Veterans Affairs Opens Research Center in Providence

Veterans Affairs Opens Research Center in Providence

There's a new research center that's going to improve veteran care in Providence.

The VA Providence Healthcare System recently inaugurated the Capt. John H. Harwood Research Center.

So its research service in Providence could use the former Harwood U.S. Army Reserve Center. It opened in 1950, closed in 2006, and was transferred to the Veterans Administration in 2012. I heard the VA spent $12.8 million renovating and extending the space.

VA officials noted that the research aims to ensure better care for veterans who may be ill or disabled due to age, disease, or disability. Virginia Department of Veterans Affairs director Lawrence Connell said they're doing "groundbreaking medical research" thanks to their partnership with Brown University.

Research efforts in Providence are focused on developing new interventions to reduce veteran suicide and substance abuse after hospitalization, as well as methods to reduce depression among elderly veterans living in community living centers. Also, they're looking at food insecurity risk factors, assessing for Alzheimer's and dementia among homeless veterans, and seeing how COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters do for veterans.

VA officials, state and local officials, and members of Congress attended the opening. The United States Sen. Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island and a war veteran, said the new facility will help identify more effective health solutions and improve the health of veterans and their families.

We're continuously working to improve VA access and services to veterans, and this new hospital is an essential piece of that," he says in a statement.

Groundbreaking took place in November 2019. We added 7,200 square feet of workspace, renovated nearly 23,000 square feet of existing space, plus made several improvements to the site. The facility will be home to more than 100 VA employees.

It's named for a Rhode Island man who died in action on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, during the Second World War. Charles Harwood was 25 years old at the time.