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Explore VA Tuscaloosa's research initiatives with specialty programs. You can also volunteer to participate in a research study.


Research and Development Service


We are pleased that you are interested in the Research and Development (R&D) Service of the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center (TVAMC).  The Tuscaloosa VAMC has a well-funded research and development program including studies in —

  • biomedical research
  • health services
  • clinical and cooperative studies
  • rehabilitation

The Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center continues to have an active and growing research program, with a primary mission to promote greater scientific, social and medical discoveries to improve the quality of life for the Veteran population.  Significant areas of study in the research portfolio at TVAMC include:  Vocational rehabilitation, PTSD, alcohol abuse, Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, Opioid Use Disorder, Substance Use Disorder, behavioral, Traumatic Brain Injury, dementia care, insomnia, long-term care, suicide prevention, rural health, pharmacogenomic screening, medication assisted treatment, and organizational change. Projects may be single- or multi-site projects, prime and subawards. The research program at the TVAMC offers volunteer participation in numerous research studies.  The types of research typically covered by the TVAMC Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) are:

  • clinical investigations of the cause
  • evaluation
  • assessment
  • treatment
  • outcome of clinical medical and psychiatric illnesses

Funding sources for research at TVAMC include various federal, state, industry, and private entities.  In order to maximize research opportunities, TVAMC partners with Tuscaloosa Research and Education Advancement Corporation (TREAC), an affiliated non-profit corporation.  TREAC acts as a flexible funding mechanism to further the development of research and education activities at TVAMC, and facilitates collaborative efforts between TVAMC, academic institutions, other government research organizations, and private companies by administering a variety of projects.  The VA Research Program influences significantly the recruitment and retention of highly specialized clinical staff.

As of July 1, 2022, the TVAMC had 33 active research that are being conducted currently by eight researchers, which include MDs and PhDs.  The funding sources for these projects include VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP), Clinical Science R&D, Health Science R&D, Rehabilitation Research R&D, Medical Care Supported Management Studies, VISN 7 Research Development Award, Veterans Care, LLC, US Department of Defense Congressionally Director Medical Research Programs and Research Triangle institute International, University of Alabama School of Social Work [through a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration], National institute on Aging, National Institute of Health, Aptinyx, Philanthropy Roundtable and Investigator-initiated research.

Are you interested in becoming a research participant at the Tuscaloosa VAMC? Find out, which studies are currently recruiting participants at

Have a general question or are you interested in conducting research at Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center?  Send email to

For more specific questions, please see the list below and contact the appropriate staff member.

Tuscaloosa Research and Education Advancement Corporation (TREAC)

Tuscaloosa Research and Education Advancement Corporation (TREAC) is a 501(c )(3) non-profit organization which was incorporated on September 27, 1991.  TREAC is affiliated with, but legally distinct from, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, authorized by Congress under USC §§7361-7366 to provide flexible funding mechanisms for the conduct of research and education activities. To learn more about the purpose of non-profit corporations affiliated with the VA, please refer to, VHA Handbook 1200.17.

Funding to support research and education activities is provided by other government entities, such as National Institute of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, and Department of Defense, other non-profits, voluntary agencies, industry sponsors (i.e. pharmaceutical companies), and general donations.

Specific areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the neurobiology and pharmacological treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder, major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and vocational rehabilitation outcomes for persons with PTSD.


To improve the health and quality of life of veterans through the advancement of clinical knowledge through research and education.


To be a premier non-profit organization contributing to high quality research and education.


DEDICATION to the pursuit of high QUALITY and ETHICAL research and education that earns and maintains the TRUST and RESPECT of veterans, and their families and other stakeholders.

    Current Research Studies at the TVAMC

    Exploring Barriers and Facilitators of Employment in Veterans with Opioid Use Disorder (SPiRE)


    This study will examine barriers to and facilitators of getting a job and keeping a job while trying to manage treatment and recovery from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), especially as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Eligibility: Diagnosis of Opioid Use Disorder

    Contact: Kimberly Alexander, MEd, Research Coordinator at

    Specialized Behavioral Treatment for Relapse Prevention Among Veterans with Opioid Use Disorders (MI+CBT)


    This study will evaluate the effects of a specialized behavioral intervention combining motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy (MI+CBT) in the treatment of Veterans with opioid use disorder (OUD).

    Eligibility: Diagnosis of Opioid Use Disorder

    Contact: Kimberly Alexander, MEd, Research Coordinator at

    Development of a Culturally Responsive Telehealth Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Older African Americans (CuRe-MBI)


    The purpose of this study is to develop a culturally sensitive telehealth mindfulness treatment for African American Veterans ages 60 and older that focuses on improving health and well-being.

    Eligibility: Age 65 and older, identify as African American/Black, able to provide written consent (i.e., no surrogate) for audio/video recording, has reliable access to a telephone

    Contact: Kimberly Alexander, MEd, Research Coordinator at

    Pandemic Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Pan-ACT): Feasibility and Acceptability of Telehealth Delivery for Older Veterans


    This study will pilot a 10-session telehealth Pandemic Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Pan-ACT) group intervention with Veterans ages 65 and older who are experiencing pandemic-related emotional and physical distress.

    Eligibility: Age 65 and older, score of ≥9 on the COVID-19 Mental Health Impacts Scale, English speaking, and ability to provide written informed consent (i.e., no surrogate consent allowed).

    Contact: Kimberly Alexander, MEd, Research Coordinator at

    Senior Staff Members:

    Lori L. Davis, M.D. (, Associate Chief of Staff, Research and Development (R&D)

    Darlene S. Knox (, Administrative Officer (AO/R&D)

    Patricia D. Pilkinton, M.D. (, Deputy Chief/R&D and Chair, Research and Development Committee

    Joni H. Morgan, Pharm.D. (, Chair, Subcommittee on Human Studies (Institutional Review Board [IRB])

    Susan D. Hopkins (, Health System Specialist/Research Committee Manager

    Brianne L. Winterberger, MS (, Research Compliance Officer (RCO)

    Sandra R Creel (, Executive Director, Tuscaloosa Research Education and Advancement Corporation (TREAC)