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VA Collaborative Evaluation Center (VACE)

Background | Current Projects | Leadership | Publications

VA Collaborative Evaluation Center (VACE)

VACE is a highly collaborative VA “virtual center” composed of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods evaluation experts. The team:

  • Evaluates implementation of VA initiatives to assess effectiveness and barriers and facilitators to implementation, as well as unintended consequences.
  • Works collaboratively with operational partners to ensure evaluation outcomes are relevant and useful for program improvements and sustainability.
  • Is highly responsive to needs of program offices such as the Offices of Connected Care, Integrated Veteran Care, Nursing Services, Rural Health, and Specialty Care Services as well as the National Cardiology Program Office (NCPO), Diffusion of Excellence, SimLearn, and the Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI).
  • Quickly addresses emerging evaluation questions.
  • Leverages cumulative experience from conducting multiple studies with overlapping foci (e.g. access to care).
  • Brings knowledge and methodological rigor from one study to another.
  • Provides a multi-specialty perspective on evaluation (e.g., primary care and specialty care).

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VACE began in 2011 through a competitive award from VA Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) and Office of Specialty Care (OSC) to conduct partnered research and evaluation while meeting the operational needs of the OSC. In response, VACE (then called the Specialty Care Evaluation Center) developed a longitudinal, mixed methods evaluation of the recently launched national initiatives to improve delivery of specialty care to Veterans:

  • Electronic Consults (E-consults)
  • Specialty Care Access Networks-Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (SCAN-ECHO)
  • Specialty Care Mini-Residency Program (SC-MRP)
  • Specialty Care Neighborhood (SCN)

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Select Current Projects


Emergency Department Opioid Safety Initiative (ED-OSI) Program Evaluation
Assess VA ED OSI program to understand impact on prescribing rates and provider prescribing practices.
Highly Rural Veteran Transportation EWI Evaluation
Assess the implementation of Highly Rural Transportation services and the impact on Veterans’ access to VA and VA-approved community care.
Mobile Prosthetic and Orthotic Care EWI Evaluation
Collect and evaluate data pertaining to need for mobile orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) services throughout the enterprise.
PT in PACT Mixed Methods Evaluation
Evaluate the implementation, impact, and effectiveness of integrating Physical Therapy (PT) in primary care settings to treat musculoskeletal complaints.
RCI Evaluation
Quantitatively and qualitatively assess the national implementation of the Referral Coordination Initiative (RCI) within cardiology, gastroenterology, and pulmonary for the Office of Integrated Veterans Care (IVC).

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VACE Leadership Team

Lucas M. Donovan, MD, MS
Title: Core Investigator; Director VACE
Associate Professor, University of Washington School of Medicine

Kelty Fehling, MPH
Title: Affiliate Investigator; Deputy Director (Denver); Associate Director (Denver)

Sherry Ball, PhD
Title: Associate Director (Cleveland)

Rachael Kenney
Title: Program Manager

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VACE-Related Recent Publications

Stryczek KC, Honsberger M, Ball SL, Barnard JG, Young JP, Felker B, Au DH, Ho PM, Kirsh SR, Sayre GG. VA Outreach Is an Essential Area for Improving Veterans' Health Care Accessibility. Mil Med. 2023 Feb 15:usad019. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usad019. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 36790439

Carey E, Chen HP, Baker D, Blankenhorn R, Munro S. Non-Ventilator Associated Hospital Acquired Pneumonia (NV-HAP) Risk Among Hospitalized Veterans Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Am J Infect Control. 2023 Jan 2:S0196-6553(22)00888-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2022.12.012. Epub ahead of print. PMCID: PMC9807267.
PMID: 36603808.
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions

Stevenson LD, Munro S, Klocko R, Sayre G. A mixed-methods evaluation of the national implementation of the Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia Prevention by Engaging Nurses (HAPPEN) initiative. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2022 Aug 30:1-8. doi: 10.1017/ice.2022.99. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 36039946
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions.

Mog AC, Moldestad M, Kenney R, Stevenson L, Lee M, Ho PM, Sayre GG. "I was Unsure at First": A Qualitative Evaluation of Patient Perceptions of VA Clinical Video Telehealth Visits in the V-IMPACT Program. J Patient Exp. 2022 Jul 3;9:23743735221107237. doi: 10.1177/23743735221107237. PMCID: PMC9260561. PMID: 35813242
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions.

Carey E, Chen HP, Baker D, Blankenhorn R, Vega RJ, Ho M, Munro S. The Association between Non-Ventilator Associated Hospital Acquired Pneumonia and Patient Outcomes Among U.S. Veterans. Am J Infect Control. 2022 Feb 26:S0196-6553(22)00102-X. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2022.02.023. Epub ahead of print.
PMID: 35231564
Learn more about this publication on Dimensions