Spotlight on a VA research participant
"These things we do that others may live" is the motto of the Air Rescue Service (ARS) where Mr. Crimmins served from 1975 to 1996. After his retirement from the Air Force, Mr. Crimmins returned to civilian life, working as a letter carrier. He raised 2 children and now lives with his wife in Brooklyn Park. For 20 years he coached high school hockey and is looking forward to getting back into coaching now that he is retired.
Taking the ARS motto to heart, Mr. Crimmins recently volunteered to be in a Minneapolis VA research study. According to research study coordinator Marti Donaire, Mr. Crimmins’ willingness to share details of challenging life experiences was "an inspiration" to the research staff. Equally inspirational was his rationale for volunteering: his hope that the study would lead to improved care for fellow Veterans.
Patrick Sanders, a native of Rochester, did not know when he signed up for a Minneapolis VA research study, that this decision would open a whole new world for him. After his service in the Navy as a nuclear power plant operator on a submarine (1992 to 1996), Mr. Sanders returned to civilian life with a job as a financial analyst and a love of motorcycling. When he subsequently lost a leg in a motorcycle accident, he was introduced to the world of prosthetics and prosthetics research at the Minneapolis VA hospital.
Mr. Sanders has participated in about a dozen different studies run by investigators at the Minneapolis Adaptive Design and Engineering group (MADE). On one occasion he had a close call when the new powered robotic ankle he was testing fell apart under him. Fortunately, he was holding on to parallel bars!
Mr. Sanders enjoys participating in VA research because it exposes him to cutting-edge technology and allows him to help advance the field for the benefit of others. But wait, there’s more. His involvement in VA research led Mr. Sanders to a whole new career: He is now getting his master’s degree in prosthetics.
The Million Veteran Program (MVP)
This is a ground-breaking research program that aims to learn how Veterans' genes affect their health. The program is building a biorepository to store genetic information and a data repository that facilitates linking the genetic data to medical record information. The database will be used to find new ways of treating and preventing illness, including PTSD, breast cancer, Gulf War Illness, suicide and many other conditions.
MVP's goal is to enroll at least one million Veterans nationwide. There are over 55 MVP sites at VA medical centers across the country, including the Minneapolis VAMC. Nationwide, more than 600,000 Veterans have already enrolled. The Minneapolis VA site is a leading recruiter and welcomed their 16,000th participant in May 2018!
You can find more information at:
Centers of Excellence
The Brain Sciences Centerhttp://brain.umn.edu
An interdisciplinary research institute and training center based at the Minneapolis VA that focuses on the mechanisms underlying the active, dynamic brain in both health and disease. Research areas include:
- Gulf War Illness
- Mechanisms of cognitive function, memory and learning
- Control of movement & brain resilience
The Center for Care Delivery and Outcomes Research (CCDOR)https://www.ccdor.research.va.gov
The mission of CCDOR is to develop and evaluate interventions and implementation strategies to improve care delivery, Veteran engagement in health care, and Veterans' health and functioning in their communities. Areas of research focus include:
- PTSD and other trauma related disorders
- Pain and Opioid harms reduction
- Cancer prevention and control
Geriatrics Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)https://www.minneapolis.va.gov/services/grecc.asp
The mission of the Minneapolis GRECC is to improve the delivery of health care to elderly Veterans through a multidisciplinary program emphasizing disorders of the aging nervous system. Areas of research focus include:
- Alzheimer's disease
- Brain imaging and biological markers of dementia
- Care delivery models
Minneapolis Adaptive Design and Engineering Program (MADE)https://www.minneapolis.va.gov/minneapolis/services/made.asp
The Mission of MADE is to identify and solve clinically relevant problems with a primary focus on design and evaluation of innovative rehabilitation technologies to improve the lives of Veterans. Areas of research focus include:
- Prosthetics and orthotics
- Wheelchair technologies
- Rehabilitation technologies
- Rehabilitation software