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Fifth Grade Students Recognized for Supporting Veterans and VA Research

September 5, 2012, 08:00:00 AM

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WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development (ORD) honored two students for their efforts to raise awareness about Veterans and VA Research.  At an afternoon ceremony held this summer at VA’s central office, Francesca Cetta and Claire Quigley were recognized by Dr. Madhulika Agarwal, VHA Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Policy and Services for their “outstanding efforts on behalf of VA Research and its mission to improve the lives of Veterans.”

Inspired by a demonstration of VA’s research efforts and the DEKA arm prosthetic at the April 27 VA Research Week Central Forum—which coincided this year with VA’s “Take your Child to Work Day”—Ms. Cetta enlisted the help of Ms. Quigley to hold a bake sale.

Both are fifth-grade students who reside in Potomac, Md.

“VA Research works each day to develop and conduct research on numerous advances like the DEKA arm that improve the lives of Veterans,” said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. “I thank Ms. Cetta and Ms. Quigley for their initiative and creativity in supporting our Veterans and VA Research.”

The arm, which was operated by Veterans Arthur McAuley and Frederick Downs, Jr., retired VA director of Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service, was jointly developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DEKA Research and Development, and VA. The arm is a highly functional prosthetic limb with a fully functional hand, which allows mobility for individuals with upper arm amputations.

“It is gratifying to meet students who appreciate our Veterans and are inspired by the science we’re using to improve their health,” said VA Chief Research and Development Officer, Dr. Joel Kupersmith, who presided at the recognition ceremony.

For more information on VA’s research program, visit

VA, which runs the largest integrated health care system in the country, also has one of the largest medical research programs. This year, approximately 3,400 researchers will work on more than 2,300 projects with nearly $1.9 billion in funding. 

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