innoVAtion - VA Northern California Health Care System
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VA Northern California Health Care System

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Throughout its history, The Department of Veterans Affairs (VHA) has been at the forefront in creating, developing and discovering new ways to help Veterans in the pursuit of healing and growth. Below are some examples of ways that VA has contributed to better health.

In 1984 the VA developed the nicotine patch to help smokers give up smoking

On October 19th, 1989, the Portland VA Medical Center performed the first successful liver transplant

The VA Pinpointed genes for HIV, diabetes, and obesity susceptibility

The VA Identified schizophrenia gene and developed unique preventive drug

Identified best treatments for numerous health conditions such as colon cancer, psychoses, stable angina, and high blood pressure

VA researchers and colleagues developed the vaccine for shingles

Developed new drugs and treatments for diseases such as AIDS/HIV, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and osteoporosis

Developed nationally recognized clinical guidelines for patients with one or more common diagnoses

Contributed to the advancement of prosthetics for men and women

In 1958 the implantable cardiac pacemaker was invented in Buffalo, NY.

Developed a computer-controlled ventilator system for critically ill patients

Contributed to the development of the CT (Computerized Axial Tomography or CAT scan)

Pioneered VistA (Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture), one of the world’s earliest and largest electronic health record systems

Developed innovative quality improvement programs that led to dramatic drops in hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA Infections, Ventilator Associated Pneumonia and Catheter Line Associated Bacteremia

Established first rehabilitation program for blind persons

Found that colonoscopy is superior to more widely used screening methods for colon cancer

Demonstrated that aspirin reduced rates of deaths and heart attacks for angina patients

Helped develop new medical specialties including geriatrics, spinal cord injury medicine, pain management and addiction psychiatry

See other ways VA has contributed to better health at