Elizabeth Dole Foundation
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September 7, 2018

Department of Veterans Affairs Announces Landmark Center of Excellence

Department of Veterans Affairs Announces Landmark Center of Excellence


 New Center dedicated to Veteran and Caregiver research named for Senator Elizabeth Dole


Washington, D.C. – September 7, 2018:  The Elizabeth Dole Foundation celebrated a milestone accomplishment for military and veteran caregivers today with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ announcement that the VA will fund the first National Center of Excellence for improving veteran and caregiver services. Senator Elizabeth Dole has called for the creation of such a Center since first unveiling the crisis facing veteran caregivers. The Foundation applauds Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie and the VA Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) service for responding to the Senator’s call. The new center will be named for Senator Dole in recognition of her national leadership and advocacy on behalf of caregivers. The Elizabeth Dole Center of Excellence will expand the capacity of the VA to deliver innovative, data-driven, and integrated approaches to improve services for veterans and their caregivers.

“Improving the lives of veteran caregivers and their loved ones has been our Foundation’s mission from day one,” said Senator Elizabeth Dole. “After speaking extensively with veteran families and reviewing the findings of the 2014 and 2017 RAND studies we commissioned, we knew a Center such as this would be critical. I am humbled to be associated with such important work, and I can think of no greater honor. The Center will inform and help determine the future plans, progress, and care for our veterans and the hidden heroes who care for them. I extend my gratitude and personal appreciation to Secretary Wilkie and to VA Chief Veterans Experience Officer Dr. Lynda Davis who have been great champions  for this cause.”

The Elizabeth Dole Center of Excellence for Veteran and Caregiver Research is a result of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s support for a landmark RAND research blueprint for veterans and their caregivers, Senator Dole’s continued advocacy for the Center, and VA HSR&D’s 30+ year legacy in supporting state-of-the art healthcare research. The Center will serve as a virtual network of nationally-recognized VA investigators and their University affiliates, led by Dr. Luci Leykum, MD of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. Additional collaborating sites (and leaders) include the Miami VA Health Care System (Stuti Dang, MD), VA Salt Lake City Health Care System (Mary Jo Pugh, PhD, RN), and the Palo Alto VA Healthcare System (Ranak Trivedi, PhD). Veteran caregivers will be involved in the design and implementation of the Center, and their feedback will be woven into the innovative models of care, which will help veterans, caregivers, VA/non-VA providers, and leadership in making informed decisions.

“Senator Dole has been a tireless advocate for establishing this center, persistently making the case that our nation must better understand and respond to the long-term needs of our Veterans and their caregivers,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Today we are proud to answer her call on behalf of the Veterans we serve and those who care for them.”

The quest for uncovering new solutions for the challenges facing caregivers and veterans does not end here. The Foundation will continue to engage with academic institutions and military communities in pursuit of sharing new discoveries with leaders of the VA Health Care System and providers across the nation.

For more information on the VA’s Health Services Research and Development Program visit: https://www.hsrd.research.va.gov/