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About VISN 20 Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center

About VISN 20 MIRECC

NW MIRECCSpanning 23% of the US land mass, VA Northwest Health Network (VISN 20) is the largest geographic region of VA. In the Pacific Northwest, VISN 20 serves Veterans in 135 counties of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Operating across three time zones over 817,417 square miles, VISN 20 is home to 273 federally recognized American Indian and Alaskan Native tribes. VISN 20 also serves Veterans in Del Norte and Siskiyou counties of California and Lincoln County Montana. The mission of NW MIRECC is to improve the quality of life and function of Veterans by developing, evaluating, and promoting the implementation of effective treatments for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and its complex comorbidities. PTSD comorbidities include the behavioral consequences of repetitive blast mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI), Substance Use Disorder (SUD), chronic pain (in particular, post-concussive headaches), cognitive impairment, and increased risk for neurodegenerative disorders (chronic traumatic encephalopathy [CTE] and Alzheimer’s disease [AD]). VA MIRECC's provide for the improvement of the provision of health-care services and related counseling services to eligible veterans suffering from mental illness (especially mental illness related to service-related conditions) through—

  • the conduct of research (including research on improving mental health service facilities of the Department and on improving the delivery of mental health services by the Department);
  • the education and training of health care personnel of the Department; and
  • the development of improved models and systems for the furnishing of mental health services by the Department.

As part of the NW MIRECC mission to enhance access to mental health expertise, NW MIRECC collaborates and consults with other MIRECCs and Centers of Excellence, as well as with other VA, DoD, Federal, State departments of Veterans Affairs, community agencies, and experts.

Research

VA Puget Sound NW MIRECC Research Center, on March 15, 2019, VA Puget Sound Health Care System opened a new 220,000-square-foot Mental Health Research Building on the Seattle campus.VA ranks as one of the nation's leaders in health research. NW MIRECC applies modern genetic, neurologic and clinical trial methodology to the discovery and development of new and more effective treatments for major and often treatment resistant mental disorders afflicting Veterans and the active duty combat personnel who will become Veterans. NW MIRECC seeks to improve the mental health and well-being of Veterans through research and dissemination of information to providers both within the VA and the general public. Research studies at NW MIRECC are currently enrolling Military Veterans, First Responders, Health Care workers, and Civilians in Seattle, Washington.

NW MIRECC research studies significantly contribute to advancements in our understanding of medical problems that lead to health improvements for Veterans and civilians alike. NW MIRECC studies are conducted through clinical research and through translational research wherein teams of clinicians and scientists work side-by-side to characterize and model key features of clinical problems and then translate the findings from scientific theory or animal models into practical applications for Veterans. Most notably, staff at NW MIRECC pioneered the use of the blood pressure medication prazosin to treat trauma-related nightmares, one of the most common symptoms of military PTSD. Due in part to our educational outreach efforts, this medication is now prescribed to over 100,000 Veterans and active-duty Servicemembers, and we continue to investigate its usefulness for other psychiatric conditions that are common in Veterans.

Education

MIRECC Presents is an accredited Continuing Education series of mental health courses provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Integrated Services Network (VISN 20) Northwest Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (NW MIRECC) in collaboration with the VA Institute for Learning, Education and Development (ILEAD). MIRECC Presents empowers mental health providers to integrate cutting-edge treatments and timely research into their daily clinical practices, thereby raising the quality of care for Veterans who experience mental health challenges. The target audience includes, but is not limited to, Physicians, Nurses, Psychologists, Social Workers and other professionals supporting Veteran care and active-duty combat personnel who will become Veterans.

  • Disseminates best practice treatments, current research findings and the latest pertinent knowledge related to PTSD, mTBI, and their complex comorbidities through both web-based and face-to-face educational offerings.
  • Collects and implements feedback from participant evaluations to ensure quality programing.
  • Serves as a national resource for expertise in mental health education.

VHA staffThe knowledge produced by NW MIRECC research efforts is disseminated through VA's ILEAD web-based learning platforms and face-to-face educational offerings, and directly implemented in clinics throughout the Northwest and throughout the country. NW MIRECC substantially enhances the capacity and potential of VISN 20 to generate and disseminate new knowledge about mental illness and treatments. 

  • ENHANCE your knowledge and skills in assessment, differential diagnosis and treatment of Veterans' mental health
  • IMPROVE the connection between contemporary research and clinical care of Veterans
  • FACILITATE biopsychosocial multidisciplinary team management of Veterans' mental health conditions

Postdoctoral Fellowship

NW MIRECC, located on the Portland VA Medical Center (PVAMC) campus, part of VAPORHCS, is a postdoctoral fellowship that is part of VA's Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Illness Research and Treatment (MIRT). VA MIRT is a two-year postdoctoral training program. In collaboration with mentors, the Advanced Psychology Postdoctoral Fellows develop and implement research projects, publish and present findings, write grants, and utilize the latest technology for educational activities and clinical service delivery. Psychology Postdoctoral Fellows devote 75% of their time to research and education activities and 25% to clinical training.

