New VA research center's focus will include COVID-19 vaccine use in veterans

New VA research center's focus will include COVID-19 vaccine use in veterans

March 25, 2022

On March 21, 2022, Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed, an Army Veteran, and Congressman David Cicilline attended the opening of the Captain John H. Harwood Research Center at the VA Providence health care system. The new research center will focus on improving the care of veterans, including ways to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in this population.

The new Harwood Center will house HSR&D’s Center of Innovation for Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS). Directed by James Rudolph, MD, the LTSS conducts research on the measurement, implementation, and quality of VA long-term services and supports that enhance the quality of care delivered to vulnerable Veterans (i.e., homeless, elderly, food insecure).

For example, researchers are working on ways to reduce depression among elderly Veterans living in community living centers. They're also identifying risk factors for food insecurity among Veterans, assessing for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia among homeless Veterans, and looking at how Veterans respond to COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses. Lawrence Connell, VA Medical Center Director in Providence, said they are doing “groundbreaking medical research,” in large part because of their partnership with Brown University.

Senator Reed added, “From better patient outcomes to systemic changes, we’re continually pushing to improve VA access and services for our Veterans, and this new facility is a vital part of that mission.”

The new Center is named after a Rhode Island resident who was killed in action June 7, 1944, on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. Captain John H. Harwood was 25 years old and was posthumously awarded the Silver Star for valor in combat.

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