San Francisco VA Medical Center invites public to celebrate VA research week

By Steve Tokar

The US Department of Veterans Affairs will celebrate National VA Research Week, May 7-13, 2006.  As part of the nationwide observance, the San Francisco VA Medical Center invites the public to a series of lectures by SFVAMC principal investigators - who are also on the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine - and state and national VA officials. 

The program times, speakers, and topics are:

*  12:00-12:10 pm - Tom Johnson, Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs: “Opening Remarks”
*  12:10-12:35 pm—Carl Grunfeld, MD, PhD: “Anabolic Steroids: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”
*  12:35-1:00 pm— Kenneth Covinsky, MD, MPH: “Why the Elderly Become Disabled, and What Happens When they Do”

*  12:00-12:30 pm—Sandra Moody-Ayers, MD: “Parental Education Level Predicts Functional Decline in the Elderly”
*  12:30-1:00 pm—Karen Seal, MD, MPH: “Bringing the War Back Home: PTSD and Substance Abuse among Veterans Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan”

*  12:00-1:00 pm—Joel Kupersmith, MD, Chief of Research and Development, US Department of Veterans Affairs:  “Update on VA Research Program”

“VA research is a national asset that benefits veteran patients and the entire nation by moving medical science forward,” noted Lynn Pulliam, PhD, SFVAMC associate chief of staff for research and development. “VA investigators played key roles in developing devices and techniques that revolutionized health care, such as the cardiac pacemaker, the CAT scan, and liver and kidney transplants. Today, VA is a leader in many areas of research, including AIDS, mental health, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, infectious diseases, and spinal cord injury.”

“VA research is good medicine at the San Francisco VA Medical Center,” said SFVAMC Director Sheila Cullen.  “We have the largest funded research program in the VA system, and consider research to be a cornerstone of our quality health care.”

Current research projects at SFVAMC include:

*  Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to measure changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s diseases, posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), Gulf War syndrome, alcoholism, concussion,  and other neurodegenerative diseases and conditions.
*  Studying a potential new, quicker, and longer-lasting treatment for PTSD.
*  Investigating new techniques to prevent or reverse brain damage after stroke, head trauma, diabetic coma, and other injuries.
*  Testing potential new treatments for spinal cord injury.
*  Investigating ways to prevent amputation or long-term disability from lack of adequate blood flow following traumatic muscle injury.

All public programs will take place in the Auditorium on Floor 1 of Building 7 on the SFVAMC campus.

SFVAMC has the largest medical research program in the national VA system, with over 200 research scientists, all of whom are faculty members at UCSF.

UCSF is a leading university that consistently defines health care worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the life sciences, and providing complex patient care.


NOTE TO MEDIA:  For more information or to schedule an interview with a researcher, contact Steve Tokar at (415) 221-4810 x5202 or Gene Gibson at (415) 750-2250.