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VA Health Systems Research

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The Elizabeth Dole Center of Excellence for Veteran and Caregiver Research

Additional Resources

Investigators funded by HSR&D conduct a wide variety of research in caregiving and caregiver support. Among the goals of this research are: identifying how best to support Veterans’ formal and informal caregivers; understanding the economics of caregiving; and evaluating the impact of caregiver policy decisions. The following resources are available to learn more.

Elizabeth Dole CoE for Veteran and Caregiver Research Fellowship in health services research focused informal caregiving, home and community-based care, long-term support services, and other aspects of aging in place. (Application Materials Due November 1)

HSR&D Investigator Insights: Podcasts & Videos. Watch or listen to HSR&D investigators talking about caregiver-support related research.

Video: Evaluating Support for Veterans’ Informal Caregivers


Visit the VA Office of Research & Development’s topic page on caregivers.

Visit the QUERI-funded Caregiver Support Partnered Evaluation Initiative's page.


The Elizabeth Dole Center of Excellence for Veteran and Caregiver Research is a result of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation’s support for a landmark RAND Corporation research blueprint for Veterans and their caregivers, Senator Dole’s continued advocacy for the Center, and VA HSR&D’s 30+ year legacy in supporting state-of-the-art healthcare research.

Goals and Mission

The Dole Center will expand the capacity of VA to deliver integrated, Veteran- and caregiver-partnered, data-driven approaches to care. It will serve as a model for excellence in peer-reviewed research on innovation, training, implementation, evaluation, adoption, and dissemination of best practices in supporting the caregivers of Veterans across VA and private and non-profit sectors.

The Center's specific goals are to further evidence-based research that informs the most appropriate and effective care for Veterans based on their needs, most notably by: 

  • Involving caregivers of Veterans in the design and implementation of innovative models of care
  • Applying metrics relevant to caregivers and Veterans for evaluation and feedback
  • Using data science to inform most effectively matching services to Veteran and caregiver groups
  • Piloting innovative approaches to improving Veteran and caregiver outcomes
  • Applying implementation science to improve the deployment of best practices in home- and community-based care

Leadership & Investigators

The Center consists of a multidisciplinary team that takes advantage of HSR&D's virtual network of nationally recognized VA investigators and their university affiliates. 

Stuti Dang, MD

Stuti Dang, MD

Stuti Dang, MD, is an investigator and physician in the Miami Veterans Health Care System in the Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC). She is the Associate Director for Implementation and Outcomes Research in the Miami GRECC. Dr. Dang is a geriatrician with an interest in models of care for high-need, high-risk patients with chronic diseases and their caregivers, specifically using telehealth and care coordination. With funding from VA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Department of Defense (DoD), she has led and supported various grants to develop and study interventions designed to help Veterans and their caregivers.

Erin P. Finley, PhD, MPH

Erin P. Finley, PhD, MPH

Erin P. Finley, PhD, MPH is an Investigator with the Veterans Evidence-Based Research Dissemination and Implementation Center (VERDICT) at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, and an Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine at UT Health San Antonio.  She is a medical anthropologist and health services researcher with expertise in PTSD, access to care, and the implementation of evidence-based practices in inpatient and outpatient settings. Dr. Finley was awarded the 2012 Margaret Mead Award by the American Anthropological Association for her book, Fields of Combat: Understanding PTSD among Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. She has served as principal or co-investigator on studies funded by VA, DoD, NIH, the National Science Foundation, and public-private partnerships, and has published widely on post-deployment health and reintegration, access to evidence-based care for PTSD, and program implementation and evaluation.

Luci Leykum, MD, MBA, MSc

Luci Leykum, MD, MBA, MSc

Luci Leykum, MD, MBA, MSc, currently part of the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. Dr. Leykum’s work has focused on assessing and improving healthcare system function using complexity science as a framework. Specifically, she has focused on relationships, sense-making, and learning among providers, patients, and families. She has received state and federal funding, and has authored or co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts. Dr. Leykum is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, where she also serves as Chief of the Division of General and Hospital Medicine, and is a past recipient of an HSR&D Career Development Program award.

Mary Jo Pugh, PhD, RN, FAAN

Mary Jo Pugh, PhD, RN, FAAN

Mary Jo Pugh, PhD, RN, FAAN, is a retired Air Force Nurse and Research Career Scientist with HSR&D's Informatics, Decision-Enhancement and Analytic Sciences Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dr. Pugh’s work has focused on understanding neurodegenerative effects of TBI such as epilepsy. She is currently using longitudinal methods, with merged DoD-VA databases and primary data collection via surveys and interviews, to examine long-term outcomes of deployment, developing risk scores for sequelae of TBI and epilepsy, and understanding the role of caregiving on health outcomes for Gulf War and Post-9/11 Veteran caregivers. Dr. Pugh is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Utah, and is a past recipient of an HSR&D Career Development Program award.

Ranak Trivedi, PhD

Ranak Trivedi, PhD

Ranak Trivedi, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and investigator with the HSR&D Center for Innovation to Implementation, in Palo Alto, California and an assistant professor of Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University. Dr. Trivedi's work is focused on understanding how families and patients can better collaborate to improve health outcomes for both. Her work has addressed the barriers and facilitators of chronic illness self-management, and developing family centered self-management programs that address the needs of both patients and their family members. Dr. Trivedi's work has highlighted the need of improving assessment and treatment of mental illnesses in primary care settings. She has been funded by the VA and NIH. Dr. Trivedi is a past recipient of an HSR&D Career Development Program award and leads the VA National Caregiver Research Interest Group.

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