MIRECC / CoE
VISN 5 MIRECC - Education and Training
VISN 5 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC)
Education Core Initiatives
The mission of the VA Maryland Healthcare System Capitol Health Care Network (VISN 5) Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) is to support recovery and enhance community functioning of Veterans with serious mental illness. We are committed to providing outstanding educational opportunities for students, advanced trainees, and professionals to contribute to the development of a cadre of researchers and clinicians who are dedicated to the study and treatment of Veterans with serious mental illness within the range of treatment settings that serve them. To support this mission, the Education Core hosts a range of educational programs that are open to researchers, clinicians, Veterans, family members, and staff at the VAMHCS and in VISN 5.
See below for examples of what we do – then contact us to get involved!
- 1) Formal Educational Experiences: The VISN 5 MIRECC provides clinical training and research mentorship to trainees who work within multidisciplinary teams in diverse service settings.
- Example: Our Center houses two fellowship programs dedicated to training researchers, clinicians, and administrators for SMI-focused careers. We are one of 25 sites in the national VA Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Illness Research and Treatment; the focus of our fellowship is training fellows to become leading clinical researchers in the area of SMI. In addition, our MIRECC serves as the Hub Site Director for the VA National Inter-professional Fellowship Program in Psychosocial Rehabilitation which provides advanced training in psychosocial rehabilitation.
- 2) Didactic Offerings: Our Center offers regular conferences, workshops, and consultations to educate clinicians, Peer Specialists, veterans with serious mental illness, family members, and community service providers on topics related to working with individuals with SMI.
- Example: In 2017 we hosted a workshop titled Mindfulness Strategies for Use in Mental Health Practice. Past conferences include Implementing Trauma Informed Care for Veterans with Serious Mental Illness (2016) and Implementation of Peer Support Specialist Services for Veterans with Serious Mental Illness (2014).
- Example: We offer a twice monthly Science Meeting in which local and national experts present on topics related to SMI. Recent examples include Helping Veterans with Serious Mental Illness Reduce or Quit Smoking: Findings from an RCT and Implications for Practice, and Research on Exercise and Cognitive Functioning in Schizophrenia.
- Example: We host a monthly telephone Psychopharmacology Case Conference during which VISN clinicians can bring questions about a difficult or challenging psychopharmacology case and receive consultation from MIRECC investigators with expertise psychopharmacology.
- 3) Faculty Mentoring in Research in Serious Mental Illness. Need help designing a research project? Want to gain experience in research in serious mental illness? MIRECC investigators conduct research on the development of psychosocial interventions for veterans with SMI aimed at improving health, functioning, community engagement, and recovery. We regularly assist trainees and others interested in learning about research.
- Example: Psychology externs and interns are mentored by MIRECC investigators on research projects exploring smoking cessation, weight loss, chronic medical illness self-management, self-stigma, detection and treatment of hepatitis C, medication use, sleep disorders, and negative symptoms.. These routinely yield products such as poster presentations and manuscript co-authorship.
Melanie Bennett, Ph.D., Associate Director, Education Core - Melanie.Bennett@va.gov
Samantha Hack, Ph.D., Assistant Director, Education Core - Samantha.Hack@va.gov
Ralf Schneider, MA, CPRP, Coordinator, Education Core - Ralf.Schneider@va.gov