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Quality Enhancement Research Initiative

QUERI E-news
Fall 2023

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Director's Letter

Celebrating a Productive Year!

Melissa Braganza, MPH, QUERI Acting Director

Melissa Braganza, MPH, QUERI Acting Director

2023 has been a year filled with change and new opportunities for QUERI. We welcomed two new team members, Stefanie Gidmark, MPH, QUERI Program Specialist, and Slava Butkovich, MS, Presidential Management Fellow, who are helping to support QUERI’s growing Evidence Act work and to foster collaborations with the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). David Atkins, MD, MPH, a huge champion for health services research and QUERI, retired in September, and Amy Kilbourne, PhD, MPH, became the Acting Director for Health Systems Research (HSR). Dr. Kilbourne is continuing Dr. Atkins’ work in making HSR a thought leader in learning health systems through highlighting HSR’s unique strengths and interdisciplinary approach in leveraging the implementation, engagement, data, and systems sciences and policy analysis to address VA priorities and to develop Veteran-centered solutions that enhance access, equity, quality, and experience for Veterans. She also is working to further the Office of Research and Development’s goal of increasing the real-world impact of research. Much of the evidence, methods, and tools that QUERI uses to scale-up, spread, and sustain evidence-based practices across the VA is based on HSR research.

As we approach the end of 2023, we are excited to reflect back and share the accomplishments of our QUERI investigators, staff, resource centers, and partners.

Key highlights include:

  • QUERI’s 25th anniversary was celebrated with a special edition of QUERI News, a QUERI investigator/staff field meeting, and two conference panels on how QUERI’s evolution to meet the changing needs of Veterans and the VA health system.
  • QUERI’s communication strategy—featured in the VA 2022-28 Strategic Plan as a key approach for aligning quality improvement efforts and evidence-based policy to sustain effective programs and policies and help fulfill requirements of the Evidence Act—was applied to help identify VA research priorities for both the Pain/Opioid Actively Managed Portfolio and HSR.
  • In partnership with national leaders, QUERI interdisciplinary teams launched 21 rigorous evaluations to help address VA priorities, including military exposures/PACT Act, workforce/REBOOT, mental health and suicide prevention, homelessness, clinical efficiency, and access to care.
  • QUERI’s Partnered Evidence-Based Policy Resource Center (PEPReC) and Evidence-based Policy Evaluation Centers identify potential evaluations to strengthen the evidence base for PACT Act policy changes. PEPReC is also working with VA’s Office of Human Resources and Administration to develop facility-level population-based workforce guidelines (Section 901 of the PACT Act).
  • PEPReC reviewed 139 legislative/budget proposals using the Strength of Evidence Checklist and developed VHA’s required deliverables (e.g., FY2024 VA Annual Evaluation Plan) as part of VA’s response to the Evidence Act.
  • More than 10 new Rapid Response Team projects were launched to address time sensitive national priorities, including suicide prevention, and legislative mandates (e.g., Cleland-Dole Act, STRONG Veterans Act).
  • QUERI’s Center for Evaluation and Implementation Resources (CEIR), Evidence, Policy, and Implementation Center (EPIC) , and PEPReC are promoting national networks of knowledge translation and learning to further expand VA’s implementation, evaluation, and quality improvement efforts. They also support a growing pipeline of early career investigators and staff who come from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

As we look forward to 2024, we continue to build infrastructure and capacity to foster more real-time evidence-informed decision-making by deploying learning communities and creating cross-cutting datasets to address Veteran-centered priority goals. Our strategic planning process will also help elucidate opportunities for greater integration with HSR and the Office of Research and Development to further learning health system goals.

Melissa Braganza, MPH
QUERI Acting Director

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