Veterans Rural Health Resource Center -- Gainesville (VRHRC-GNV) - Center of Innovation on Disability & Rehab Research (CINDRR)
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Veterans Rural Health Resource Center -- Gainesville (VRHRC-GNV)

Veterans Rural Health Resource Centers (VRHRCs) are Office of Rural Health (ORH) field-based satellite offices that serve as hubs of rural health care research, innovation, and dissemination.  Each VRHRC addresses specific rural issues; for Gainesville, these issues are:

  • Improve independent living for rural Veterans
  • Strengthen rural workforce recruitment, retention, and education
  • Support rural policy analysis, strategic planning, rural geographic database design, and implementation in support of rural Veteran health care through geospatial solutions (Disclaimer: This link directs to an internal VA site. You must have access to the VA network to view this page)
The investigators who comprise the VRHRC-GNV team were originally part of the Eastern Region VRHRC and worked on  the following VRHRC Rural Promising Practices (RPP) and Enterprise-Wide Initiatives (EWIs) including:

  • Clinical Video Telehealth to Care for Rural Veterans with Multiple Sclerosis
  • Community Clergy Training to Support Rural Veterans’ Mental Health
  • Rural Training Initiative
  • Rural Veterans Tele-Rehabilitation Initiative
  • VISN Needs and Priorities Study EWI. 
The research arm of the Eastern Region was also involved and focused on developing strategies for improving rehabilitation services and on the long-term management of disability, including how family members are impacted. 

VRHRC-GNV investigators are experts in research design and analysis and, in addition to research, have conducted evaluations for ORH that received high praise from leadership of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Of note, the evaluation team for the Rural Veterans Coordination Pilot performed analyses that enabled the ORH Executive Director to provide data-driven recommendations to the Secretary of VA. 

Currently, VRHRC-GNV investigators are conducting an EWI – the VHA Rural Needs Assessment EWI, and evaluating two other EWIs:
  • Tele-Rehabilitation EWI (TR-EWI)
  • Rural Veterans TeleRehabilitation Initiative (RVTRI) 
Also in Gainesville providing additional services is the Geo Spatial Outcomes Division (GSOD).  It was established in 2008 as part of the Eastern Region VRHRC (currently in partnership with the White River Junction VRHRC) to provide geospatial support for rural policy analysis, strategic planning, rural geographic database design, and implementation efforts in support of rural Veteran health care. The GSOD provides its unique services to ORH, other Program Offices, VA Leadership, and any research investigators interested in examining rural Veteran issues using geographic information system tools.

The North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System (NF/SGVHS) where the VRHRC-GNV is located consists of 2 medical centers, 3 large multi-specialty outpatient clinics, and 9 community-based primary care outpatient clinics. The NF/SGVHS is one of the busiest VA health systems, providing 120,000 unique patient encounters monthly.  A half century of southeastern migration of elderly Veterans and more recent post-hurricane relocations from south Florida and Puerto Rico have combined to make the NF/SGVHS responsible for a large, ethnically diverse Veteran population. 

In collaboration with ORH, the VRHRC-GNV identified two broad areas in the ORH portfolio that have gaps in information, and these will be come the focus of the VRHRC-GNV:
  • Independent living for rural Veterans
  • Workforce recruitment/retention/education in rural areas. 
The VRHRC-GNV will support the overall ORH mission to conduct, coordinate, promote, and disseminate research on care for rural Veterans and to develop, refine and promulgate policies, best practices, lessons learned, and innovative and successful programs. 

In addition, the VRHRC-GNV will provide technical assistance to the VA rural health community and, as needed, to others within VHA, on research design, statistical analysis, survey design, psychometrics, and qualitative methodology and on data extraction, management, and reporting. Moreover, in the past 3 years, our investigators have gained significant experience with EWI evaluations. Our evaluation team will continue to offer this service on request. Geospatial services will be provided by the GSOD.