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One Mission, One Goal: Veterans Health


We are a scientific community of clinicians and researchers and we partner with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVAHCS) to bring the power of modern medicine to the health of our nation’s Veterans.


Research News

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Study Finds Significant COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Decline Amongst US Veterans


In the first study of its kind of more than 780,000 US Veterans, NCIRE-supported Investigator, Arthur Wallace, MD, and cohorts found that protection against any COVID-19 infection declined for all vaccine types, with overall vaccine protection declining from 87.9% in February to 48.1% by October 2021. The novel study was co-published in Science Magazine.


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Investigating the Gene-Environment Interactions Related to Parkinson’s Disease Susceptibility


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease that progresses over time as small clusters of dopamine‐producing brain cells deteriorate, causing motor issues such as tremors, loss of coordination, and difficulty speaking. The Parkinson’s Foundation states that approximately one million Americans currently living with PD. Although the exact cause of disease onset is unknown, it is thought that a combination of genetic and environmental factors, as well as the interaction between them, are contributors. Through a Neurotoxin Exposure Treatment Parkinson’s Program (NETP) Fiscal Year 2019 Investigator‐Initiated Research Award, NCIRE-supported Investigators, Drs. Samuel Goldman and Raymond Swanson, aim to uncover the link between genetic and environmental factors that may contribute to the risk for PD.



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Dr. Bruce Ovbiagele elected to the National Academy of Medicine


NCIRE-supported scientist and Board Member Dr. Bruce Ovbiagele has been elected as a new member of the prestigious National Academy of Medicine, as announced at its annual meeting held on October 18, 2021.

“I am, and have always been, committed to discovering new and innovative ways to ensure that health and wellness are not dependent on one’s race, ethnicity, geographic, or socioeconomic status,” said Dr. Ovbiagele. “This recognition by the National Academy of Medicine is a tremendous privilege and a meaningful validation of the efforts of my team to address health disparities here and abroad.”

New members are elected by current members of the Academy through a rigorous selection process that considers only the most exceptional individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care, and public health.


Dr. Ovbiagele was selected for his research focusing on the health of vulnerable populations (racial and ethnic minorities, the uninsured, rural dwellers, and military veterans) in the United States and Africa.


NCIRE congratulates Dr. Ovbiagele on his election to the National Academy of Medicine! We are proud and appreciative of his vital and ground-breaking work on behalf of often-overlooked and underserved communities both here and abroad.




Dr. Kenneth E. Covinsky co-publishes in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 


Alzheimer's disease and other dementias are progressive and terminal conditions that create immeasurable suffering for those it afflicts and their loved ones. Though the FDA recently approved aducanumab (Aduhelm, Biogen) for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, its less-than-desirable clinical effectiveness and high price tag ($50,000 annual cost to patients) is causing much concern in the research community. NCIRE-supported scientist Dr. Kenneth E. Covinsky co-published an article with Drs. Lauren Hunt and Krista Harrison in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society entitled “Instead of Wasting Money on Aducanumab, Pay for Programs Proven to Help People Living with Dementia”.



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Dr. Louise Walter co-publishes study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 


Maintenance of function during cancer treatment is important to older adults; yet little was known about the characteristics associated with pretreatment life-space mobility and changes during non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treatment. NCIRE-supported scientist and Board Member Dr. Louise Walter, with colleagues Drs. Melisa Wong and Alex Smith, conducted a mixed methods cohort study of adults 65 and older with advanced NSCLC over the course of six months to examine patient experience of life-space change during treatment.

Their published study can be found in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.




Glycoprotein associated with cardiac valve damage in animal models of infective endocarditis


Some oral bacteria colonize on tooth surfaces, but they can seep into the bloodstream and settle inside the heart’s chambers and valves. They may even cause infective endocarditis (IE), which can lead to stroke and heart failure. In a study in the journal Glycobiology, SFVAHCS researcher Dr. Barbara Bensing identifies a group of proteins, expressed by oral bacteria, and how they help the organisms bind and colonize on cardiac valve surfaces.


She found significantly higher levels of a particular glycoprotein, lubricin, in laboratory animals with damaged or infected valves, as compared to healthy animals. Presence of this protein could serve as a biomarker for endocardial injury or infection, suggests the study.


Dr. Bensing, was formerly a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of NCIRE-supported scientist Paul Sullam, MD, who was a co-author of the study.



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NCIRE Mentorships Result in Grant Awards


NCIRE-supported scientist and Board Member, Dr. Kristine Yaffe, was named among a team of mentors who worked with Dr. Alexandra Lee to receive the K01 Award to investigate "Contributions of Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia to Adverse Geriatric Outcomes in NH Residents with Diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD)".

NCIRE-supported scientist Dr. Mike Steinman also participated on a mentorship team for Dr. Anna Park, who received the GEMSSTAR NIA R03 Award to investigate “Development and preliminary validation of a bleeding quality of life patient reported outcome measure for older adults”.


NCIRE congratulates your endeavors!




SFVAHCS research would not be possible without the dedication and commitment of the volunteers who participate in our studies.


Imagine working in an environment where cutting-edge research to advance human health is the norm. 


We ask you to support Veterans health research and join a community dedicated to returning health to those returning home