Research & Methodology
The Research and Methodology Core functions to meet the intent of the Center’s authorizing legislation[i] to conduct and support research into the causes and contributing factors of Veteran homelessness; assess the effectiveness of programs; and serve as a resource center for all research activities carried out by the Department of Veterans Affairs and by other Federal and non-Federal entities with respect to Veteran homelessness. Veteran homelessness is broadly defined and includes Veterans in various states of homelessness and housing instability, including those living in shelters, transitional housing, or precarious housing situations.
There are currently over 30 researchers affiliated with the Center investigating a wide breadth of issues related to Veteran homelessness.
The Center is focused on four key areas:
- Population-based studies: Using administrative data or large-scale surveys to 1) develop predictive or explanatory models related to housing, health, criminal justice involvement, and homelessness; and 2) to understand characteristics, needs, prevalence, and incidence of health and social conditions in the homeless Veteran population, including subpopulations (geriatric, rural, women with children).
- Physical and mental health: Studies that focus on the identification, prevention, and treatment of medical conditions, mental illness, and substance use disorders, especially those that disproportionally affect the homeless Veteran population.
- Functioning and flourishing: Investigation into how to help Veterans thrive and flourish beyond housing, including social integration, employment, citizenship, money management, and other aspects of living a meaningful life.
- Program evaluation: Studies of existing or new models of care, including program fidelity, implementation processes, access to care, uptake of services, program effectiveness and efficiency, and staff practices and well-being, with the goal of informing programs and identifying ways to improve care for Veterans.
Across these key areas, the Center is interested in promoting and studying new effective interventions (clinical practices, organizational changes, technology-based solutions) and methodologies (recruitment and retention, measurement, data analytic procedures) across the homeless veteran population or important subgroups.
The Center disseminates the results of its research and data analytic work through peer reviewed publications, reports, manuals, symposium proceedings, and briefs. It also hosts two ongoing webinar series, one focused on using research findings to inform policy and the other to influence practice. The Homeless Evidence and Research Synthesis (HERS) Roundtable Series is a virtual symposium held two times a year to convene peer researchers, subject matter experts, policy makers, and advocates to discuss research findings and develop evidence-based recommendations to inform policy and practice on key homeless issues. Connecting Research to Practice is an occasional webinar that provides clinicians, program managers, and front-line staff the opportunity to discuss particular research studies and how findings might be considered in planning, developing, or implementing services for homeless or formerly homeless Veterans.
[i] The Center is established by section 713 of the Jeff Miller and Richard Blumenthal Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016, Public Law 114-315.
Jack Tsai, Ph.D. - Director of Research, National Center on Homelessness among Veterans
Jack Tsai, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist and Health Services Researcher and will serve as Director, Research and Methodology Core with the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans. In this role, Dr. Tsai will have responsibility for developing, coordinating, and implementing all aspects of the Center’s research, including oversight of collaborative efforts with scientists and researchers at other agencies and institutions. Dr. Tsai’s primary role will be in meeting a significant function of the Center’s authorizing legislative intent in carrying out and promoting research into the causes and contributing factors to Veteran homelessness.
Dr. Tsai has been affiliated with the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans since its creation in 2009 when he was the Center’s first fellow. He has held several research and administrative roles in the VA, and has over a decade of clinical experience providing direct patient care to veterans. He is currently based at VA Connecticut and serves on the faculty at Yale School of Medicine where he is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Division of Mental Health Services Research. Dr. Tsai has published extensively on housing and healthcare services for homeless veterans. He serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, and is Associate Editor for Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.
National Center Research Annual Report
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