The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Office of Rural Health (ORH) expanded its research and innovation capacity with the addition of two Veterans Rural Health Resource Centers (VRHRC). The Portland, Oregon, and Gainesville, Florida, VRHRCs manage VA’s rural-centered research portfolios and disseminate new program findings nationwide.
Through the fiscal year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, Congress formally recognized the valuable contributions that the existing VRHRCs provide to rural Veteran health care, and allocated additional funding to expand Centers through a directive, which states,”VA is encouraged to use some of these additional funds to increase the number of Rural Health Resource Centers as a means of increasing access to care for Veterans in rural areas.”
The Portland VRHRC portfolio’s focus is to increase rural Veterans’ access to care, find innovative ways to combat the pain or opioids epidemic and prevent Veterans’ suicide. 2020 Projects include:
- Spatiotemporal clustering of Veteran suicides in rural Oregon
- Subspecialty rheumatology needs for primary care clinicians caring for rural Veterans
- Firearm injuries among rural Veterans in the U.S.
- Care for rural Veterans (CARAVAN)
- Collaborative pain care for rural patients with opioid and other substance use disorders using telehealth technologies
The Gainesville VRHRC portfolio’s focus is on rehabilitation and geriatrics. Projects include:
- Tai Chi anywhere for rural Veterans
- Mindful warrior telehealth initiative
- Warrior stories Veteran stories project
- Home modifications for rural Veterans with disabilities
- Harmonicas for health
- Improving OEF/OIF/OND Veterans’ Driver Fitness and Community Mobility: Effects of a One-Day Driving and Community Mobility Approach for Rural Settings
“The Portland and Gainesville resource centers are key to helping the VA continue to increase rural Veterans access to care and to fill significant research gaps in the overall rural health portfolio.” -Tom Klobucar, Executive Director of ORH