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Pomernacki A, Carney DV, Kimerling R, Nazarian D, Blakeney J, Martin BD, Strehlow H, Yosef J, Goldstein KM, Sadler AG, Bean-Mayberry BA, Bastian LA, Bucossi MM, McLean C, Sonnicksen S, Klap R, Yano EM, Frayne SM. Lessons from Initiating the First Veterans Health Administration (VA) Women's Health Practice-based Research Network (WH-PBRN) Study. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine : JABFM. 2015 Sep 1; 28(5):649-57.
BACKGROUND: The Veterans Health Administration (VA) Women's Health Practice-Based Research Network (WH-PBRN) was created to foster innovations for the health care of women veterans. The inaugural study by the WH-PBRN was designed to identify women veterans' own priorities and preferences for mental health services and to inform refinements to WH-PBRN operational procedures. Addressing the latter, this article reports lessons learned from the inaugural study. METHODS: WH-PBRN site coordinators at the 4 participating sites convened weekly with the study coordinator and the WH-PBRN program manager to address logistical issues and identify lessons learned. Findings were categorized into a matrix of challenges and facilitators related to key study elements. RESULTS: Challenges to the conduct of PBRN-based research included tracking of regulatory documents; cross-site variability in some regulatory processes; and troubleshooting logistics of clinic-based recruitment. Facilitators included a central institutional review board, strong relationships between WH-PBRN research teams and women's health clinic teams, and the perception that women want to help other women veterans. CONCLUSION: Our experience with the inaugural WH-PBRN study demonstrated the feasibility of establishing productive relationships between local clinicians and researchers, and of recruiting a special population (women veterans) in diverse sites within an integrated health care system. This identified strengths of a PBRN approach.