The Department of Veterans Affairs is launching the VA Center for Innovation (VACI), affirming its commitment to innovation and building on the success of the VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2).
"Ideas are the heart of innovation and VACI provides a dynamic ecosystem that lowers the barrier of entry for innovation within VA," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "The new Innovation Fellows Program, Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program, and Partnerships Program will bring proven innovators from government and the private sector into VA to focus on high-opportunity areas."
Launched in 2010, VAi2 established a portfolio of more than 120 innovation projects that help VA identify, test, and evaluate promising solutions that enhance the accessibility and quality of care and services delivered to Veterans. As a permanent part of the department, VACI, which will be the new name for VAi2, will continue to tap talent from government, industry, and the entrepreneurial community. Also, VACI will add several new programs that expand VA's capacity to embrace innovative ideas and address VA's most critical challenges.
VACI has launched a new web site, released its first annual report, and announced thirteen new awards from its industry innovation competition. These awards respond to needs identified by VA senior leadership and are focused on teleaudiology, prosthetic socket redesign, Blue Button, and automating the sterilization process for reusable medical instruments.
With the integration of VAi2 into the Center for Innovation, VA is taking a leadership role in making innovation a core competency and an ongoing practice in the second-largest federal agency. "By knitting together innovative talent and 21st century solutions into a vital ecosystem, we ensure that VA meets the evolving needs of current and future Veterans with energy and imagination," said Director of VACI Jonah Czerwinski.