The primary goal of the NW MIRECC Advanced Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship program is to train and equip physicians, psychologists, and other allied health professionals with the knowledge and expertise to lead clinical research efforts that make lasting contributions in the lives of Veterans experiencing mental health challenges. The NW MIRECC research center located at VAPORHCS is affiliated with Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). Over the course of the two-year program, fellows are trained in clinical and health systems research, advanced clinical care service delivery, and program administration in an interdisciplinary setting. In some instances, the program may be extended for a third year to further develop advanced competencies in clinical research.

Clinical

Man sitting in wheelchairNW MIRECC clinicians are essential for the diagnosis and management of mental health conditions. They serve in mental health clinics as well as specialty clinics that provide a key space for the development and evaluation of new treatments for PTSD, mTBI, SUD, chronic pain, and dementia. Occasionally Veterans face challenges that perplex their mental health providers at the VA. To assist providers with these more difficult cases, experts at the NW MIRECC developed the Mental Illness Consultation Program (MICON).

In this program, Veterans Affairs clinicians may contact the NW MIRECC consultants with academic questions concerning a mental health topic or with clinical questions concerning unusual, complex, or difficult patient issues. A NW MIRECC investigator will return the provider's call or email within 48 hours and provide a free one-on-one consultation. MICON specializes in non-urgent psychiatric case consultation in PTSD, mTBI, SUD, dementia, and other areas in mental health. NW MIRECC clinicians have particular expertise in the off-label use of the blood-pressure medication prazosin for PTSD. NW MIRECC specialty clinics also offer clinicians in-depth training in the diagnosis and management of mental health conditions.

VISN 20 MIRECC Partnerships

This important work is only possible through productive collaborations with local and national academic, government, industry, military, and cmmunity partners. The close geographic proximity (40 miles) of Department of Defense (DoD) Joint Base Lewis-McChord/Madigan Army Medical Center to the Seattle Washington VAPSHCS campus has provided an exciting opportunity to develop innovative and productive research, education, and clinical care collaborations with DoD personnel that address PTSD and its associated conditions in their early stages in active-duty Servicemembers. The 62nd Medical Squadron (MDS) - Joint Base Lewis-McChord currently delivers IDES services at levels which significantly beat DoD standard.

=Joint Base Lewis McChordUnder this system, VA helps DoD determine if wounded, ill, or injured Service members are fit for continued Military service and provide disability benefits to Service members and Veterans, if appropriate. VA Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) program offers 5 support-and-services tracks to help Veterans get education or training, find and keep a job, and live as independently as possible. The collaborative approach to mental health research, education and treatment has had a profound impact on the lives of Veterans. The Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) is a joint Department of Defense (DoD) and VA disability evaluation process.

  1. Reemployment track
  2. Rapid Access to Employment track
  3. Self-Employment track
  4. Employment Through Long-Term Services track
  5. Independent Living track

RecruitMilitary and Disabled American Veterans (DAV) has held 16 events in Joint Base Lewis McChord, drawing over 3,000 attendees and 707 exhibitors. 

HandshakeVet Centers are community-based counseling centers that provide confidential counseling, outreach, and referral services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans, active-duty Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Space Force service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families. Vet Centers are authorized to furnish bereavement counseling services to surviving parents, spouses, children and siblings of service members who die of any cause while on active duty, to include federally activated Reserve and National Guard personnel.

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Use of these Materials and Finding VA Health Care

Please note that the health care information provided in these materials is for educational purposes only. It does not replace the role of a medical practitioner for advice on care and treatment. If you are looking for professional medical care, find your local VA healthcare center by using the VA Facilities Locator & Directory. This page may contain links that will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.

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Hospital Service Directory

To find out whether there is a van near you use the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Hospital Service Coordinator Directory to contact your nearest HSC for information or assistance. Please remember that the DAV Transportation Network is staffed by volunteers; therefore, it is unable to cover every community.

NW MIRECCSpanning 23% of the US land mass, VA Northwest Health Network (VISN 20) is the largest geographic region of VA. In the Pacific Northwest, VISN 20 serves Veterans in 135 counties in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Operating across three time zones over 817,417 square miles, VISN 20 is home to 273 federally recognized American Indian and Alaskan Native tribes. VISN 20 also serves Veterans in Del Norte and Siskiyou counties of California and Lincoln County Montana. Veterans may be eligible to receive care from a community provider when VA cannot provide the care needed. Veterans Community Care Program (VCCP) provides health care for Veterans from providers in the local community. VCCP includes General Community Care, Urgent Care, Emergency Care, Foreign Medical Care, Home Health and Hospice Care, Indian and Tribal Health Services, In Vitro Fertilization, State Veterans Home, and Flu Shots.

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Vet Centers in VISN 20

VA Vet Center LogoVet Centers in the VISN 20 Health Care Network are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services, including professional readjustment counseling to eligible Veterans, active-duty Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Space Force service members, including National Guard and Reserve components, and their families. 1-877-WAR-VETS is an around the clock confidential call center where Veterans, service members and their families can talk about their military experience or any other issue they are facing in transitioning after military service or trauma and get connected to their nearest Vet Center.

