VA Research Verges on Breakdown



Over the past 75 years, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has developed one of the most sophisticated and powerful research enterprises in the United States. Conducting research that benefits veterans is, in fact, one of the four missions of the VA. In fulfilling this mission, three VA researchers have won the Nobel Prize, and thousands of others have investigated issues like effective treatments for PTSD or prosthetics that enhance mobility for amputees. VA research is key to the world-class care it delivers to its nine million patients, which studies show is often superior to the private sector.


VA research doesn’t just help veterans. VA researchers developed the first implantable cardiac pacemaker, the first shingles vaccine, and the nicotine patch. Among the thousands of active VA research projects are ones investigating the efficacy of treatments for COVID-19 and exploring how the virus spreads in hospitals.

This research is conducted in partnership with the nation’s medical schools. The vast majority of the schools have academic affiliations with the VA, and clinical staff at these institutions have joint appointments in the VA.

VHPI Policy Analysts Suzanne Gordon and Russell Lemle wrote a new report on this work, and threats to it, in The American Prospect. Read the full story here.