Research at the VA Section is carried out by the Center For Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP). CHERP is one of 15 VA HSR&D Centers of Excellence The center is a unique collaboration between the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and its academic affiliate the University of Pittsburgh, the RAND-University of Pittsburgh Health Institute, and the Philadelphia VA Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania.
CHERP was established in 2001 under the leadership of Principal Investigator, Michael J. Fine, MD, MSc and Co-Principal Investigator, David A. Asch, MD, MBA.
The mission of CHERP is to reduce disparities and promote equity and quality in health and health care among vulnerable groups of veterans and other populations. CHERP's research agenda is based on the natural progression of research from detecting unrecognized disparities (first generation), to identifying and understanding reasons for these disparities (second generation), to designing interventions to promote equity in health care among vulnerable populations (third generation). Current research foci include racial/ethnic minorities, veterans with low socioeconomic status, veterans with comorbid illnesses prevalent in VA populations, and other vulnerable veteran populations, including women and the elderly
CHERP seeks to fulfill the following goals: (1) advance the science of health equity and health services research; (2) increase the impact of health equity research through effective collaborations, dissemination, and translation of research into practice; (3) support and advance health equity and health services research training and mentoring within the Veterans Health Administration; and (4) maintain and enhance the organizational infrastructure and intellectual environment to promote the mission and goals of CHERP.
CHERP's 32 core investigators include 21 MDs (3 with PhDs and 11 with Master's degrees), 10 PhDs, and 2 PharmDs. The core faculty comprises general internists and clinicians from several medical subspecialties (i.e., nephrology, psychiatry, pulmonary medicine, rheumatology, surgery, and women's health) and disciplines (i.e., nursing and pharmacy). Academic disciplines represented by core faculty include psychology, medical anthropology, communication, sociology, health services research, epidemiology, biostatistics, and health economics. An additional 13 affiliate investigators, 13 associate investigators, and 16 trainees also contribute substantially to CHERP's mission and goals.
Funding and Dissemination
In addition to funding from VA HSR&D and other VA sources, the Departments of Medicine from both academic affiliates provide substantial support to CHERP. In fiscal year 2007, total CHERP funding from all sources, including core, research, and training program funding, was about $18 million.
When compared to peer HSR&D centers of excellence, CHERP ranks high in terms of productivity. In the 2007 fiscal year, CHERP investigators published the highest number of articles (102), received the greatest number of VA Career Development and MREP grants (13), and reported the most collaborations and other projects (96) of all VA HSR&D centers.
CHERP - Excellence in Health Services Research Forging the Path for Equity in Health and Health Care Quality
You can read more about CHERP at their website: www.cherp.org