The Portland VAMC HSR&D Center of Innovation (COIN), Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC), was funded in October 2013. CIVIC’s mission is to conduct research that empowers Veterans to improve their health by enhancing active participation of Veterans and their supports in healthcare. CIVIC investigators will, in particular, focus on patients who have psychological challenges or other vulnerabilities that impact self-management and recovery. CIVIC has two primary, integrated focused areas that build on its investigators’ expertise: 1) Veteran-Centric Mental Health Care; and 2) Innovative Strategies to Enhance Veteran-Clinician Collaboration. Across these two areas, we are working to gain knowledge of the goals, needs, and preferences for care among Veterans and their supports, and Veterans’ views on facilitators and barriers to health improvement and collaboration with clinicians. We also seek to identify methods to actively incorporate the voice of Veterans into the health services research process. CIVIC will directly support the first of VA’s Strategic Goals for 2013 - 2018, to “provide Veterans personalized, proactive, patient driven healthcare.” Our operational partners include VA Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, Office of Mental Health Operations, Mental Health Services-Suicide Prevention, Mental Health QUERI, and VISN 20.
CIVIC’s Director is Steven Dobscha, MD and Associate Director is Linda Ganzini, MD, MPH. We have 12 funded investigators who conduct research on mental health conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, suicide, psychiatric disorders in cancer patients, substance abuse, chronic opiate use, and traumatic brain injury, as well as health disparities, clinician-patient communication, and health informatics. A strength of our Center is the degree to which investigators are also clinicians actively working with patients and managing patient care programs.