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VA RESEARCH QUARTERLY UPDATE
This Issue: Ensuring High-Quality Care | Table of Contents: Fall 2018 | Download this issue

New Initiatives | Announcements

VA launches new research center of excellence for Veteran caregivers


The new Elizabeth Dole Center of Excellence for Veteran and Caregiver Research will allow VA to expand its research on Veteran caregivers, and the challenges they and their families face. <em>(Photo for illustrative purposes only. ©iStock/kali9)</em>
The new Elizabeth Dole Center of Excellence for Veteran and Caregiver Research will allow VA to expand its research on Veteran caregivers, and the challenges they and their families face. (Photo for illustrative purposes only. ©iStock/kali9)

The new Elizabeth Dole Center of Excellence for Veteran and Caregiver Research will allow VA to expand its research on Veteran caregivers, and the challenges they and their families face. (Photo for illustrative purposes only. ©iStock/kali9)

In September 2018, VA announced that it will fund a new center of excellence for caregiver research. The center is named for Senator Elizabeth Dole—honoring the work she has done to support the 5.5 million military and Veteran caregivers in the U.S.  

The Elizabeth Dole Center of Excellence for Veteran and Caregiver Research will be managed by the VA Health Services Research and Development service. Caregiver research will be spread out over four VA health care facilities in Texas, Florida, Utah, and California. Dr. Luci Leykum at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System is the lead investigator. She will be joined by VA investigators Drs. Stuti Dang, Mary Jo Pugh, and Ranak Trivedi.

The new center will allow VA to expand its research on Veteran caregivers, and the challenges they and their families face. The new center has several goals: to involve Veteran caretakers in the design of new models of care; to use Veteran-driven metrics for program evaluations; to use data science to help match services to caregivers; and to apply implementation science to employ best caregiver practices in the home and community.

A report by the RAND Corporation estimates that 1.1 million people are caring for post-9/11 Veterans. The profile of post-9/11 caregivers differs substantially from that of civilian caregivers. Post-9/11 caregivers are more apt to be spouses (33 vs. 16 percent) or parents (25 vs. 10 percent) than civilian caregivers. As a group, they are much younger (37 percent are under the age of 30) and are more likely to be caring for a Veteran who has a traumatic brain injury, mobility-limiting disability, or a mental health/substance use disorder.

"We know how important caregivers are to the Veteran community now, and we know they're going to be even more important 10 and 20 years out," Steve Schwab, executive director of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, told Military Times.


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