Canandaigua VA Medical Center
Advancements in Medical Research
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is celebrating National VA Research Week May 19-23, 2014. As part of the nationwide observance, the Syracuse VA Medical Center is proud to announce that the projects of three Syracuse/Canandaigua VA investigators have recently been selected to receive VA Merit Award funding.
The VA Merit Awards for the projects of Dr. Jennifer Funderburk, Ph.D., Dr. Wilfred Pigeon, Ph.D. and Dr. Tobie Olsen, Ph.D. were announced by the VA Office of Research and Development last month. Their research will be conducted in the area of Health Services Research and Development.
"VA research is a national asset that benefits Veteran patients and the entire nation by moving medical science forward," said Douglas S. Walsh, M.D., the medical center's Acting Associate Chief of Staff for Research. "VA investigators play key roles in developing devices and techniques that revolutionized health care – including the cardiac pacemaker, the CAT scan, Shingles vaccine, liver and kidney transplants, and much more. Today, VA is a leader in many areas of research, such as AIDS, mental health, genomics, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, infectious diseases, and spinal cord injury."
VA conducts biomedical, rehabilitation, clinical, and health services research – as well as large, multi-center clinical trials – at more than 100 medical centers across the country.
Interview with Dr. Paul Dougherty; Chiropractor at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center, Syracuse VA Medical Center Institutional Review Board Committee Chair, and Research and Development Committee Member.
Dr. Paul Dougherty did his undergraduate at Northwestern College in Orange City IA. He attended Chiropractic school in St. Louis MO and did his post graduate training through National College of Chiropractic. After 12 years he left private practice to teach at the New York Chiropractic College, as well as teaching and directing a teaching clinic at the Monroe Community Hospital, the first ever chiropractic clinic in a teaching nursing home. In 2005 he began working at the Canandaigua VAMC.
Why did you become involved in Research?
I first became interested in research when I was in chiropractic school. While working in private practice, the more patients I treated, the more questions I had about why certain things seemed to work and others did not.
Can you tell me about the research you have been involved in the past and currently?
My first research study was doing a manipulation post epidural injection. While I was working at Monroe Community Hospital I became very interested in working with older adults. This led to a small study evaluating the effects of Spinal manipulation on frail elderly with COPD.
I also became interested in why certain treatments work with some patients and not with others. This laid the ground work for evaluating clinical prediction rules (CPR) for treatment responsiveness. My first grant was testing a CPR for spinal manipulative therapy in patients with chronic lower back pain. The final revisions of the manuscript from this project are now being finalized. I was also interested in the effect of the doctor patient relationship and its effect on patient outcomes, particularly dealing with pain patients. My second study was a placebo controlled trial in older adults with chronic lower back pain. This lead to an interest in assessing the brain and its response to pain which lead to a small functional MRI project that is on-going. I am also interested in assessing and treating pain from a biopsychosocial perspective. I have plans to work with behavioral health to address both the body and the mind in treating chronic pain.
Have you received any special recognition as a result of your VA Research?
I received a VA Merit Award in 2006. I was the first chiropractor to be a Principle Investigator on a VA Merit Award. In addition, I was named the American Chiropractic Association’s “Academician of the Year” in 2011 and received “The Reed Phillips Award” which is an award unique to VA chiropractors.
How do you feel that your research efforts will have the potential to affect the lives of veterans in the future?
I feel that by continuing to investigate the predictors of responsiveness, the “non-specific therapeutic effects” of treatment and developing a biopsychosocial model pain management for chronic lower back pain, this research will eventually help to improve the model of pain management, not only in the VA but in the public sector as well.