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Health Services Research & Development

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Updates from HSR&D Central Office

Archive: 2022 | 2021

January 17, 2023

By Jessica Cleveland, MSOR, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow

Happy “new calendar year”, everyone. I hope you were able to find time to do what energizes you over these last few weeks, whether that’s being with family, traveling, or just sitting at home enjoying a nice cup of tea or coffee. For those of you I haven’t yet met, I am a AAAS Fellow who joined the HSR&D office in September. Prior to that, I spent the bulk of my career at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston working in the informatics and analytics space applying systems engineering techniques to the design and implementation of tools for quality improvement and clinical decision support. From building simulation models to redesigning workflows to developing performance measures, my goal has always been to optimize data and technology around clinical practice.

In this fellowship experience I look forward to continuing to be a bridge between research and operations and expanding on my experience from a large academic medical center to better understand VA’s journey in becoming a learning health care system. As part of the ORD realignment ( - intranet only), I am working on building out the Quality, Safety, and Value (QSV) priority area within the new cross-cutting Health System Portfolio. The new QSV priority area will focus on studies that validate and implement measures of QSV, compare interventions across settings including direct vs community care, as well as studies that aim to understand the organizational context of care and workforce burnout. As part of this effort, I have begun meeting with key offices including the Office of Quality Management, National Center for Patient Safety, and the Office of Analytics and Performance Integration to help identify areas where research could provide the most value in helping them meet their goals or address issues they have identified. 

VA Secretary Denis McDonough (left) Jessica Cleveland, MSOR, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow (right)

VA Secretary Denis McDonough (left) Jessica Cleveland, MSOR, AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow (right)

I am also working to establish pathways for projects within the Office of Health Innovation and Learning (OHIL) to collaborate with researchers when appropriate. For example, there is a growing interest in making Virtual Reality technology part of standard of care. With over 160 VA facilities participating in projects that have numerous clinical use cases and increased Veteran interest (showcased at the recent Veteran eXpeRience event), it is imperative to establish rapid pipelines to study the effectiveness and implementation of these new technologies.

From making awkward small talk with the SecVA as we pose for a holiday picture to flying out to Salt Lake City to meet some of the many distinguished investigators within this system, this fellowship has already been such a rewarding experience. I look forward to partnering with and meeting many more of you in the field as we work together to better understand and deliver the best care to our Nation’s Veterans.

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