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AAMC Responds to Report on Administration of Extramural Funding for VA Researchers

November 9, 2018—The AAMC Nov. 1 sent a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Chief Research and Development Officer Rachel Ramoni, DMD, ScD, in response to a September 2018 report titled “Study on Veterans Affairs (VA) Extramural Funding.” The VA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) commissioned the independent research organization Westat to collect information about the administration of extramural research funding to VA researchers.

U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals have shared a more than 70 year-long relationship with the VA to provide clinical care, support physician education, and conduct research in partnership to improve care for veterans. The letter notes that “VA-academic medicine research collaborations are critical to fostering veteran-centric research and improving current and future healthcare for veterans and all Americans in all health care settings.”

In its response, the AAMC noted its support for ORD’s interest in better understanding how extramural grants are administered and added that the report “provides VA with an opportunity to determine whether improvements to the current process are necessary to further advance VA research and its overall benefit to veterans.” The AAMC highlighted nine issues and recommendations for the VA ORD to consider in completing its analysis of Westat’s report, including:

  • The review should be broadened to include perspectives of the academic affiliates;
  • Each individual VA medical center (VAMC) should develop formal written policies;
  • ORD should enhance education of VA researchers regarding the roles of Facilities and Administrative reimbursements from National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants and the Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation in supporting research;
  • When appropriate, academic affiliates administering NIH awards that utilize VA resources should subcontract with the nonprofit corporation (NPC) for VA services, and vice versa;
  • VA ORD and NPCs should educate VA researchers about resources and services offered by NPCs;
  • Potential conflicts of commitments should be reconciled at a local level;
  • VA should increase the priority of the VA research enterprise and improve incentives for VAMC leadership to invest in research;
  • VA and NPCs allocate additional resources and staff to pre/post award grant administration; and
  • Increased funding for the VA intramural program, including research infrastructure.

The AAMC looks forward to future discussions regarding extramural research at the VA, and a continuation of the strong partnership to improve care for veterans.


Christa Wagner, PhD
Senior Legislative Analyst
Telephone: 202-828-0595

Anne Berry, MPP
Lead Specialist, Implementation Research & Policy
Telephone: 202-739-2987


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Senior Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806