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SERVE Toolkit for Veteran Engagement

SERVE Toolkit for Veteran Engagement , V1


About this Toolkit

The purpose of the Strengthening Excellence in Research through Veteran Engagement (SERVE) Toolkit is to support VA Research Centers and investigators in efforts to include Veterans and other stakeholders in the development, implementation, and dissemination of research studies. The Toolkit was developed through a collaborative process that included representatives from 7 VA hospitals where Veteran Engagement in Research is an established priority.

The goal of this first iteration of The SERVE Toolkit is to provide guidance to VA Research Centers and investigators to support the development of opportunities for Veterans to be engaged in the research that we conduct. There are many approaches to engaging Veterans across VA. The information presented here is a synthesis of a range of successful practices that we learned about during the process of creating this Toolkit.

The Toolkit is comprised of five sections, four of which correspond to a stage of development for Veteran Engagement initiatives and a fifth that focuses specifically on evaluation. The sixth section is web-based and contains a number of useful resources that have either been developed by VA colleagues or that our team identified as being useful for engaged research efforts. Each of the first five sections can be reviewed or downloaded as individual PDFs. You can also choose to download the entire Toolkit (except the web-based resources).

Members of the SERVE Team that worked together to develop this Toolkit include:


Center for Healthcare Organization & Implementation Research (CHOIR)
ENRM VA Hospital, Bedford
MA Justeen Hyde, PhD (SERVE Co-Lead)
Anna Barker, MPH
Gemmae Fix, PhD
Carolyn J. Wehler, RDH, MPH


Center for Veteran-centric and Value-driven Research (DiSCoVVR)
VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System
Kelty Fehling, MPH (Co-Site Lead)
Leah Wendleton, MPH, MSW (Co-Site Lead)


Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care Durham VA Medical Center
Jennifer Gierisch, PhD, MPH (Site Lead)
Brandolyn White, MPH


Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation & Policy (CSHIIP)
VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System
Alison B. Hamilton, PhD, MPH (Site Lead)


Clement J Zablocki VA Medical Center
Jeff Whittle, MD, MPH (Site Lead)
Kristyn Ertl, BA, CCRC


South Central MIRECC & Southeastern Louisiana VA Health Care System
Gala True, PhD (Site Lead)


Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC) VA Portland Health Care System
Sarah Ono, PhD (SERVE Co-Lead)
Mary Frances Ritchie, MPH
Rachel Matsumoto, MS
Linda Ganzini, MD, MPH

Support for this project came from:

VHA Health Services Research & Development, SIP 17-152 (PI: Sarah Ono)

Suggested citation:

Hyde J, Wendleton L, Fehling K, Whittle J, True G, Hamilton A, Gierisch JM, Ertl K, Fix G, Barker A, Wehler CJ, White B, Ritchie MF, Ono SS. Strengthening Excellence in Research through Veteran Engagement (SERVE): Toolkit for Veteran Engagement in Research (Version 1). Veterans Health Administration, Health Services Research and Development, 2018. Available at:

The views expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government.

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