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Research News

Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine Highlights VA HSR&D Investigators

April 13, 2021

A special issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM) on “Effectiveness, Implementation and Dissemination Research in Integrative Health” features several articles by HSR&D researchers. This issue showcases how research on many complementary and integrative health (CIH) practices has moved beyond efficacy studies to progress further along the implementation and dissemination pipeline. For example, HSR&D investigator Barbara Bokhour, PhD, and colleagues examined the impact of a peer-led group program for Veteran engagement and wellbeing, and found that Veterans who participated had a significant decrease in perceived stress, and significant improvements were seen in their mental health and quality of life. HSR&D investigator Rendelle Bolton, PhD, Candidate, and colleagues conducted interviews with more than 40 VA healthcare organization leaders and found that leaders’ provision of support for CIH in early-adopting healthcare facilities was driven by considerations at multiple levels of healthcare organizations, such as individual perceptions and experiences, organizational concerns, and systemlevel influences. HSR&D investigator Melissa Farmer, PhD, and colleagues described the results of a national organizational survey on CIH approaches that are offered within the VA healthcare system and found that the provision of CIH strategies was widespread, with VA sites offering five or more approaches to address Veterans’ pain, anxiety, and depression – and to help with their wellbeing. VA investigator Amanda Vitale and colleagues assessed the effectiveness of CIH approaches in promoting suicide prevention and found that an intensive complement of CIH interventions was associated with significant improvements in Veterans’ mental health outcomes, stress and coping skills, and chronic pain.

The real-world research in this special issue will help researchers, healthcare, and policy decision-makers, as well as the public understand the optimal uses of CIH practices. Guest editors for this special issue included HSR&D investigators A. Rani Elwy, PhD, part of HSR&D’s Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR), and Stephanie Taylor, PhD, MPH, part of HSR&D’s Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation and Policy (CSHIIP).

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