Office of Research & Development

VA RESEARCH QUARTERLY UPDATE
This Issue: The Returning Veteran | Table of Contents: Winter 2017

In This Issue: The Returning Veteran

From the Chief Research and Development Officer
Rachel B. Ramoni, D.M.D., Sc.D As VA's new chief research and development officer, I sense we are entering an exciting time for the Office of Research and Development and the department as a whole. There will be many opportunities to work with the new administration and President Trump to continue what we do best: conduct innovative research and help develop cutting-edge medical treatments for our nation's Veterans. Read more
New Initiatives VA researchers study lung health in returning Veterans VA researchers study lung health in returning Veterans
Under the umbrella of VA's Cooperative Studies Program, VA has funded research to assess the lung health of 4,500 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans. The study, expected to be launched in 2017, is titled "Service and Health Among Deployed Veterans (SHADE)." The objective of the study is to find out if exposures to air pollution during deployments to U.S. bases overseas are associated with poor lung function. Read more

Million Veteran Program assists in genome-wide studies Million Veteran Program assists in genome-wide studies
In collaboration with VA's Million Veteran Program (MVP), Dr. Murray Stein at the VA San Diego Health Care System and Dr. Joel Gelernter of the VA Connecticut Health Care System are leading research into the genetic underpinnings of posttraumatic stress disorder. The team will conduct one of the largest genetic studies of PTSD to date. Read more

VA Research announces new PTSD Psychopharmacology InitiativeVA Research announces new PTSD Psychopharmacology Initiative
In June 2016, VA convened an expert panel to review the body of available research on PTSD and drug treatments. The panel identified significant gaps in VA's work to identify and test the most effective drugs to treat PTSD in Veterans. The review led to the new call for research proposals as well as other elements such as training opportunities and clinical site surveys to address this priority research need. Read more

A Chat with Our Experts Dr. Keith Humphreys Improving care for Veterans with substance use disorders
Dr. Keith Humphreys is the associate director for HSR&D's Center for Innovation to Implementation in Palo Alto, California. He is also the principal investigator for a VA CREATE initiative, which is a group of interrelated research projects. Humphreys' CREATE focuses on care innovations for substance use disorders. VARQU spoke with Dr. Humphreys and his associate Dr. Michael Cucciare, associate director for research training at the South Central MIRECC in Little Rock, Arkansas, about their work to improve treatments for substance use disorders among Veterans.Read more



PODCAST: Dr. Humphreys speaks about the unique challenges that Veterans have with substance use disorders.
Listen (7:20), Transcript
Spotlight on Career Development Awardees Dr. Patrick AubinBuilding a better artificial limb
Dr. Patrick Aubin is a research investigator with the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in the Rehabilitation Research and Development (RR&D) Center for Limb Loss and Mobility (CLIMB). He is also an affiliate assistant professor in the department of mechanical engineering at the University of Washington. Aubin and his team are working to design a better prosthetic leg for Veterans who have had lower-limb loss, using computer-simulated design. Read more
Noteworthy Publications Homelessness among U.S. male and female Veterans linked to military sexual trauma Homelessness among U.S. male and female Veterans linked to military sexual trauma
Researchers at the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System and VA's National Center for PTSD found Veterans who had experienced military sexual trauma are at greater risk for homelessness once they leave military service. The retrospective study results were published in JAMA Psychiatry. Read more

Spinal Cord Injury Vocational Integration Program Spinal Cord Injury Vocational Integration Program
In two multi-center studies, VA researchers found that working one-on-one with Veterans who had spinal cord injuries (SCI) using supported employment techniques had the best chance of success for job placement and continued employment. In the first study, Dr. Lisa Ottomanelli and her team followed the progress of more than 200 Veterans with spinal cord injuries who were seeking employment. Read more

STEP-Home: Improving reintegration for OEF/OIF Veterans STEP-Home: Improving reintegration for OEF/OIF Veterans
Researchers at the VA Boston Health Care System adapted a civilian rehabilitation program to create a 12-week workshop to help Veterans who have returned home to the U.S. after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. The aim of the "STEP-Home" workshop is to strengthen behavioral and emotional skills so that Veterans are better equipped to rejoin their families and civilian communities. Read more

Veterans with PTSD like using online technology to manage care Veterans with PTSD like using online technology to manage care
VA researchers report that Veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that occurs along with other illnesses welcome the use of eHealth tools to help manage their health. The study was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. Dr. Julia M. Whealin is a research health scientist at the National Center for PTSD Pacific Islands Division, in Honolulu. She and her team wanted to find out how Veterans with PTSD and co-occurring health conditions were using health care technology. Read more


Infograph Quality of life for post-9/11Veterans with PTSD Quality of life for post-9/11Veterans with PTSD
Infograph on occupational and intimate relationship functioning for Veterans with PTSD. Data taken from "Consequences of PTSD for the work and family quality of life of female and male U.S. Afghanistan and Iraq War veterans," Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, principal investigator Dr. Dawne Vogt, Woman's Health Sciences Division, National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Health Care System. Read more
In the News
Honorable Mentions

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