Consortium of Research

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Health Systems Research (HSR) service funds four COnsortia of REsearch: 1) Suicide Prevention, 2) Pain/Opioids, 3) Access, and 4) Virtual Care. The topic areas of the Pain/Opioid CORE are pain (especially nondrug interventions for chronic pain), opioid prescribing, and opioid use disorder.

The goal of the COREs is to support and accelerate collaborative research that will lead to measurable improvements in the care delivered to Veterans in each of these areas by:

  1. Developing a prioritized set of research goals informed by a review of current research, gaps in existing research, and the needs of the Veterans Health Administration, and
  2. Developing a collaborative network of researchers to achieve those goals.

COnsortia of REsearch (COREs):
Work to identify key research priorities and help fill knowledge gaps related to their topic area by:

  • Conducting reviews of past/current HSR research and operations-funded evaluation portfolios in the priority area, and of existing research roadmaps and operational priorities.
  • Identifying meaningful and impactful clinical or policy goals in their priority area(s) and developing plans for achieving them.
  • Serving as a source of information on clinical and administrative data as well as measures and metrics and related to their topic areas, and developing recommendations for common data elements.

Facilitate the development and execution of research and evaluation related to their topic area:

  • Identifying opportunities for randomized program evaluations of new program initiatives.
  • Promoting evidence-based practices or innovations that are ready for implementation.
  • Facilitating coordination and collaboration with VA partners and outside partners, including DoD, HHS, NIH, and private foundations.
  • Publicizing important new areas of research and cross-cutting issues.
  • Some CORES may sponsor RFAs on research in their priority area and support related evaluation efforts.

Coordinate and promote communication and collaboration with key program offices to identify data resources, data needs, and potential research priorities by serving as:

  • A connector between program offices and the research community (including disseminating research findings to program offices and communicating program office priorities to the research community).
  • A source for program offices to identify expertise. If an operational partner has funds and wants to support evaluation work, CORE leadership can help the operational partner identify appropriate researchers in the CORE’s research network for collaboration.
  • A means of reviewing the current state of practice and policy to identify priority questions that can be addressed through research and evaluation projects and identify funding mechanisms for addressing them, with input from partners.

Develop an inclusive network of researchers collaborating to further develop evidence in topic areas by:

  • Facilitating collaborative projects across COINS, non-COIN researchers, and other Centers (e.g., Centers of Excellence and MIRECCs) on priority areas.
  • Serving as a source for identifying collaborators/mentors within the research community.
  • Leveraging networks for sharing/disseminating information related to the priority topic area.
  • Disseminating the progress and findings of research in the designated priority areas through newsletters, briefs, Cyberseminars, and other mechanisms.

COREs do not:

  • Determine VA’s research or operational funding priorities (though HSR or partners may choose to be informed by CORE recommendations).
  • Act as gatekeepers to HSR or operational funding, or to program offices.
  • Write letters of support for IIRs/CDAs/grants.
  • Serve as consultants tasked with doing evaluation work for operational partners (though COREs may help facilitate the formation of partnerships with operations to complete this work, including the administration of funds for projects that reflect the evaluation needs of operational partners).

Text is reproduced from "What is a CORE?" (January 4, 2021) developed by the Access CORE with input from other HSR COREs.

Principal Investigators

Principal Investigators

Alicia Heapy photograph



William Becker photograph



Erin Krebs photograph

CORE Staff

CORE Staff

Tracy Sides PhD MPH


Photo of Malloree Argust


Agnes photo


Internal Leadership Committee

Internal Leadership Committee

Matthew Bair MD MPH


Lori A Bastian MD MPH


Diana Burgess PhD


Adam J Gordon MD MPH


Sarah L Krein PhD RN


Lewei (Allison) Lin, MD, MS




Stephanie L Taylor PhD

COREs build relationships to accelerate collaborative research




VA Health Systems Research (HSR) Consortia of Research (COREs) were established to support and accelerate collaborative research that will lead to measurable improvements in the care delivered to Veterans. Enabling researchers to connect, learn, and collaborate more easily with one another, and with partners is essential to our work. Learn more.



Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Program Offices

Other VA HSR Consortia of Research (COREs)

Visit the Pain/Opioid CORE webpage on the VA HSR website.

For more information about VA HSR COREs, visit the VA HSR website.