MIRECC / CoE
PTSD, TBI and Other Research Activities at VISN 20 MIRECC
PTSD, TBI and Other Research Activities at VISN 20 MIRECC
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Integrated Services Network (VISN 20) Northwest Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (NW MIRECC) investigators collaborate with researchers and clinicians across the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, University of Washington, University of Utah, Oregon Health Science University, Department of Defense, and Veterans Affairs, as well as a host of academic, government, and industry partners around the world.
NW MIRECC approaches research in two ways: clinical and translational. In many instances, NW MIRECC partners with Veteran and non-Veteran volunteers as clinical research subjects to develop and evaluate effective treatments for military posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its associated conditions, including mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), substance use disorders (SUD), chronic musculoskeletal pain, post-concussive headaches, and dementia. NW MIRECC studies are conducted through clinical research and through translational research wherein teams of clinicians and scientists work side-by-side to characterize and model key features of clinical problems and then translate the findings from scientific theory or animal models into practical applications for Veterans.
NW MIRECC improves the health and well-being of Veterans by developing, evaluating, and disseminating novel effective treatments for PTSD and its complex comorbidities or co-occurring diagnoses. The most prominent of these co-occurring difficulties faced by Veterans are mTBI), alcohol use disorder (AUD), SUD, chronic pain (in particular, post-concussive headaches), cognitive impairment, while others face an increased risk for neurodegenerative disorders (chronic traumatic encephalopathy [CTE] and Alzheimer's disease [AD]).
Through careful design and implementation of clinical research studies and with the help of volunteers in a wide range of research protocols, the NW MIRECC conducts cutting-edge measurements of brain structure to analyze their implication on behavior, --and engages volunteers in in-depth analysis of psychological, social and environmental factors that contribute to the maintenance of posttraumatic stress disorder and symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury. NW MIRECC investigators are leaders in the performance of research lumbar punctures and in the innovative use of a common blood pressure medication for trauma-related nightmares, anxiety, and other behavioral symptoms that affect many Veterans with PTSD.
Another route to identifying potential treatments for PTSD and its associated conditions (specify associated conditions) is through laboratory studies that do not require the enrollment of Veterans. The nationally acclaimed NW MIRECC translational neuroscience program is a multidisciplinary research program dedicated to understanding and treating these disorders. Through basic discovery science and the development of innovative treatment strategies. Together, teams of clinicians and scientists work side-by-side to characterize and model the key features of these clinical problems, including the co-existing conditions of TBI and neurodegenerative disorders, and to then translate our findings from scientific theory or animal models into practical applications for Veterans.
Call for Research Volunteers:Visit the Current Research Homepage to read about volunteer opportunities.
VISN 20 encompasses 23% of the US land mass with medical centers in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. VISN 20 is home to 273 federally recognized American Indian and Alaskan Native tribes, 229 of which are located in Alaska. Serving 135 counties, VISN 20 is the largest geographic region of VA spanning three time zones, across 817,417 square miles, including Del Norte County California and Lincoln County Montana. In the fall of 1997, VISN 20 leaders from VA Puget Sound Health Care System (VAPSHCS) and the Portland VA Health Care System (VAPORHCS) were commissioned by Congress and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish one of the first three Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (MIRECCs) in the United States. VAPSHCS serves Veterans from a five-state area in the Pacific Northwest with two main divisions: American Lake VA Medical Center and Seattle VA Medical Center. VA Outpatient Clinics and Vet Centers in Washington are located in Bellingham, Bellevue, Bremerton, Chehalis, Edmunds, Everett, Federal Way, Lacey, Mount Vernon, Olympia, Port Angeles, Puyallup, Richland, Renton, Silverdale, Seattle, Spokane, Union Gap, Vancouver, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, and Yakima. Veterans in Washington are also served by VA Medical Centers in Spokane, Vancouver, and Walla Walla. VAPORHCS serves Veterans in Oregon and Southwest Washington with two main divisions: Portland VA Medical Center and Vancouver VA Medical Center. VA Outpatient Clinics and Vet Centers in Oregon are located in Bend, Boardman, Brookings, Enterprise, Eugene, Fairview, Grants Pass, Hines, Hillsboro, Klamath Falls, LaGrande, Lincoln City, Newport, Portland, Salem, The Dalles, Warrenton, and West Linn. Veterans in Oregon are also served by VA Medical Centers in Roseburg, White City, and Vancouver, Washington.
VA provides health care for Veterans from providers in the local community outside of VA. Veterans may be eligible to receive care from a community provider when VA cannot provide the care needed. VA launched its new and improved Veterans Community Care Program (VCCP) on June 6, 2019, implementing portions of the VA Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018 (MISSION Act), which both ended the Veterans Choice Program and established VCCP. Types of care under the new VCCP include General Community Care, Urgent Care, Emergency Care, Foreign Medical Care, Home Health and Hospice Care, Indian and Tribal Health Services, In Vitro Fertilization, State Veterans Home, and Flu Shots. Veterans work with their VA health care provider or other VA staff to see if they are eligible to receive community care based on new criteria. The VA Community Care Network (CCN) is VA’s direct link with community providers to ensure Veterans receive timely, high-quality care.
