveries that make Veterans' lives better every day.
(8:01 min - Windows Media)

View more ORD Research videos.

See also ORD Publications.