Special issue of Health Equity devoted to improving care for minority Veterans

Special issue of Health Equity devoted to improving care for minority Veterans

WASHINGTON ― The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development (ORD) has published a special issue of the peer-reviewed journal Health Equity. “Improving Care for Veterans Through Health Equity Research,” includes 13 articles that discuss VA’s efforts to increase targeted research and improve care for Veterans from minority and underrepresented backgrounds. The special issue addresses a range of issues important to Veterans’ health, from diversifying VA’s scientific workforce, to expanding representation in scientific research, to promoting health equity within the Veterans Health Administration.

“VA manages a robust research enterprise that has more than 100 active sites across the U.S. and maintains affiliations with world-class research institutions. We are uniquely positioned to promote research that will benefit Veterans from minority groups. VA is deeply committed to better understanding and addressing health disparities in underrepresented groups like racial and ethnic minorities and women Veterans,” said Dr. Carolyn Clancy, VA Assistant Under Secretary for Health, Discovery, Education, and Affiliate Networks.

The Health Equity special collection includes a range of articles that discuss research growing out of VA’s Million Veteran Program, efforts to reduce COVID-19 health care inequities, breast cancer occurrence in women Veterans of African ancestry, drivers of sleep health disparities, visibility for sexual and gender minority Veterans, and developing future VA scientists through a diversity, equity, and inclusion program.

Together with Dr. Clancy, VA Chief Research and Development Officer Dr. Rachel Ramoni introduced the special collection. “Research across the translational continuum requires diversity in skill sets, experiences, and perspectives. There are many benefits that flow from a diverse health-equity-focused VA research enterprise,” said Ramoni.

To promote this goal, VA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion workgroup was established in 2020 to increase diversity and representation in ORD’s scientific workforce. The workgroup has undertaken a number of initiatives to mentor early career scientists from minority backgrounds, notably, the Research Supplements to Promote Diversity and Summer Research Programs.

“As I have entered my postdoctoral career, I have become more driven to help increase diversity in biomedical research. My VA research mentor has been fully supportive of this goal. We both understand that increasing representation in science and medicine is beneficial to both the minority scientist and physician, and more importantly, minority research subjects and patients,” said Health Equity author Dr. Valerie Lewis, a VA investigator based in Oklahoma City.

Health Equity is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal that meets the urgent need for authoritative information about health disparities and health equity among vulnerable populations. It is published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., and covers a range of topics from translational research to prevention, diagnosis, and management of disease and illness. The journal serves as a primary resource for organizations and individuals who serve these populations at the community, state, regional, tribal, and national levels.


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