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The whole is greater than the sum of its parts: the anatomy of the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical District 17 Health Services Research and Development Field Program.

  • J G Demakis
  • R S Turpin
  • K J Conrad
  • W M Stiers
  • F M Weaver
  • J M Sinacore
  • D C Cowper
  • L A Darcy
  • M N Huck
  • B S Friedman
Publication Date
Apr 01, 1990
  • Medicine
  • Psychology


The Medical District 17 Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) Field Program was funded by the Veterans Administration (now the Department of Veterans Affairs--VA) in January 1983. This article describes the organization, progress, and accomplishments of this field program, and it provides a review of the breadth of health services research that is being conducted in Medical District 17. Overall, the field program has conducted research that addresses significant problems in the delivery of health care within the VA system. Resource utilization, cost effectiveness, and the care of geriatric patients have been some of the areas in which the Medical District 17 HSR&D Field Program has provided important research findings for VA. The field program plans to continue its response to the needs of VA. Moreover, HSR&D investigators will be collaborating with researchers of other services to conduct research that is both enlightening and highly relevant to the delivery of health care to the nation's veterans. The proposal for an HSR&D field program was developed by the Edward A. Hines Jr. VA Hospital in collaboration with the Center for Health Services and Policy Research (CHSPR) of Northwestern University. The program was funded in January 1983, as the result of a national competition to establish an HSR&D field program in each of the VA regions. The goals of the Medical District 17 Field Program are to improve the health care of veterans by conducting relevant research on the processes and outcomes of patient care; to provide comprehensive technical research assistance; and to educate VA managers, planners, and clinicians, as well as the general medical community, about advances in health care delivery. The field program's commitment to excellence is strengthened by its multidisciplinary approach, which enables physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, sociologists, economists, statisticians, administrators, and individuals in various related disciplines to cooperate in efforts to address a wide range of topical issues. These collaborations are a major strength of the field program. Primary research priorities of the field program are cost effectiveness of VA services (e.g., patient care technologies, delivery systems), long-term care, and rehabilitation. Investigators, however, are not limited to these topics and explore many other health services research issues of particular interest to them.

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