The Bay Area Leads the Nation in VA Research Funding - VA Northern California Health Care System
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The Bay Area Leads the Nation in VA Research Funding

Researchers at VAPACHS
Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Bay Area is known throughout the world as “Silicon Valley,” but many people do not realize it is also a world leader in medical research.  One of the leaders in this research is the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The San Francisco VA Medical Center and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System are numbers 1 and 2, respectively, in the nation for VA research funding, according to the recently released research figures from headquarters.  Additionally, the Northern California Health Care System has a vibrant research program.   These three health care systems’ research funding expenditures for the Bay Area from the VA, the National Institutes of Health, other federal agencies and private sponsors totaled nearly $145 million in fiscal year 2011.

“Because more than 60 percent of VA researchers are also clinicians who provide direct patient care, VA is uniquely positioned to quickly move scientific discovery from investigators’ laboratories to patient care,” said Dr. Joel Kupersmith, Chief VA Research and Development. “In turn, VA clinician/investigators identify new research questions for the laboratory at the patient’s bedside, making our research program one of VA’s most effective tools to improve Veterans’ care.”

The San Francisco VA for many years has led the country in this research/clinical care relationship.  Of the current Bay Area total, nearly $80 million went to the San Francisco VA, which is affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Research areas of particular interest include diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, hypertension, stroke, congestive heart failure, atherosclerotic vascular disease, Hepatitis B and C, PTSD, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer's disease, HIV, health services research in aging and chronic illness and advanced neuroimaging.  San Francisco VAMC has the largest VA non-profit research foundation, Northern California Institute for Research and Education (NCIRE), also known as the Veterans Health Research Institute.

Additionally, the San Francisco VA has established a unique partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD) to study the basic neuroscience and neuroimaging of combat-related brain and spinal cord injuries, PTSD and other neurological combat-related injuries and predictors of injuries of war fighters. This program is considered a national resource by the DoD.

The VA Palo Alto Health Care System, with more than $58 million in research funding, supports extensive research centers in geriatrics, mental health, Alzheimer's disease, spinal cord regeneration, schizophrenia, rehabilitation research, HIV research and a Health Economics Resource Center.   VA Palo Alto’s non-profit corporation, the Palo Alto Institute for Research and Education, Inc. (PAIRE), has also helped make VAPAHCS a leader in research.  Affiliated with Stanford University, VA Palo Alto has approximately 180 principal investigators who are engaged in more than 500 research projects at any given time.

The VA Northern California Health Care System, which is headquartered in Sacramento but extends into the Oakland area, received more than $7 million in research funding.  With a strong cooperative affiliation with the University of California Davis, Northern California VA oversees research in the areas of Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, hearing loss, geriatrics and aging, neurological disorders following stroke and traumatic brain injury, pain management, renal disease and new treatment strategies for cancer.

As part of the largest integrated health care system in the United States, VA research in the Bay Area relies on committed clinician-investigators, engaged patients and families, and an unparalleled national health care delivery infrastructure to help the deliver the world-class health care Veterans have earned through their service, and to develop cutting-edge medical treatments for Veterans, their families, and our nation.

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