Research and development at the Washington DC VA Medical Center is a multi-dimensional endeavor addressing today’s broad spectrum of health-related issues from AIDS, drug abuse and mental illness to TB, alcoholism, heart disease and Gulf War illness.
Approximately 35,000 square feet of space is dedicated to supporting research efforts. The research facility offers its investigators numerous common instrument areas including a state-of-the-art core molecular biology facility that offers guidance and training to those investigators interested in using this advanced technology to further their research.
In FY 04, the medical center performed $21 million in research projects through support received by 49 investigators. The medical center has been selected as an AIDS research site by the National Institutes of Health, allowing the facility to provide the most up-to-date treatment to veterans with HIV in the Washington, D.C. area.
Numerous cutting-edge endeavors are underway. A special AIDS research program funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) provides our patients with the latest therapies available for treating this deadly disease. A program funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) continues to implement and evaluate protocols on new drug regimens and drug delivery systems for the treatment and prevention of tuberculosis. A cooperative study with NIH on hypertension, the first to include a significant number of minority participants, tracked health outcomes, over a 10-year period, among people using beta-blockers and diuretics.
The research program has begun a major investment in research focused on the direct care of our veterans. The Washington DC VA Medical Center has established one of VA's first labs focused on genomic medicine to use the vast knowledge acquired through the human genome project to help develop and improve evaluation and treatment methods available to our veterans. The hospital has built one of the most modern labs for rehabilitation studies in spinal cord injury, stroke, and limb loss, to complement an active program in medical and surgical research. We have also continued to pioneer the use of fully integrated electronic medical records in optimizing the treatment of our veterans. It is our goal to deliver the best state of the art treatment and health care available in the country. In some arenas, this facility is actively implementing methods that are becoming models for other health care organizations. New discoveries can take up to 10-15 years to reach common clinical practice in the United States. The research department has set a goal to not only contribute to the discovery process, but to greatly speed up the actual implementation of new treatments and methods that are proven to help the veterans we serve.