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Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC)


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About the CIVIC

The Center’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’s focused areas of research include:
      • Veteran-centric mental health care
      • Strategies to enhance Veteran-clinician collaboration

Veteran-Centric Mental Health Care. Recovery places the Veteran at the center of treatment in order to restore hope and return of functioning, achieve life goals and optimize quality of life. The long-term goal of this focused area is to improve Veterans’ experiences with VA mental health care by enhancing the active participation of Veterans and their supports in mental health treatment, with a particular focus on optimizing communication and collaboration with clinicians, self-management, and continuity of care. Early projects will seek to identify goals for Veterans and their supports to achieve optimal mental health, recovery, and mental health care, and to identify facilitators and barriers to recovery and to active participation of Veterans in treatment across the continuum of mental health treatment settings. We will then develop, test, and implement innovative approaches to promote Veterans’ healthy behaviors and active participation in mental health care in an effort to improve mental health outcomes.

Strategies to Enhance Veteran-Clinician Collaboration. Multiple strategies exist for engaging, activating, and educating Veterans about healthcare. More research is necessary, however, to understand the perceptions of Veterans and their supports about VA care, and how these perceptions impact communications and other interactions occurring between clinicians and Veterans. We theorize that productive and truly collaborative interactions between clinicians and Veterans are more likely to result in improved health. In this focused area, we will: 1) identify the needs and preferences of Veterans, their supports, and care team for education and communication for optimizing active participation of Veterans in care; and 2) develop, test, and evaluate implementation of innovative tools and strategies that empower Veterans by facilitating effective Veteran-care team collaboration.

VA Operations Partners

Each COIN works closely with operational partners throughout the VA healthcare system. The partners associated with this COIN include the following:
      • Office of Patient-Centered Care and Cultural Transformation
      • Office of Mental Health Operations
      • Mental Health Services-Suicide Prevention
      • Mental Health-QUERI
      • VISN 20


Steven K. Dobscha, MD CIVIC Director
VA Portland Health Care System (R&D 66)
3710 SW US Veterans Hospital Road
Portland, OR 97239
503-220-8262, Ext. 52207


Steven K. Dobscha, MD
CIVIC Director
Portland, OR