Research | South Central MIRECC - MIRECC / CoE
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Research | South Central MIRECC

About SC MIRECC Research

Our investigators have extensive research experience in Veteran populations, rural mental health, access, telemedicine, integrated care, implementation, and evidence-based interventions. Our research program funds pilot research, provides methodologic and analytic support for researchers of all levels, and develops young researchers.

To learn more, contact our Associate Director for Research, Dr. Jeffrey Pyne, at or

Special Request for Pilot Study Applications Addressing COVID-19

We invite pilot study applications that support our mission in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic:

To promote equity in engagement, access, and quality of mental health care for Veterans facing barriers to care, especially rural Veterans.

The goal of this special request for applications (RFA) is to stimulate rapid response research that considers the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on rural and/or other underserved Veterans and is consistent with the South Central MIRECC mission. This special request is meant to support the development and dissemination of evidence-based practices that can make a real difference in the lives of rural/underserved Veterans in this current crisis and future crises. We encourage pilot study applications that will lead to federally funded research designed to improve the delivery of services by the VA, as well as to help community partners better serve the behavioral health needs of rural/underserved Veterans.

This special call is intended to support projects that can be launched relatively quickly after the award is made. That includes pilots that would require only an IRB preparatory-to-research determination or would be considered exempt and/or eligible for expedited IRB review. In addition, relevant, ongoing projects that do not require in-person contact might be able to add an aim to explore the effects of COVID-19. Research requiring full IRB review will also be considered. Investigators are responsible for ensuring compliance with all local oversight processes and requirements. A non-exhaustive list of potential topics of interest includes:

  • Impact on rural/underserved Veterans of changes associated with COVID-19, e.g., shift to telehealth visits, screening procedures at VA facilities, shelter-in-place orders, social distancing, fear in the community.
  • Impact on VA providers caring for rural/underserved Veterans of changes associated with COVID-19.
  • Impact on community resources caring for rural/underserved Veterans of changes associated with COVID-19.
  • Local decision-making processes and lessons learned related to rural/underserved Veterans during the COVID-19 crisis.

We have modified our usual pilot study submission and review procedures somewhat for these proposals. Most notably, we will accept applications on a rolling basis until at least September 1, 2020. We will review submissions monthly and will endeavor to inform principal investigators of funding decisions within 4 weeks of submission. Most other elements will remain the same. For example, Covid-19-related pilots will be funded for a 12-month period with a maximum budget of $55,000.

Only researchers in VISN 16 and San Antonio, Texas are eligible to apply. Medical students, interns and residents are not eligible to apply unless they request and receive a waiver before applying. These and other elements and requirements are described in the application that can be downloaded below. Please contact Jeff Pyne, MD ( or Ellen Fischer, PhD ( with any questions.

Download Covid-19 Pilot Study Application

Pilot Study Research Program

This program stimulates research that improves access, quality, and outcomes of mental health and substance abuse treatment services for rural and underserved Veterans.

Our goal is to increase the quantity and quality of federally funded research for this population to better understand their experiences and support the development and dissemination of evidence-based care that can make a difference in their lives.


  • Only researchers in VISN 16 and San Antonio, Texas are eligible to apply.
  • Medical students, interns and residents are not eligible to apply unless they request and receive a waiver before applying.
  • Project duration is 1 year (possible to request a waiver to submit a proposal for a longer period).
  • Maximum budget request is $55,000 (possible to request a waiver to submit a proposal with a larger budget).
  • Maximum proposal length is 5 pages.
  • Fellows must provide a completion plan if the project will be ongoing when the fellowship ends. The plan must identify a doctoral-level faculty co-investigator to complete the project (an additional 1/2 page may be added to the proposal to describe the plan).

Application Deadlines

We accept applications four times a year. If the deadline falls on a weekend, submit the application the following Monday.

  • January 1
  • April 1
  • July 1
  • October 1

Application Submission

Email your application to Dr. Ellen Fischer at and Include both of her email addresses on the submission.


Dr. Ellen Fischer, Assistant Director for Research |
VA: 501-257-1711 or UAMS: 501-526-8125

Download Application

MIRECC Implementation, Design and Analysis Support (MIDAS)

MIDAS offers centralized design, methodologic and analytic support to VISN 16 investigators who are seeking research funding or conducting South Central MIRECC pilot projects.

The MIDAS team has expertise in biostatistics, epidemiology, psychometrics, qualitative methods, application of technology to research and education, and project implementation. We can help you with topics such as:

  • Study design
  • Instrument selection or design
  • Recruitment and data collection procedures
  • Analysis of qualitative data
  • Identification of best VA data sources and access procedures
  • Manuscript preparation
  • and more!

We can help connect you with other experienced methodologists at our affiliated programs and institutions when we do not have the expertise you need. Contact Dr. Ellen Fischer at or to learn more.


Last updated: June 26, 2020