Vet Centers in the VISN 20 Health Care Network are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans, active-duty Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Space Force service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families. 1-877-WAR-VETS is an around the clock confidential call center where Veterans, service members and their families can talk about their military experience or any other issue they are facing in transitioning after military service or trauma and get connected to their nearest Vet Center.
Vet Centers in VISN 20
Vet Centers provide counseling to make a successful transition from military to civilian life or after a traumatic event experienced in the military. Individual, group, marriage and family counseling is offered in addition to referral and connection to other VA or community benefits and services. If you can’t make it to a nearby Vet Center, VA offers satellite Vet Center locations and Mobile Vet Centers that may be closer to you.
Anchorage Vet Center (Anchorage, AK)
Anchorage Satellite Vet Centers in Anchor Point and Homer
Fairbanks Vet Center (Fairbanks, AK)
Fairbanks Satellite Vet Centers in Fort Greely and Fort Wainwright
Kenai Vet Center Outstation (Soldotna, AK)
Wasilla Vet Center (Wasilla, AK)
Central Oregon Vet Center (Bend, OR)
Eugene Vet Center (Eugene, OR)
Eugene Satellite Vet Centers in Florence and Reedsport
Grants Pass Vet Center (Grants Pass, OR)
Grants Pass Satellite Vet Center in Cave Junction and Grants Pass Mobile Vet Center
Portland, OR Vet Center (Portland, OR)
Portland Satellite Vet Centers in Oregon City, St. Helens, and Vancouver, Washington
Salem Vet Center (Salem, OR)
Boise Vet Center (Boise, ID)
Boise Satellite Vet Center in Ontario, Oregon and Boise Mobile Vet Center
Spokane Satellite Vet Centers in Couer d'Alene, Kootenai, Post Falls, Fairchild AFB, and Newport, Washington
Bellingham Vet Center (Bellingham, WA)
Everett Vet Center (Everett, WA)
Federal Way Vet Center (Federal Way, WA)
Lacey Vet Center Outstation (Lacey, WA)
Seattle Vet Center (Seattle, WA)
Spokane Vet Center (Spokane, WA)
Spokane Satellite Vet Centers in Fairchild AFB, Newport, Post Falls and Couer d'Alene, Idaho
Tacoma Vet Center (Tacoma, WA)
Vancouver Vet Center - Washington State University, Clark County (Vancouver, WA)
Walla Walla Vet Center (Walla Walla, WA)
Yakima Valley Vet Center (Yakima, WA)
Yakima Satellite Vet Center in Ellensburg
Veterans Crisis "988" - The Military Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource for all service members, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, and Veterans, even if they’re not enrolled in VA benefits or health care. Call 988 then Press 1 If you are a Veteran, service member, or any person concerned about one who is hard of hearing, you can connect with professional, caring VA responders through online chat and text message (838255).
Call 00800 1273 8255 or DSN 118
Call 080-855-5118 or DSN 118
Call 00 1 800 273 8255 or DSN 111
In the Philippines
Call #MYVA or 02-8550-3888 and press 7
A Veteran overseas may contact the Veterans Crisis Line via the chat modality at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat. If the Veteran prefers a phone call, they can request this within the chat venue. For TTY users: Use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255. Are you looking for clinical care or counseling? Assistance with benefits? No matter what you’re experiencing, we’re here to connect you with resources and support systems to help. The Veterans Crisis Line is free and confidential. When you call, chat, or text, a qualified responder will listen and help. You decide how much information to share. Support doesn't end with your conversation. Our responders can connect you with the resources you need.
VA has a variety of mental health resources, information, treatment options, and more — all accessible to Veterans, Veterans’ supporters, and the general public. Explore the pages below to learn more about a specific mental health topic. Each of these pages includes resources, information on treatment options, and more.
Stories of Support
For Daniel, Don, and Jennifer, convenient video counseling made it easier to put their health first. Adjusting from military service to civilian life can be both exciting and challenging. Make the Connection
Dial 988 then press 1
Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Veterans Crisis Line is free and confidential. Support doesn't end with your conversation. Our responders can connect you with the resources you need.
Mental Health Updates
Explore the latest mental health news, resources, and real-life stories of mental health recovery.
Plan your trip to VA
In 1946, Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) was established by law to provide comfort and well-being to America’s Veterans. With our many retail stores, cafés and coffee shops across the country, we serve those who have served our country. Our Canteens are whole health spaces for Veterans to connect, relax, share and care for themselves in an environment that is their benefit. We are proud to Serve America’s Veterans and those who provide for their care.
VCS operates over 200 Patriot Stores in Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Centers nationwide. Many of our stores have been recently updated and expanded to provide our customers with a modern, clean and comfortable shopping experience. Our stores welcome our customers with wider aisles, wood-like floors, enhanced lighting and directional signage. PatriotStores have expanded hours of operation to provide service for customers on weekends at most locations.
The Patriot Cafe is the best place in the VA Medical Center to enjoy delicious, freshly prepared breakfast or lunch served hot or cold each weekday. Providing Veterans, their families, VA employees, volunteers and visitors a place to relax and enjoy a meal or take-out for their convenience. With a wide variety of food from traditional comfort food, specialized menu selections and a large assortment of healthy choices; there is something for everyone's taste buds.