Research & Development
Supported with more than $26.8 million annually, research conducted by staff at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center ensures Veterans access to cutting-edge medical and health care technology. With 643 active research projects, the MEDVAMC Research & Development (R&D) Program is an integral part of the medical center’s mission and plays a very important role in the health care Veterans receive. The production of new knowledge, techniques, and products has improved prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and control of the many diseases faced by the Veterans.
The MEDVAMC R&D Program includes four components: Biomedical Laboratory Research and Development, Clinical Science Research and Development, Rehabilitation Research and Development, and Health Services Research and Development. Collectively, these support researchers engaged in fundamental laboratory investigations, as well as trials of new medications and other treatments. This research helps develop new methods to rehabilitate Veterans injured in the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and produce innovative techniques and devices to rehabilitate older Veterans afflicted by diabetes, cancer, strokes, and heart disease. Doctors at the MEDVAMC cooperate with colleagues across the country in research designed to compare the outcomes of treatments and the impact of illness on Veterans. The MEDVAMC boasts a strong, broadly based, integrated, and highly productive R&D program that is deeply engaged in evaluating the effectiveness of all aspects of patient care, disease prevention, and fundamental biomedical science. Moreover, MEDVAMC researchers work closely with those at our affiliated medical school, Baylor College of Medicine, to further extend their efforts to sustain the lives and improve the quality of life of Veterans and their families.
Scientific researchers and the doctors involved in caring for patients at the MEDVAMC actively seek support from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, and other funding agencies. The MEDVAMC offers strong research endeavors in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases; the development of vaccines for the prevention and treatment of myriad diseases including cancer and substance abuse; and fundamental and clinical research in mental health, neurological diseases, cardiovascular disease, and various endocrinological diseases, most notably diabetes and the causes and treatments for metabolic syndrome. MEDVAMC has received several large, long-term grants that reflect the critical mass of scientists who have assembled here in pursuit of important research. There are several VA funded National Centers of Excellence in Houston:
Health Services Research and Development Center of Excellence (CoE): Established in 1990 to systematically examine the impact of the organization, management, and financing of health care services on the delivery, quality, cost, utilization, and outcomes of this care. This CoE is an important, if not dominant, component of Baylor College of Medicine’s teaching and research effort in Health Services Research. Research here improves the health of Veterans and patients across the nation by helping to ensure that scientific discovery is patient-centered. It plays an important role in helping young, talented doctors develop into outstanding research leaders. Its research extends from documenting patient experiences in a variety of scenarios to monitoring clinical practice and the outcomes of care, to the development of health care policy at the local, regional, and national levels. Its research is disseminated to key policy makers, health care administrative leaders, influential stakeholders in the mainstream media, as well as the best academic journals and professional scientific societies in the nation.
Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence: “Neurorehabilitation: Networks to Neurons” was established in 2009 to improve methods of diagnosis and treatment of blast-related traumatic brain injury (TBI). The CoE is charged with developing diagnostic tests for mild to moderate TBI that are more sensitive, objective, quantitative, as well as easier and quicker to perform than current methods. By correlating test results with Veterans’ performance in standardized tests, the CoE expects to identify specific brain areas of injury and functions that characterize people experiencing the ongoing effects of brain injury sustained months to years before. These tests will help identify and evaluate treatments designed to help Veterans return toward normal and reintegrate into their families, community, and work environments.
Parkinson's Disease Research, Education and Clinical Center (PADRECC): One of six VA Centers of Excellence around the country, specializing in research, education, and clinical care for Veterans with Parkinson's disease and related neurological movement disorders. In addition to conducting research on drugs, rehabilitation methods, delivery of health services, and treatments that help sustain the quality of life, the PADRECC works with other similar centers around the country to investigate the effectiveness of deep brain stimulators in reducing the symptoms of advanced Parkinson's disease.
MEDVAMC Epilepsy Center of Excellence (ECoE): Established in 2009 to evaluate and treat patients with poorly controlled epilepsy and others with similar paroxysmal events. The ECoE provides services to all eligible Veterans in the southwest region of the U.S. Particularly impressive are the many imaging modalities available to investigators to characterize patients’ disease. These include state-of-the-art digital diagnostic equipment and a four-bed inpatient unit for long-term video and electroencephalographic (EEG) monitoring of patients.
Interested in Participating in Research?