MIRECC / CoE
VISN 17 Center of Excellence
Central Texas Veterans Research Foundation
The VISN 17 Center of Excellence has a strong relationship with our local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization who facilitates our ability to support industry-sponsored clinical trials, compete for non-VA funding, as well as supports our educational activities and events related to basic and clinical science, mental health care services.
Central Texas VA Health Care System
Our primary VA affiliate is the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System (CTVHCS), part of the VA Heart of Texas Health Care Network in VISN 17, with primary campuses in Austin, Temple, and Waco, and several Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) in rural areas (e.g., Bryan/College Station, Cedar Park). Our relationship allows COE providers to support VA’s mission to provide timely high-quality services to our nation’s veterans as well as being of mutual benefit for the furtherance of VA Research Missions.
A thriving educational partnership exists between Baylor University and the VISN 17 Center of Excellence! We have hosted Baylor undergraduate students since 2009 and our proud to support these students as they continue into future health career professions. Our Neuroimaging Core Chief, Dr. Steve Nelson will be teaching courses for neuroscience majors beginning Spring ’16.
Texas A&M Health Sciences Center
The Texas A&M Health Sciences Center, College of Medicine is a major academic medical institution where many of our COE staff hold faculty appointments.
Washington University in St. Louis
The VISN 17 Center of Excellence has a vital relationship with Washington University in St. Louis. This collaboration is specifically focused on Wash U’s expertise in the “Human Connectome Project” which is mapping neural pathways that underlie brain function and behavior. This research is critical for future studies of brain circuitry, especially in the areas of aging and brain disorders. Joining our areas of expertise will facilitate state-of-the-art structural and functional neuroimaging technologies to further Veteran studies in behavioral health.
Tarleton State University-Waco campus
A recent affiliation was made with Tarleton State University’s Outreach Campus located at the MCC University Center’s Waco campus. With TSU, we provide research education to students enrolled in the undergraduate Psychology program as an Applied Learning Experience, with the first cohort of students having begun in the Fall of 2015. Future education collaborations are pending with TSU’s master’s level mental health counseling program, anticipated to begin in the Fall of 2016.
McLennan Community College
The Waco area has a very active community college that specifically collaborates with multiple four-year institutions who have developed outreach campuses within McLennan Community College’s (MCC) “University Center”, which allows Waco students access to multiple state university’s programming. To foster the environment that a student might experience at a traditional four-year campus, MCC sponsors the Highlander Undergraduate Research Institute (HURI) as part of its Honor’s track programming. To engage students early in their undergraduate education, the VISN 17 COE has developed an affiliation with MCC to provide undergraduate research training through the HURI program.
UT-Dallas – Center for Vital Longevity
The Center for Vital Longevity are engages in research aimed at understanding memory, cognitive aging, and Alzheimer’s disease which has direct relevance to the Neuroimaging research conducted at the VISN 17 COE with Veterans. Linking these areas of expertise will facilitate state-of-the-art structural and functional neuroimaging technologies with research techniques in cognitive neuroscience to enhance joint research.
UT Austin-Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology
UT Austin researchers from the Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology are collaborating with scientists in the Biomarkers & Genetics Core at the VISN 17 Center of Excellence to better understand biological mechanisms of inflammation related to Traumatic Brain Injury.
Texas Commission on Law Enforcement
The VISN 17 Center of Excellence has an active collaboration with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) to develop relevant state-of-the-art training programs that are timely and relevant to teaching law enforcement and first responders to work with Veterans in an effective and safe manner. Several training initiatives and legislative responses have resulted from this collaboration.
Austin Police Department
A long-standing relationship between the Austin Police Department has resulted in the development of multiple law enforcement training programs to meet the burgeoning needs of law enforcement interacting with Veterans.
Office of Acquired Brain Injury
Brain injury awareness and education is a hot topic as it relates to Veterans and the “signature war wounds” of the OEF/OIF war theaters. In partnership with the Office of Acquired Brain Injury, the VISN 17 Center of Excellence has developed multiple Veteran-centric products that infuse education and awareness for these invisible wounds of war. The latest collaboration includes infusing state mandated training for law enforcement and first responders that address Veteran-specific material.
Texas Area Health Education Center-East (Waco region)
The Texas Area Health Education Center-East (AHEC) is an agency that develops and recruits health career professionals to underserved areas, such as Central Texas. With more than 60% of the surrounding counties in Central Texas being defined as “rural” (<2,500 people) it is critical to identify and support healthcare providers to serve these areas. The VISN 17 Center of Excellence promotes this important initiative through sponsoring and attending educational events related to professional recruitment. Staff also participate in educational events for students considering healthcare careers, promoting the VA as a potential employer of choice, as well as research careers within the VA.
Texas Department of State Health Services
VISN 17 Center of Excellence staff are participating in a state-wide initiative to improve the evidence-based treatment available to children of military families. This initiative is also developing Trauma Informed communities through organizational education and training events. Providing our expertise has already altered the method of identifying military families and has engendered a more Veteran-centric approach to these families.