VISN 5 MIRECC - Research Core
The Associate Director for Research, Julie Kreyenbuhl, Pharm.D, PhD, oversees and is responsible for the Research Core and its sub-units. Bob Buchanan, MD is the Assistant Director of Research. The VISN 5 MIRECC supports and facilitates research in the five key areas of scientific interest within the area of serious mental illness, including: health and wellness, family-oriented services, stigma, psychopharmacology and neurobiological bases of illness, and treatment and community engagement. The Research Core consists of five sub-units:
- Human Subjects and Quality Assurance Sub-Unit
This sub-unit is led by Julia Kindred, MS who oversees and monitors all MIRECC staff human subject interactions to ensure they are in accordance with local/Central Institutional Review Board (IRB) and VA Office of Research & Development (per VA handbook 1200.05) rules and regulations. Ms. Kindred oversees the initial compliance review and eventual submission of all MIRECC research protocols to the local/Central IRBs and local VA Research & Development Committees, ensures that regulatory documentation is accurate and up-to-date for all MIRECC research protocols, conducts internal audits, and coordinates external audits. She also oversees the hiring and supervision of all research assistants.
- Administrative Data Sub-Unit
This sub-unit is led by Eric Slade, PhD, and is supervised by a MIRECC committee comprised of the Associate Director for Research, the MIRECC Director, and the leaders of the Data Management and Biostatistics sub-units. The sub-unit is staffed by two masters-level biostatisticians and is supported by a VISN 5 computer server that provides access to SAS statistical software. The sub-unit supports the MIRECC’s mission in three ways. First, it responds rapidly to VISN5 MIRECC investigators’ requests for preliminary information on the numbers of VA patients who meet inclusion criteria for their proposed studies (i.e., it provides them with estimates of clinical study denominators). Investigators also sometimes request preliminary analytical results that relate to their study’s feasibility or proposed hypotheses. Second, this sub-unit responds to requests from administrators of the Mental Health Service Line in VISN 5 for information about patterns of health care use and costs within the VISN. Third, this sub-unit conducts retrospective observational research studies on healthcare utilization among Veterans with mental illness in VISN 5. To support these objectives, the sub-unit maintains the VISN 5 MIRECC Healthcare Utilization Database, a VA-approved research data repository. The data in the repository include VA inpatient and outpatient services records, pharmacy records, costs of care, and healthcare enrollment information for all VISN 5 patients and is considered a key resource of the MIRECC. At present, the data repository includes information from FY2003 to FY2013. Additional administrative data are added annually as they become available.
- Biostatistics Sub-Unit
Led by Clayton H. Brown, Ph.D., the biostatistics sub-unit consists of 2 investigator-level statisticians (a biostatistician and a quantitative psychologist) and 2 masters-level data analysts. This unit performs descriptive and model-based analyses for all randomized clinical trials and other studies that are based in the MIRECC. Periodically, journal clubs and in-service trainings are held on more recently developed statistical methods.
- Qualitative and Mixed-Methods Sub-Unit
The qualitative and mixed methods sub-unit is led by Amanda Peeples, Ph.D., an expert in qualitative research methods. The unit’s overarching goal is to provide guidance and assistance to MIRECC investigators and research staff in conducting qualitative and mixed methods data collection and analysis in support of MIRECC’s current and future research activities. Dr. Peeples oversees the safe handling of qualitative data, and coordinates the transcription of research interviews by a VA-approved transcription agency.
- Data Management Sub-Unit
This sub-unit is led by Deborah R. Medoff, Ph.D. and staffed with 2 masters-level data managers. The sub-unit provides comprehensive data quality control, data security, and backup for all studies that are based in the MIRECC. The unit provides Access database participant tracking and reporting programs that are customized for each research project and also provides automated CONSORT diagrams. A digital library of over 200 commonly used assessments is maintained that includes the standardized assessment, scoring instructions, SAS programs and references. Data entry templates and data dictionaries are created within either the Teleform© system or REDCap and are pilot tested prior to the start of each study. Data entry options include scanning, direct data entry or double data entry from hard copies.
For more information about the Research Core's activities, please visit the Research page.