VA Centers of Excellence in Primary Care Education - Office of Academic Affiliations
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Office of Academic Affiliations


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VA Centers of Excellence in Primary Care Education

In August 2010, the Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA) issued a request for proposals to establish Centers of Excellence in Primary Care Education.  Part of VA's New Models of Care initiative, the centers will utilize VA primary care settings to develop and test innovative approaches to prepare physician residents and students, advanced practice nurse and undergraduate nursing students, and associated health trainees for primary care practice in the 21st Century. Thirty-seven VHA field facilities enthusiastically embraced this opportunity and competed for the Centers. The Peer Review process has been completed, and five VA Medical Centers have been selected. Each of these Centers will be funded at a level of approximately $1 million per year for five-years (funding beyond fiscal year 2011 will depend on VA's budget allocation). In addition to this core programmatic support, OAA will make available additional trainee positions and funding, as necessary.

The five selected CA Centers of Excellence in Primary Care Education:

  • Boise VA Medical Center (VISN 20)
  • Cleveland VA Medical Center (VISN 10)
  • San Francisco VA Medical Center (VISN 21)
  • VA Connecticut Healthcare System (VISN 1)
  • VA Puget Sound Health Care System (VISN 20)

Under the program, trainees will begin their rotations to VA Medical Centers this July. Their training programs and activities will emphasize VA’s new program of team based care featuring Patient-Aligned Care Teams (PACT).

Trainees in the program will represent a variety of health care disciplines, including internal medicine physician residents, nurse practitioner students, pharmacy residents and others. The five medical centers receiving grants were selected based on applications describing innovative approaches to collaborative care, shared decision making, sustained relationships with patients, and quality improvement activities.

"The goal is to better prepare young health care professionals to become future leaders in patient centered, team based care to ensure that our nation’s Veterans receive top quality health care in the years ahead," said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

The awarded sites will develop innovative educational models to facilitate integration of trainees into the team-based PACT program. PACT enables patients to build long-term relationships with a team of providers who share information, collaborate together, and create an excellent veteran experience.

The program was brought about through collaboration between VA’s Office of Academic Affiliations (OAA), Office of Nursing Services and the Office of Patient Care Services.

"This program serves as an excellent example of how VA can lead the way in developing new and innovative training models that will help address the health care needs of our nation’s Veterans and influence inter-professional training for years to come," said Dr. Malcolm Cox, VA’s Chief Officer for Academic Affiliations.

The program also is designed to address primary care needs of Veterans.

"By improving the primary care training experience, an additional goal is to attract more promising clinicians toward this field," said Dr. Gordon Schectman, Acting Chief Consultant for Primary Care Services. "For example, Boise’s program will address shortages of doctors in a largely rural state that traditionally has difficulty recruiting sufficient primary care clinicians."