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VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP)

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Cooperative Studies Program Epidemiology Centers (CSPECs)

Mission

We design and conduct state-of-the-art population research on health and disease to enhance our understanding of their determinants, treatments, and outcomes in order to improve the health, well-being, and care of Veterans and all Americans.

Program Summary & Quality Statement

CSP Epidemiology Centers (CSPECs) provide scientific expertise, human capital, data, and research infrastructure to conduct epidemiologic research on Veterans’ health and their disease burden for the Department of Veterans Affairs and the nation. We are centrally directed to respond to VA and congressional requests on Veteran health.

Our primary research areas are:

  1. Designing and conducting large-scale observational epidemiologic studies
  2. Providing scientific and administrative stewardship and sharing of epidemiologic resources
  3. Enabling scientific collaborations and disseminating study findings 

The CSPEC Quality Statement describes our commitment to maintaining the highest standard of quality with regard to participant safety, scientific output as it relates specifically to data quality, and general efficiency of the program.

Locations

Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center (MAVERIC) - Boston, MA 
Cooperative Studies Program Epidemiology Center - Durham (CSPEC-Durham) - Durham, NC
Pharmacogenomics Analysis Laboratory (PAL) - Little Rock, AR
Palo Alto Epidemiology Research and Information Center (ERIC) for Genomics - Palo Alto, CA 
Seattle Epidemiologic Research and Information Center (ERIC) - Seattle, WA
Clinical Epidemiology Research Center (CERC) - West Haven, CT

Research

We conduct large-scale epidemiologic research (Boston, Durham, Seattle, West Haven), perform genomic laboratory work and conduct genomic analyses (Little Rock, Palo Alto), and manage a VA National Biorepository (Boston).  

More on our primary research areas and related studies are below. 

1. Designing and conducting large-scale observational epidemiologic studies

CSPEC studies address genetic, molecular, and environmental risk factors affecting the risk of cancer, neurologic, mental health, and other chronic conditions. Selected studies are listed below.

  • CSP #380: Prospective Evaluation of Risk Factors for Large Colonic Adenomas in Asymptomatic Subjects (Durham)
  • CSP #380-B: Examining Molecular Signaling Pathways in the Progression from Colorectal Adenomas to Cancer from Longitudinal Screening Study (Durham) 
  • CSP #500-A: National Registry of Veterans with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Durham)
  • CSP #500-B: Genetic Epidemiology of ALS in Veterans (GENEVA) (Durham)
  • CSP #505: Millennium Cohort Study (Seattle)
  • CSP #566: Neuropsychological and Mental Health Outcomes of Operation Iraqi Freedom: A Longitudinal Cohort Study (West Haven)
  • CSP #569: Twin Study of the Course & Consequences of PTSD in Vietnam-era Veterans (Seattle)
  • CSP #572: Genetics of Functional Disability in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Illness (West Haven)
  • CSP #575-B: Genomics of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans (West Haven)
  • CSP #595: Pulmonary Health and Deployment to Southwest Asia & Afghanistan (Seattle)
  • CSP #710: Normative Aging Study (Boston)
  • CSP #G-002: Million Veteran Program (MVP) (Boston/West Haven)
  • CSP #2006: Genomics of Gulf War Illness in Veterans (West Haven)

These studies are supported by the genomic technology expertise of the Pharmacogenomics Analysis Laboratory (PAL) in Little Rock and the Palo Alto Epidemiologic and Research and Information Center (ERIC) for Genomics.

2. Providing scientific and administrative stewardship and sharing of epidemiologic resources
CSPEC stewardship includes curating, enhancing, and sharing study data, registries, and repositories. Selected studies are listed below.  

These studies helped create many CSPEC resources that include a data sharing resource, a data commons resource that harmonizes and integrates CSP data with VA and non-VA administrative data, and a data curating resource that compiles CSP study data with VA Corporate Data Warehouse resources and non-VA administrative data into a usable format (including Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, National Death Index, Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program).

3. Enabling scientific collaborations and disseminating study findings
CSPECs help VA maximize the impact of federal research investment and by fostering relationships and collaborations with non-VA stakeholders and other organizations that sponsor federally funded research. By sharing study findings with Veterans and the scientific community, CSPECs advance scientific knowledge about Veteran health and its determinants.