Vet Centers provide counseling to make a successful transition from military to civilian life or after a traumatic event experienced in the military. Individual, group, marriage and family counseling is offered in addition to referral and connection to other VA or community benefits and services. If you can’t make it to a nearby Vet Center, VA offers satellite Vet Center locations and Mobile Vet Centers that may be closer to you.

Alaska

Anchorage Vet Center (Anchorage, AK)

Anchorage Satellite Vet Centers in Anchor Point and Homer

Fairbanks Vet Center (Fairbanks, AK)

Fairbanks Satellite Vet Centers in Fort Greely and Fort Wainwright

Kenai Vet Center Outstation (Soldotna, AK)

Wasilla Vet Center (Wasilla, AK)

Oregon

Central Oregon Vet Center (Bend, OR)

Eugene Vet Center (Eugene, OR)

Eugene Satellite Vet Centers in Florence and Reedsport 

Grants Pass Vet Center (Grants Pass, OR)

Grants Pass Satellite Vet Center in Cave Junction and Grants Pass Mobile Vet Center

Portland, OR Vet Center (Portland, OR)

Portland Satellite Vet Centers in Oregon City, St. Helens, and Vancouver, Washington

Salem Vet Center (Salem, OR)

Salem Mobile Vet Center

Idaho

Boise Vet Center (Boise, ID)

Boise Satellite Vet Center in Ontario, Oregon and Boise Mobile Vet Center

Spokane Satellite Vet Centers in Couer d'Alene, Kootenai, Post Falls, Fairchild AFB, and Newport, Washington

Washington

Bellingham Vet Center (Bellingham, WA)

Everett Vet Center (Everett, WA)

Federal Way Vet Center (Federal Way, WA)

Lacey Vet Center Outstation (Lacey, WA)

Seattle Vet Center (Seattle, WA)

Spokane Vet Center (Spokane, WA)

Spokane Satellite Vet Centers in Fairchild AFB, Newport, Post Falls and Couer d'Alene, Idaho

Spokane Mobile Vet Center

Tacoma Vet Center (Tacoma, WA)

Tacoma Mobile Vet Center

Vancouver Vet Center - Washington State University, Clark County (Vancouver, WA)

Walla Walla Vet Center (Walla Walla, WA)

Yakima Valley Vet Center (Yakima, WA)

Yakima Satellite Vet Center in Ellensburg

Veterans Crisis "988" - The Military Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource for all Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, and Space Force service members, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, and Veterans. You're not alone—the Veterans Crisis Line is here for you. For immediate help in dealing with a suicidal crisis, contact the Veterans Crisis Line: Dial 988 then Press 1. You don't have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to call.

The Military Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource for all Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force and Space Force service members, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, and Veterans. You're not alone—the Veterans Crisis Line is here for you. For immediate help in dealing with a suicidal crisis, contact the Veterans Crisis Line: Dial 988 then Press 1. You don't have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to call.

Europe:
Call +1 844-702-5495 (off base) or DSN 988 (on base)

Southwest Asia:
Call +1 855-422-7719 (off base) or DSN 988 (on base)

Pacific:
Call +1 844-702-5493 (off base) or DSN 988 (on base)

A Veteran overseas may contact the Veterans Crisis Line via the chat modality at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat. If the Veteran prefers a phone call, they can request this within the chat venue. For TTY users: Use your preferred relay service or dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255. Are you looking for clinical care or counseling? Assistance with benefits? No matter what you’re experiencing, we’re here to connect you with resources and support systems to help. The Veterans Crisis Line is free and confidential. When you call, chat, or text, a qualified responder will listen and help. You decide how much information to share. Support doesn't end with your conversation. Our responders can connect you with the resources you need.

Plan your trip to VA

In 1946, Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) was established by law to provide comfort and well-being to America’s Veterans. With our many retail stores, cafés and coffee shops across the country, we serve those who have served our country. Our Canteens are whole health spaces for Veterans to connect, relax, share and care for themselves in an environment that is their benefit. We are proud to Serve America’s Veterans and those who provide for their care.

VCS operates over 200 Patriot Stores in Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Centers nationwide. Many of our stores have been recently updated and expanded to provide our customers with a modern, clean and comfortable shopping experience. Our stores welcome our customers with wider aisles, wood-like floors, enhanced lighting and directional signage. PatriotStores have expanded hours of operation to provide service for customers on weekends at most locations.

The Patriot Cafe is the best place in the VA Medical Center to enjoy delicious, freshly prepared breakfast or lunch served hot or cold each weekday. Providing Veterans, their families, VA employees, volunteers and visitors a place to relax and enjoy a meal or take-out for their convenience. With a wide variety of food from traditional comfort food, specialized menu selections and a large assortment of healthy choices; there is something for everyone's taste buds.

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