MIRECC / CoE
VISN 17 Center of Excellence
Welcome to the VISN 17 Center of Excellence
The VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans (CoE) is a unified scientific and educational center of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs designed to foster state-of-the-art, broad spectrum inquiry into the mental health problems associated with combat exposure (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), suicide). Our center is uniquely capable of integrating translational research on the biochemical, neurological, and psychological bases of post-deployment responses to drive the best possible research and service development, to train the next generation of scientists-practitioners, and to guide the VA regarding evidence-based practice.
Our main building is located at the historic campus of the Doris Miller VA Medical Center in Waco, Texas, and features clinical space, observation rooms, wet labs, and a 3T MRI for structural and functional neuroimaging. The CoE is located within one of the largest integrated health care systems in the United States, which serves a Veteran population of more than 252,000, and is located near Fort Hood with approximately 35,000 active duty forces. The CoE also has active partnerships with Texas A&M Health Science Center, Texas A&M University, the University of Texas, and Baylor University, in addition to collaborations with other academic institutions and VA systems.
In alignment with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) statutory missions, the VISN 17 CoE conducts several education and training programs for health profession students to enhance the quality of care provided to veteran patients within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) healthcare systems. In accordance with this mission, "To educate for VA and for the Nation", education and training efforts are accomplished through coordinated programs and activities with academic affiliates in our community. Affiliates include institutions such as Baylor University, Texas A&M Health Science Center, University of Texas-Dallas, and Tarleton State University, where the VISN 17 CoE has developed tiered training programs (see Training Programs) for undergraduate students to post-doctoral graduates to develop high quality future clinical providers and research professionals to meet patient care needs within VA and the nation.
The VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans was tasked by Congress1,2 to:
• Study post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions experienced by Veterans returning from recent military conflicts, including Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, and New Dawn
• Leverage the relationship between the Waco VA Medical Center and Fort Hood to further research on post-traumatic stress disorder
• Serve as a specialized facility for mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder, supporting Waco and the Central Texas Health Care System with clinical expertise and educational support
We are true to our mission and unifying theme by remaining clinically focused on new and innovative treatments for those mental health conditions common among returning Veterans, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).
1. Committee Reports 109th Congress (2005-2006) House Report 109-305
2. Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2006
Through the study of numerous neurological, genetic, and psychological factors, our Center uses a comprehensive approach to develop advanced approaches for assessing and treating several issues that are often experienced by Veterans returning from theaters of war, including but not limited to:
• Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
• Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
• Substance Use Disorders (SUDs)
• Relationship problems
• Problems accessing care
• Re-integration distress/adjustment issues
• Chronic pain