The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) serves as a model of healthcare for facilities and health systems nationwide. May 2-6, 2011, it is celebrating Research Week, and part of the event will take note of the accomplishments in care that VA research has provided to veterans, as well as to patients nationwide.

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Discovery and Collaboration for Exceptional Health Care,” celebrating both dedicated follow-through on research findings to optimize medical therapies for veterans and others, and the research and care collaboration between the VA and academic institutions, other government agencies, and health-related industries.

The theme represents something perhaps even more significant, though. It’s also giving a nod to the 65th anniversary of an agreement that allows VA to affiliate with medical schools.

And now, the VA and the

Association of American Medical Colleges have a new agreement that strengthens their relationship and will standardize data security requirements and processes across institutions, which in turn is expected to speed up the pace of research and introduction of new treatments into practice.

While these collaborations have obvious benefit to veterans and patients in general, the research findings and subsequent new treatments may also impact our own world of healthcare design by influencing the ways in which spaces are designed in the future.

I know we all pay attention to what’s happening within the VA’s health system, as often it serves as a model for what’s to come on a broader level. It’s worth noting that HEALTHCARE DESIGN will be taking a look at one VA medical center in an upcoming issue for the Pebble Report. The article highlights the VA New Jersey Health Care System (VA NJHCS) and its Pebble Project. VA NJHCS was awarded a VHA Patient-Centered Care Innovation Grant in 2010 to redesign its outpatient pharmacy using an evidence-based design process.

Watch for the article at For more about the VA’s Research Week, go here.