Center of Excellence
Director: Martin P. Charns, DBA
Executive Summary for Fiscal Year 2009
During FY09, the Center for Organization, Leadership and Management Research (COLMR) has
successfully been reviewed and refunded as a Center of Excellence. This renewal reflects the Center’s
productivity, impact of its work, and future plans. COLMR's unique research focus is to investigate and apply
knowledge of innovative organization and management practices to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of
health care services for our nation’s veterans and the larger health care community. COLMR actively supports
other HSR&D activities and investigators at VA Boston, has collaborative projects with many other HSR&D
centers, and has close working relationships with several VISNs and VA Central Office groups.
As part of the strategic planning process for its renewal, COLMR has made small changes to its research foci.
COLMR’s three research foci are:
1) organization and management practices that result in higher quality of care,
2) organization and management practices that promote successful organizational change, especially
change to implement evidence-based clinical practices, and
3) organizational health and its effects on quality of care.
COLMR is a unique partnership of the VA Boston Healthcare System, the VHA Workforce Management and
Consulting Office, the National Center for Organization Development (NCOD), Boston University, and three
Veterans Integrated Service Networks:
• VA New England Healthcare System (VISN 1)
• VA Sunshine Healthcare Network (VISN 8)
• VA Midwest Healthcare Network (VISN 23)
The partners collaborate with COLMR investigators in conducting research to pursue COLMR’s goals and
have significant, positive impact on the VA healthcare system. The work of the partners in planning and
implementing research projects is coordinated through COLMR’s Collaborating Partners Council (CPC).
COLMR investigators continue to have significant local and national roles in VA through which they can
influence policy and practice. These include Dr. Charns’ role as co-chair of the Organizational Assessment
Subcommittee of the VHA Human Resource Committee; Drs. Charns’, Meterko’s, Mohr’s, and Ms. Nealon
Seibert’s roles in design, administration, and analysis of the annual VA all-employee survey; and Dr.
Meterko’s role in the VA Nursing Outcomes Database, an annual, national survey of all RNs in VA. These
surveys are both part of the regular practice in VHA, their results have been used to address performance
areas in many medical centers, and the databases have been used in several research projects.
Key accomplishments this year include a continuing increase in the number of funded projects for the Boston
CoE and commencement of two newly-funded IIRs and SDRs: IIR 07-188, “Health Care Use and Costs of
Veterans with Neurotrauma (PI Steve Pizer); and SDR 08-405, “TBI Evaluation Instruments and Processes for
Clinical Follow-up” (PI Henry Lew). In addition, three QUERI RRPs were begun: RRP 07-297, “PTSD/Substance
Abuse Treatment for OEF/OIF Veterans” (PI Lisa Najavits); RRP 08-253, “Addressing Tobacco Dependence
Through Organizational Change in CBOCs” (PI Tatyana Shteinlukht); and RRP 08-254, “Telephone Screening of
Community Veterans” (PI Lisa Najavits). We have also received funding notifications for three additional projects:
IIR 09-063, “An RCT of Telemedicine Interventions for OSA” (PI David Sparrow); DHI 09-086, “Validation of Modified
DRRI Scales in a National Sample of OEF/OIF Veterans” (PI Dawne Vogt); and PPO 09-293, “Adopting
Coordination of Care Measures to Assess Polytrauma Care” (PI Terri Pogoda).
COLMR staff continued to be productive in publications and presentations, with 32 publications in
peer-reviewed journals, two book chapters, and 40 peer-reviewed conference presentations.
We are also pleased to report that the Model of Organizational Transformation, developed by COLMR
investigators and published in Healthcare Management Review in October/December 2007 (VanDeusen
Lukas, et al), has been adopted by the VHA Office of Systems Redesign as the conceptual framework for
implementation of VISN and medical center organizational change. In addition we have been selected to
conduct the national evaluation of the Office of Systems Redesign “Implementation Capability Grant” program
involving approximately 90 VAMCs; this evaluation will use the Organizational Transformation Model as its
conceptual framework. The framework was also used by the Office of System redesign to formulate criteria
for selecting grantees for the program.