MIRECC / CoE
About the Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center
Advancing Post-Deployment Mental Health and Wellness for Veterans and their FamiliesThe Veterans Health Administration (VHA), within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), operates one of the nation's largest health care systems. The VHA is comprised of eighteen Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) that manage and oversee over 170 medical centers and other medical facilities.
As part of the Veterans Integrated Service Network 6 (VISN 6), the Mid-Atlantic Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) serves as a translational center that develops, disseminates, and applies scientific knowledge and best practices to enhance post-deployment mental health and wellbeing among United States (U.S.) Veterans and their families. The VISN 6 MIRECC provides consultation and leadership at the local, VISN, and national levels, particularly related to the theme of post-deployment mental health. Through its research, educational, and clinical endeavors, the VISN 6 MIRECC works to ensure that shared knowledge and skills create national resources to address risk and protective factors for post-deployment mental health and related issues.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 profoundly affected the United States in many ways. It was evident that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would change the current and future healthcare needs of Service Members and Veterans for both VHA and the Department of Defense (DoD).
In late fall of 2003, VISN 6 Mental Health (MH) leaders knew that addressing post-deployment mental health (PDMH) was most crucial to Veterans’ health for not only immediate interventions but would be critical for decades to come. The MIRECC was awarded to the VISN 6 collaborative investigative team at the Durham (hub site), Salisbury, Richmond, and Hampton VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) with funding beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2005. The VISN 6 MIRECC’s original aims in 2005 were to (1) determine whether early intervention in post-deployment mental health is effective in forestalling the development or decreasing the severity of post-deployment mental illness, (2) determine what neuroimaging, genetic, neurocognitive, or other characteristics predict the development of post-deployment mental illness, and (3) assess the longitudinal course of post-deployment mental illness. Through the years the scientific outcomes and feedback from Veterans and the Center's reviews have resulted in an updated Mission Statement, as follows: "To develop, disseminate and apply scientific knowledge and best practices to enhance post-deployment, mental health and wellness for our Nation's Veterans and their families".
The VISN 6 MIRECC has three cores:
1. Research Core: Develops novel mental health assessments and interventions through basic and clinical research.
2. Education Core: Develops and disseminate educational materials and translate complex research findings for multiple audiences.
3. Clinical Core: Provides expert, evidence-based education, training, clinical consultation and technical assistance to improve the quality of care for U.S. Veterans.
At Mid-Atlantic MIRECC, we are making significant contributions to the understanding of PDMH and have achieved respected leadership roles within VA and with non-VA partners locally, regionally and nationally.