By Debbie Gregory.
Since 1925, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has conducted hospital-based research as part of its Office of Research and Development (ORD). In 1946, directly after WWII, the ORD developed methods for treating tuberculosis, and began studies that would eventually develop treatments for diseases and conditions including schizophrenia, diabetes, depression, heart disease and stroke. Since that time, the ORD has accomplished a diverse collection of achievements, innovations and breakthroughs. They have even had three of their researchers awarded the Nobel Prize. The VA’s research team has evolved to become leading edge. To see a full timeline of the historical accomplishments made by the VA’s ORD, dating back to 1925, click here.
Today, there are the more than 3,400 ORD researchers conducting vital medical inquiries in the office’s four divisions: biomedical research, clinical studies, rehabilitation and health services research. The ORD’s collective research plays a crucial role in improving healthcare for Veterans, as well as for advancing medical science.
VA researchers conduct thousands of studies at VA medical centers, outpatient clinics and convalescent homes. Through collaborative work with academic institutions, nonprofits, and other federal agencies, the ORD is able to further their scope of knowledge. But it is through Veteran volunteers that they are able to conduct their research.
Veterans volunteer to participate in the various research projects. Veterans who volunteer are informed of the risks involved with the study, and realize that they might not see a direct benefit to their health. But many Veterans volunteer anyway, hoping that their sacrifice could benefit others in the future. Veterans have the right to opt out of a program or treatment at any time. For more information about participating in research through the VA Cooperative Studies Program, please visit the CSP portal from www.reasearchva.gov.
Because of the 90 year partnership between Veteran volunteers and the doctors, scientists and researchers from the VA’s ORD, the quality of medical care is constantly improving. Detecting, treating and preventing diseases and afflictions have been made possible. And living with the use of prosthetics has jumped into the space age.