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$6 million intimate partner violence intervention study approved


April 29, 2024

BOSTON , MA — A VA Boston researcher was approved for $6 million in funding Tuesday, April 23, 2024, by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to study a comprehensive, personalized intervention for patients who have experienced intimate partner violence, commonly known as IPV.

The study is co-led by Dr. Katherine Iverson, clinical research psychologist at the Women’s Health Sciences Division of the National Center for PTSD and VA Boston Healthcare System, investigator at the Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research, and associate professor of psychiatry at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine, and Dr. Melissa Dichter, a researcher at the VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, and associate professor in the College of Public Health at Temple University. It will test whether Recovering from IPV through Strengths and Empowerment – RISE – or brief advocacy counseling, which is the most common intervention, is better for improving self-efficacy and mental health symptoms, such as depression, among patients with past-year IPV at VA healthcare facilities.

RISE was developed for patients experiencing IPV, to provide them with an individualized, motivational and flexible intervention that addresses safety planning, IPV health effects and warning signs, coping and self-care, social support, sexual violence over the lifespan, and connecting with resources and moving forward.

“Early research on RISE suggests it’s effective at improving patients’ self-efficacy and depression symptoms,” said Dichter. “However, it’s not known how well RISE works compared to what patients typically receive for IPV intervention in healthcare settings. That’s what we want to find out.”

The five-year study will randomly assign patients to either RISE or brief advocacy. Participants will answer questions about self-efficacy and depression symptoms before receiving treatment, 12 weeks later, and every three months after that for one year. Researchers will compare which intervention – RISE versus brief advocacy – worked better to increase self-efficacy and decrease depression symptoms. More information is available at

“IPV is more common among military Veterans, so there’s a particular need for more personalized, structured and comprehensive interventions among this group,” said Iverson. “What we learn from this study is likely to be helpful for improving health outcomes among Veterans, and among the general population, as well.”

The study was selected by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, or PCORI, through a competitive review process in which patients, caregivers and other stakeholders join scientists to evaluate proposals. The award has been approved pending completion of a business and programmatic review by PCORI staff and a formal award contract. 

“This project was selected for PCORI funding not only for its scientific merit and commitment to engaging patients and other healthcare stakeholders, but also for its conduct in real-world settings. It has the potential to answer an important question about IPV interventions and fill a crucial evidence gap,” said PCORI executive director Dr. Nakela Cook. “We look forward to following the study’s progress, and working with Dr. Iverson, Dr. Dichter and their team to share its results.” 

PCORI is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress with a mission to fund patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research that provides patients, their caregivers and clinicians with the evidence-based information they need to make better informed health and healthcare decisions. 

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