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Acad Med. 1999 Jul;74(7):773-81.

Research in the Veterans Health Administration: the report of the Research Realignment Advisory Committee.

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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


In 1995 the Under Secretary for Health of the Department of Veterans Affairs constituted the Research Realignment Advisory Committee and charged it with reviewing the VA's research program. After meeting in 1995 and 1996, the committee identified 12 findings, which fall into four broad categories: allocation of research resources among VA research programs, acquisition and protection of resources, stability and maintenance of infrastructure, and outreach and communications. The most far-reaching recommendation was to establish designated research areas so that VA research could be focused more sharply on the specific needs of veterans while maintaining a research base for relatively less common conditions and needs integral to the VA's mission. The second major issue was that research funding should be increased (because it had fallen in inflation-adjusted dollars while the cost of doing research continued to rise). The third major area dealt with operational issues about how research was administered in the newly created system of geographically defined "veterans integrated service networks" and at the medical centers and how research monies flowed to medical centers. The final major area had to do with career development, for the committee considered the recruitment and retention of outstanding junior investigators to be a core function of VA research. The committee's recommendations, some of which have already been implemented, form the basis for strengthening the VA's research enterprise and for fully integrating it within the new structure of health care delivery in the VA.

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