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Types of Excellence Programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs

Within the expansive Veterans Health Administration (VHA) of the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), there are two types of Excellence Programs to propel an even higher level of care for the most common Veteran health issues: Centers of Excellence (COEs) and Systems of Excellence (SOEs).

COEs are smaller and typically led by a single VA medical center or a limited number of VA medical centers spread through different regions of the United States depending on the prevalence of a condition or disease state within the VA patient population. This local or regional-level approach allows COEs to service as a resource to other VA medical facilities. Examples of COEs include:

  • VA Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans at the Doris Miller VA Medical Center in Waco, Texas.

  • VA Center of Excellence for the Study of Parkinson's Disease with national coordination at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center and associated six regional sites.

  • Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (GRECCs) are located at 20 VA Medical Centers.

SOEs are comprehensive networks operating at the enterprise-wide level These large-scale programs are intentionally designed to coordinate care across multiple VA medical facilities within the VHA. Currently, the National Oncology Program primarily utilizes SOEs. Examples include:

  • Precision Oncology Program for Cancer of the Prostate (POPCaP)

  • Lung Precision Oncology Program (LPOP)

  • Breast and Gynecologic Cancer System of Excellence

Both types of Excellence Programs facilitate collaboration among VA healthcare professionals as well as promote and conduct research in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment within the VA system. By providing the latest training and education, the level of care within the entire VHA system is lifted to provide Veterans with only the best evidence-based practices.


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