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Office of Health Equity

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VA Medical Center Partners

The Office of Health Equity partners with VA Medical Centers (VAMC's) to promote equity work within VA.

The Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion

The Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP), is one of 19 VHA HSR&D Centers of Innovation. CHERP research focuses on improving the quality and equity of health and healthcare for vulnerable Veterans.  VHA-funded studies have resulted in better care for Veterans with chronic health issues, such as diabetes, hypertension, and obstructive sleep apnea. 

One factor that presents a major barrier to addressing health disparities is the lack of reporting tools that display data on healthcare quality and health outcomes across vulnerable subgroups. With funding from the VHA Innovators Network, Leslie Hausmann, PhD, a CHERP Core Investigator, took steps to address this gap by spearheading the project, “VHA Equity Explorer:  Building an Interactive Equity Dashboard.”  Dr. Hausmann and her team developed a data dashboard prototype to display how key quality measures across Veteran subgroups. The tool was designed to display differences in quality measures for these characteristics, alone and in combination, at national, regional, and local levels.

Building on this work, the Office of Health Equity and CHERP have partnered to design reporting tools to disseminate information about health disparities among Veterans at national, regional, and local levels. Using principles of human centered design, OHE and Dr. Hausmann’s team at CHERP are working to create user-friendly data visualizations that will highlight disparities in VHA healthcare quality and outcomes that occur across demographic groups.

Atlanta and Dublin Georgia VA Medical Centers

The VISN 7 Tele-Primary Care Program in Atlanta and the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center in Dublin Georgia collaborated to help Veterans living in rural Georgia manage their Diabetes by utilizing telehealth technology. This project linked Veterans with health care providers such as pharmacists, telehealth nurses and consulted with dieticians via telehealth to ensure that the veterans received diabetes care that meets VHA and American Diabetes Association recommendations. The number of Veterans with diabetes who did not have a recent Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) was reduced by 50% through this telehealth intervention.  Additionally, the number of veterans without any reported HbA1c or with an HbA1c greater than 9%, decreased by 23% in 2018.

VA Heart of Texas Health Care Network (VISN 17)

VA Heart of Texas Health Care Network (VISN 17) developed and delivered a culturally sensitive MOVE! curriculum aimed to address the specific needs of Hispanic Veterans with uncontrolled diabetes in Texas. Participants who participated in at least one MOVE! Diabetes session experienced significant improvements in long term diabetes control. This effort was implemented at four VA Medical Centers, Big Spring, Amarillo, North Texas, and South Texas.  MOVE! was offered as a telehealth option, in-person visits to a VA Medical Center, and at YMCA locations that had partnered with South Texas.