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VA Research Center in Albuquerque Receives Baldrige Award

Nation's Highest Honor for Innovation and Performance Excellence

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The White House and the U.S. Department of Commerce have announced that a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) research facility in Albuquerque, N.M., is the recipient of the 2009 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's highest award for organizational excellence.

"This prestigious recognition is a demonstration of VA's commitment to excellence and innovation in meeting Veterans' needs and the priority that this Department places on quality," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "It is through such dedication, ingenuity, and people-centered service that VA will provide exceptional service to our Nation's Veterans in the 21st century."

Receiving the 2009 Baldrige award was VA's Clinical Research Pharmacy Coordinating Center. This is only the second time that the award has gone to a federal agency.

The Baldrige award is America's highest honor for innovation and performance excellence, presented annually by the President to U.S. organizations judged outstanding in seven areas: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis, knowledge management; workforce focus; process management; and results.

As part of the VA Research and Development Program, the Center manages the devices and pharmaceuticals that are used in research trials conducted within the VA health care system. In the last three years, the Coordinating Center supported studies involving 90,000 patients per year across the country, ultimately benefitting millions of Veterans and other Americans. The center manufactures drugs, placebos and devices, distributing them throughout the VA system to various clinical trial sites.

"This award further distinguishes VA as a world-wide leader in research," said Dr. Joel Kupersmith, Chief Research and Development Officer. "VA research serves as the foundation to advancements in Veterans' health care, and the Cooperative Studies Program (CSP) has been a model for innovative research excellence. The Coordinating Center excels at assuring the highest level of research professionalism as well as the most diligent management of research studies. We are honored that the caliber of innovation, quality and performance excellence of the Coordinating Center has been recognized through this distinctive award."

Recent VA research trials supported by the Coordinating Center include the use of robotic arms to help stroke patients regain limb function, treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder, a comparative effectiveness research study of optimal medical therapy to angioplasty for coronary artery diseases, and effective approaches for diabetes management.

Other landmark CSP studies over the program's 37-year history include deep brain stimulation to treat advanced Parkinson's disease, findings that led to the now routine practice of taking aspirin to prevent heart attacks, establishing the effectiveness of the shingles vaccine, and revolutionary treatments for heart failure.

Congress established the Malcolm Baldrige award program in 1987 to recognize U.S. organizations for their achievements in quality and performance, and to raise awareness about the importance of quality and performance excellence as a competitive edge. The presentation of the Baldrige award will occur at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in 2010.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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