Following Tester Push, VA Announces its First Research Site in Montana

Senator led the effort to press VA to establish its first VA research site in Montana to improve veterans’ health care; Montana was one of three states without a VA Research Site

Following a push from U.S. Senator Jon Tester, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Office of Research and Development gave the VA Montana Health Care System approval this week to establish a VA research site in Montana. This will be the first VA research site in the state of Montana.

“Veterans in Montana and rural America face unique barriers to accessing the health care they’ve earned, and expanding research of this group and its challenges will improve VA’s delivery of care and their health outcomes,” said Tester. “This first-of-its-kind VA research site will help deliver Montana veterans the quality health care they earned, and I’m glad to see VA answer my call to bring one of these important sites to Montana. It’s a big win for Montana veterans, and I’ll keep holding VA accountable in ensuring this project hits the ground running as soon as possible.”

As Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Tester called on VA officials with the Office of Research and Development in a November hearing to establish a VA research site in Montana to improve Montana veterans’ health care. The Chairman also highlighted the importance of doing mental health research in rural America because the incidences of suicide are higher in rural states.

While VA announced the VA Montana Health Care System was selected for a research site, more details about the specific location and type of research will follow as the Department continues its process to set up this new research site.

In the past, VA research has been critical to developing effective tuberculosis treatments, inventing the CAT scan and pacemaker, and performing the first-ever liver transplant. It also continues to be critical to supporting toxic-exposed veterans under the PACT Act, improving women veterans’ health, and mental health care. The Department frequently highlights VA clinicians’ ability to do research as being key to helping the Department attract and retain high-quality providers.

A staunch proponent of improving veterans’ health care and mental health care through improved research, Tester championed the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act and provisions of the STRONG Veterans Act to expand research on veterans’ mental health conditions and treatment, especially in rural areas, in order to improve their care.


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