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VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP)


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CSP History


The five CSPCCs transitioned from ISO 9001:2008 and collectively earned ISO 9001:2015 certification for quality management. VA CSP NAVIGATE announced in 2018 that it has formed a partnership with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) which will provide more access to the latest treatment options for VA patients with cancer.


CSP launched the Network of Dedicated Enrollment Sites (NODES), a consortium of VA Medical Centers with dedicated teams that conduct studies to evaluate and enhance overall performance, compliance and management.

The five CSPCCs earned ISO 9001:2008 certification for quality management, an acknowledgement of exceptionally high standards.


CSP launched the Million Veteran Program (MVP), establishing one of the world’s largest genomic databases. The health and genetic information is intended as a library for use in future research to prevent and treat illness among Veterans and other Americans.


In 2003, CSP created its fifth CSPCC at the Boston VAMC, expanding the capacities of the Massachusetts Epidemiologic Research and Information Center (MAVERIC). CSP also became part of the new Clinical Science Research & Development Service, playing a key role in VA-sponsored clinical research efforts. In 2004, the West Haven CSPCC expanded to include the Clinical Epidemiology Research Center; in 2007, the Little Rock CSPCC created its Pharmacogenomics Analysis Laboratory.


In 1998, CSP established three Epidemiological Research and Information Centers (ERICs) to conduct observational population-based research in Boston, MA; Durham, NC; and Seattle, WA. In 1999, CSP designated the Health Economics Resource Center at the Palo Alto VA Health Care System as the health economics coordinating center for CSP studies, and established a DNA Bank in Palo Alto and a Biospecimen Repository at the Boston VAMC.


The VA Health Services Research and Development Services partnered with the newly created Cooperative Studies in Health Services (CSHS) in 1990. In 1996, CSHS was integrated within CSP, and CSP was detached from MRS, forming a fourth independent research service within the VA Office of Research & Development (ORD).


CSP established third and fourth CSPCCs at the Hines VAMC and the Palo Alto VA Health Care System; CSPCRPCC moves to the VAMC in Albuquerque, NM.


CSP was officially established as a division of VA Medical Research Service (MRS). Its role was to coordinate multicenter clinical trials that evaluated novel therapies or new uses of standard treatments. The first CSP Coordinating Centers (CSPCCs) were established at Perry Point, MD and West Haven, CT. CSP also created the CSP Clinical Research Pharmacy Coordinating Center (CSPCRPCC) in Washington, DC.


Dr. Edward Freis and the VA Cooperative Study Group on Antihypertensive Agents published the results of a landmark cooperative study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The study showed that antihypertensive drugs could help to prevent or delay serious cardiovascular events. Dr. Freis won the Lasker Award and was nominated for a Nobel Prize for this work.


The VA established four regional research support centers:

  • West Haven, CT
  • Hines, IL
  • Little Rock, AR
  • Sepulveda, CA

These new centers gave investigators access to techniques and specialized help in research design, statistical methods, data management, computer programming and biomedical engineering. Under the leadership of Lawrence Shaw and along with VA Central Office, the four centers began coordinating VA clinical research studies.


Dr. William Tucker, Chairman of the first Cooperative Studies Evaluation Committee (CSEC), published a monograph titled The Evolution of the Cooperative Studies in Chemotherapy of Tuberculosis of the Veterans Administration and Armed Forces of the USA. His summary outlined the "essential elements" of a controlled clinical trial.


The Central Neuropsychiatric Research Laboratory at the Perry Point VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Maryland developed a program for conducting cooperative studies in psychiatry. The program emphasized the design and conduct of randomized trials for the treatment of chronic schizophrenia.


Concerned with the health of 10,000 Veterans with tuberculosis, Drs. John Barnwell and Arthur M. Walker initiated a study to evaluate various drugs in the treatment of this disease, including the antibiotic streptomycin.

The results of the study not only revolutionized treatment for tuberculosis, but also led to the development of an innovative method for testing the effectiveness of new drugs: the multisite VA Cooperative Study. 

Updated May 2019

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