Late Breaking News
New Guidebook Helps to Minimize Confusion in VA, DoD Research Collaboration Cont.
Col. Charles Engel, M.D, MPH, director of the DoD Deployment Health Clinical Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, who contributed to the guidebook, said that, from a military standpoint, it is a great opportunity for military researchers to collaborate with VA researchers who “have a shared interest in a population of people who are serving our country or have served our country in uniform.” He said that one of his recommendations for those contemplating collaborative research between DoD and VA is to “seek out credible collaborators.”
“Especially if you are on the VA side trying to get into a DoD population, you really want to be seeking someone who has done it before,” he said.
Resnik said that one of her recommendations would be for the researchers to meet in person. That was a concern echoed by Gayle Reiber, PhD, MPH, senior VA career scientist and an author of the guidebook. She spoke of a study for which she was an investigator, the “National Survey of Service Members and Veterans from Vietnam and OIF/OEF with Major Traumatic Limb Loss,” and said that meeting in person with her DoD collaborators would have been beneficial.
“As it turned out, I would have been much wiser to go face-to-face and sit down with all of these people that we did have sort of relationships with, but it would have made the planning and execution of the study much simpler,” she said.
Engel said the greatest challenge he has found in collaborative research has been the “time factor” involved in dealing with the unanticipated delays and diversions that can occur collaborative research.
The rewards of the collaborative research are many, however, he said.
“It has afforded me a great opportunity to learn about our respective systems and see a different way of getting things done and see possibilities in our own system for trying to do something along similar lines,” he said.