VISN 1 New England MIRECC Research
The VISN 1 New England MIRECC Research
How do we study dual diagnosis to improve Veteran care?
The mission of the VISN 1 New England MIRECC is to improve mental health treatments and access to services for Veterans with co-occurring addictions and mental illness, also known as dual diagnosis. In order to study this complicated issue, we investigate the continuum of care needed to understand, prevent, and manage substance use and mental health concerns. Our two VISN 1 MIRECC sites (West Haven, CT and Bedford, MA) have evolved from simple diagnostic comorbidity investigation to a broader framework that includes other biological and psychosocial factors influencing recovery. This includes not only treatment development and evaluation, but also exploring protective factors against increased morbidity and mortality for Veterans, such as vocational, academic, physical, and social functioning. We aim to:
- Better understand the prevalence and consequences of co-occurring addictions and mental illness
- Improve the treatment of Veterans with addictions and co-occurring disorders by developing innovative new treatments
- Devise more effective ways to deliver established treatments
- Create more effective programs by training VA health care professionals in therapies with proven efficacy
- Implement products and treatments for addictions and co-occurring disorders effectively and efficiently within VA
In addition to studying these risk and protective factors, we also design and evaluate strategies to make Veterans’ lives better and safer. As leaders in multiple Veteran treatment areas, we also highly value the recruitment and training of future VHA clinician scientists through research collaborations, our VISN 1 MIRECC pilot grant programs, and our VA Advanced Fellowship Programs in Mental Illness Research and Treatment located both our sites in Bedford, MA and West Haven CT.
How do we research such a complicated topic?
The VISN 1 New England MIRECC has researchers across the fields of psychology, medicine, and public health, with the expertise to tackle the full spectrum of care needed to understand, treat, and improve the lives of Veterans with addiction and mental health issues. Our national programs and research are aligned with multiple VA Strategic initiatives and the National Strategy for Preventing Veteran Suicide. The VISN 1 MIRECC staff and researchers develop and evaluate evidence-based interventions, test scientific theories, and propose novel Veteran programs along the full continuum of our Veteran dual-diagnosis care model. Using this approach, we work to translate scientific findings from our research labs into everyday programs available across the nation to make a difference in Veterans’ lives.
What does our research look like?
Our research takes place in VA Medical Centers and in smaller VA and community clinics in rural towns and large cities. We often partner with other labs and researchers within and outside of VA, as well as Veterans and community partners. Some of the ways we collect data, develop new treatments, and implement new Veteran programming include:
- Clinical intervention development & evaluation
- Community-based Veteran surveys and interviews
- Brain imaging (EEG, fMRIs)
- Technology development (mobile apps, websites, etc.)
- Assessing and helping Veterans manage suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Evaluating and improving community-based psychosocial program (vocational, social, etc.)
Explore more VISN 1 MIRECC research
View our investigator biographies to learn more about our research grants and labs.
Learn more about our Advanced Post-Doctoral Fellowship Programs.
Information and opportunities to participate in our grant funded research through Clinical Trials.gov.