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Research

Explore Minneapolis VA's nationally recognized research initiatives, with specialty programs in brain sciences, chronic disease outcomes, geriatrics, and adaptive design and engineering. You can also volunteer to participate in a research study.

Minneapolis VA Health Care System hosts one of the largest and most active research programs in the VA health care system. There are currently over 150 investigators conducting more than 500 research projects, with funding from the NIH, VA, foundations and industry. The research program is affiliated with the University of Minnesota.

Investigators, staff and collaborators - learn more about the Minneapolis VA Research Service

Volunteer for a research study

VA researchers wouldn't be able to make the advancements they do without help from the volunteers who take part in studies. If you'd like to contribute to VA's medical advancements, consider participating in research.

Why VA research matters

Research studies are important, because they can help provide:

  • An organized, methodical way to learn more about a specific concern
  • Answers about whether or not a treatment is effective
  • A better understanding about which health care services are effective and efficient
  • Opportunities to test whether a drug or piece of equipment is safe and effective
  • Answers to questions about the best way to treat or prevent an illness

If you decide to volunteer for a research study, you can change your mind at any time. Your decision to participate will not affect your VA benefits.

Research volunteer Rosie
Find out what makes Rosie a valued Veteran Engagement Partner. "Research is so worth it because you’re going to learn about yourself and can share that with others," says Rosie.

Rosie Glenn, Navy Veteran and law school graduate, loves building her knowledge, sharing what she learns with others and advocating for those around her, especially for the younger members of her family and her fellow Veterans. While still a student in law school she opened her home to a baby boy, who she adopted 1 year later. She currently teaches him at home, and is very proud that he will graduate high school next spring.

Rosie first participated in research while coping with pain from ankle replacement surgery. She entered that study wanting to learn as much as she could about herself and available treatments. The more she learned, the more she wanted to share with the study team and fellow Veterans. This curiosity and openness make her a valued Veteran Engagement Partner (VEP). As a VEP member, Rosie is a colleague to researchers. Her recommendations for recruitment, assessment tool design and Veteran engagement are highly valued among VA researchers. She appreciates that VEP promotes an exchange of knowledge, experience, and ideas among Veterans and researchers. As Rosie says, “We get it done. Everybody is respectful of each other, we all just get along.”

"[Research] is so worth it because you’re going to learn about yourself and can share that with others. It’s important that you share knowledge so that you aren’t the only one to learn from your experiences,” states Rosie. Thank you for your dedication to others, Rosie!

Research volunteer John
Learn about John's passion for sharing experiences. “As Vets, we can’t get what we need without asking. And that’s what research is doing," says John.

John Hawkinson is a retired 22-year Navy Veteran who deployed seven times to the Middle East and is continuing his service by participating in VA research. He also currently works for Minnesota Housing, facilitating affordable housing projects on the behest of the Governor, work that has been especially needed during the COVID-19 pandemic. He sums up his commitment to research this way, “I feel the Vietnam Generation fought for us so our generation didn’t face what they did coming back from the war. It’s now our generation’s job to share our experiences so everyone can learn from us.”

John first participated, as so many Veterans have, in Million Veterans/All of Us, providing blood and saliva samples to create a database of knowledge about Veteran health. Following that experience, and coping with chronic pain from service, John enrolled in Dr. Diana Burgess’ Learning to Apply Mindfulness to Pain (LAMP) study. He continues to look for more opportunities to participate, checking the research recruitment board whenever he’s at the Minneapolis VA.

John encourages other Veterans to participate in research, viewing this as an opportunity for shared purpose. “As Vets, we can’t get what we need without asking. And that’s what research is doing. They are asking about ways to help us, so we need to help them do that."

When not participating in research and building housing, John happily spends time with family, friends and hockey. John, we appreciate you giving some of that precious time to VA Research!

Open studies

The following links will open a PDF with information about each research study.