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Office of Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks

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Focus Areas

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The Office of Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks includes the Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA), Research and Development (ORD), and VHA Innovation Ecosystem (IE).  Our goal is to promote collaboration and coordination with facility-based educators, researchers and clinicians to drive ongoing improvement and innovation in education, training and advancements in scientific research. DEAN is responsible for two core components of the VHA Mission which are to advance Medical Research, and Health care Education and Training. Over 70% of the physicians in the United States participated in VA Medical Center training program prior to employment.


  1. The Office of Academic Affiliations (focus area 1) conducts the Nation’s largest education and training program for health professions trainees. These training programs are accomplished through affiliations with over 1,800 academic institutions, including nearly all the medical schools in the United States. Over 124,000 clinical trainees rotate through VA Medical Centers each year. 
  2. The Office of Research and Development (focus area 2) seeks to improve the lives of Veterans and all Americans through health care discovery and innovation. VA Research is unique because of its focus on health issues that affect Veterans. Solutions are identified and developed through careful, rigorous research in labs and clinics. These solutions are then applied to patient care, or translated into new or improved programs, as rapidly as possible.
  3. The VHA Innovation Ecosystem (focus area 3) empowers frontline employees and leverages the collective power of external partners from academia, industry, the non-profit community, and other government agencies. IE facilitates mission-driven, health care innovation through the identification and scaling of innovative solutions and promising practices across VHA.