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Dedicated to improving the long-term functional outcome of individuals with mental illness through innovative research, clinical care, and educational programs.
Beginning in 1997, Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers (MIRECCs) were established by Congress with the goal of bringing best practices in mental health care into the clinical settings of the VA. The MIRECCs conduct research, produce clinical educational programs and products, and enhance clinical treatment to veterans.
The mission of the Desert Pacific MIRECC is to improve the long-term functional outcome of patients with chronic psychotic mental disorders, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and psychotic mood disorders. Psychotic illnesses are associated with a variety of perceptual and cognitive impairments that can impact vocational and social functioning, and quality of life. Unfortunately, available treatments are often only partially effective at addressing the many needs of afflicted individuals. Our approach to schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders is to improve understanding of the underlying neurobiology of these illnesses, to translate this improved understanding to improved clinical practices, and to assure that these improved practices are provided to veterans. We approach this mission through an integrated program of research, education, and clinical programs aimed at translating findings from the research laboratory into improved clinical care. Moreover, our program spans the spectrum from basic brain biology to the organization of services for veterans.
We believe that we have succeeded in creating a center program that fulfills these goals. All of our laboratories and units – Neuropsychopharmacology, Clinical Neuroscience, Treatment, Mental Health in Aging, Data Management, Health Services, and Education and Dissemination – have developed a track record of accomplishment. Our programs have strongly supported VA’s adoption of a recovery model for severe mental illnesses. This support includes research programs that evaluate innovative pharmacological and psychosocial treatments for improving the community functioning of individuals with psychotic illnesses and programs that facilitate the implementation of recovery-oriented programs in VA clinical settings.