The South Central Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (SC MIRECC) (Mark E. Kunik, MD, MPH, Director), is a VA-funded multisite, regional center with a mission to promote equity in engagement, access, and quality of mental health care for Veterans facing barriers to care, especially rural Veterans. SC MIRECC’s goals and objectives are intended to realize this mission and address the three primary underpinnings of all MIRECCs: mental health care research, education and training of mental health care professionals, and dissemination of findings and best practices. The SC MIRECC research pipeline includes observation, intervention, and implementation studies. Content areas for research include implementation of evidence-based treatments, exploration of rural populations’ access to treatment, telemental health and technology, combat and disaster-related trauma, and family/caregiver education and support.
Characteristics that make the SC MIRECC unique include the high mental and physical health burden reported by Veterans in the region, its largely rural geographic area, and the relative dearth of highly active research centers as compared to MIRECCs in other areas of the country. The SC MIRECC encompasses four states (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas) and has three anchor sites at VA Medical Centers in Houston, Little Rock, and New Orleans. SC MIRECC is affiliated with five medical schools: Baylor College of Medicine (Houston), University of Mississippi Medical Center (Jackson), University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (Little Rock), Tulane University School of Medicine (New Orleans), and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (Shreveport). Mental health services research is a strength and focus of SC MIRECC, which works closely with its regional VA Mental Health Product Line (MHPL) to improve the quality of mental health care delivered at associated VA medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics serving rural Veterans. The SC MIRECC offers advanced fellowships in mental illness research and treatment at its anchor sites in Houston and Little Rock.
For more information about the SC MIRECC, visit http://www.mirecc.va.gov/VISN16/index.asp.