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VA New England Healthcare System

 

Clinical Trials Network

Creating a VA learning health care system

In an effort to maintain the VA New England Healthcare System (VISN 1) as a fully integrated health care organization capable of providing state of the art care, Network Director, Michael F. Mayo-Smith, has initiated a VISN-wide effort to expand opportunities for Veterans to participate in clinical trials.

This new initiative, the Clinical Trials Network, will unify the eight medical centers in the VISN as one collaborative clinical trials network. VISN 1 has unique strengths to support research of importance to America’s Veterans. To take advantage of these strengths, it has established a strategic objective to enhance its research activities. An important opportunity in the research arena is to significantly expand the number of clinical trials in VISN 1.

The VISN 1 Clinical Trials Network (CTN) provides logistical, administrative and operational support that frees researchers from burdensome tasks that get in the way of scientific discovery. Researchers will be able to leverage existing resources (e.g. Cooperative Studies Program Coordinating Center), infrastructure and expertise located in Boston.

 “Continuous discovery and improvement is the bedrock of a top-notch health care system. Our leaders expect us to provide first-rate care, and our Veterans deserve it,” said Mary Brophy, M.D., M.P.H., Director, VISN 1 Clinical Trials Network.

The CTN’s goals are to provide New England Veterans broader access to emerging therapies through clinical investigation targeting diseases relevant to our population. In addition, increasing research opportunities in New England and implementing key findings from these trials into clinical practice will translate into better healthcare.

Nationally there is keen interest in expanding the availability of clinical trials and better integrating clinical research into medical practice by bringing health care providers and researchers together. Integrated clinical research with medical practice creates a patient-driven, science-driven learning health care enterprise. The VISN 1 Clinical Trials Network is well situated to do innovative and groundbreaking work along these lines.

Explaining why integration of research and clinical care is important, Brophy said, “By embedding research into clinical care through innovative research programs such as Point of Care Research and precision oncology, together as a VISN, we can deliver on the promise of providing the best and highest quality care to the Veterans we serve.”​