(1) In order to carry out more effectively the primary function of the Administration and in order to contribute to the Nation's knowledge about disease and disability, the Secretary shall carry out a program of medical research in connection with the provision of medical care and treatment to veterans. Funds appropriated to carry out this section shall remain available until expended.

(2) Such program of medical research shall include biomedical research, mental illness research, prosthetic and other rehabilitative research, and health-care-services research.

(3) Such program shall stress—

(A) research into spinal-cord injuries and other diseases that lead to paralysis of the lower extremities; and

(B) research into injuries and illnesses particularly related to service.

(4) In carrying out such research program, the Secretary shall act in cooperation with the entities described in section 7302(d) of this title.

(b) Prosthetic research shall include research and testing in the field of prosthetic, orthotic, and orthopedic appliances and sensory devices. In order that the unique investigative material and research data in the possession of the Government may result in the improvement of such appliances and devices for all disabled persons, the Secretary (through the Under Secretary for Health) shall make the results of such research available to any person, and shall consult and cooperate with the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Education, in connection with programs carried out under section 204(b)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (relating to the establishment and support of Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers).


(1) In conducting or supporting clinical research, the Secretary shall ensure that, whenever possible and appropriate—

(A) women who are veterans are included as subjects in each project of such research; and

(B) members of minority groups who are veterans are included as subjects of such research.

(2) In the case of a project of clinical research in which women or members of minority groups will under paragraph (1) be included as subjects of the research, the Secretary shall ensure that the project is designed and carried out so as to provide for a valid analysis of whether the variables being tested in the research affect women or members of minority groups, as the case may be, differently than other persons who are subjects of the research.


(1) The Secretary, in carrying out the Secretary's responsibilities under this section, shall foster and encourage the initiation and expansion of research relating to the health of veterans who are women.

(2) In carrying out this subsection, the Secretary shall consult with the following to assist the Secretary in setting research priorities:

(A) Officials of the Department assigned responsibility for women's health programs and sexual trauma services.

(B) The members of the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans.

(C) Members of appropriate task forces and working groups within the Department (including the Women Veterans Working Group and the Task Force on Treatment of Women Who Suffer Sexual Abuse).

References in Text

Section 204(b)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, referred to in subsec. (b), is classified to section 764(b)(3) of Title 29, Labor.


2003—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 108–170 struck out subsec. (e) which read as follows: "Amounts for the activities of the field offices of the Office of Research Compliance and Assurance of the Department shall be derived from amounts appropriated for the Veterans Health Administration for Medical Care (rather than from amounts appropriated for the Veterans Health Administration for Medical and Prosthetic Research)."

2002—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 107–135 added subsec. (e).

1998—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 105–220 substituted "section 204(b)(3) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973" for "section 204(b)(2) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 762(b)(2))".

1994—Pub. L. 103–452 transferred text of subsec. (c) to the end of subsec. (a)(1), struck out subsec. (c) designation, and added new subsecs. (c) and (d).

1992—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 102–405 substituted "Under Secretary for Health" for "Chief Medical Director".

Use by Department of Veterans Affairs of Commercial Institutional Review Boards in Sponsored Research Trials

Pub. L. 116–171, title VII, §704, Oct. 17, 2020, 134 Stat. 829, provided that:

"(a) In General.—Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 17, 2020], the Secretary of Veterans Affairs shall complete all necessary policy revisions within the directive of the Veterans Health Administration numbered 1200.05 and titled 'Requirements for the Protection of Human Subjects in Research', to allow sponsored clinical research of the Department of Veterans Affairs to use accredited commercial institutional review boards to review research proposal protocols of the Department.

"(b) Identification of Review Boards.—Not later than 90 days after the completion of the policy revisions under subsection (a), the Secretary shall—

"(1) identify accredited commercial institutional review boards for use in connection with sponsored clinical research of the Department; and

"(2) establish a process to modify existing approvals in the event that a commercial institutional review board loses its accreditation during an ongoing clinical trial.

"(c) Report.—

"(1) In general.—Not later than 90 days after the completion of the policy revisions under subsection (a), and annually thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the Senate and the Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives a report on all approvals of institutional review boards used by the Department, including central institutional review boards and commercial institutional review boards.

"(2) Elements.—The report required by paragraph (1) shall include, at a minimum, the following:

"(A) The name of each clinical trial with respect to which the use of an institutional review board has been approved.

"(B) The institutional review board or institutional review boards used in the approval process for each clinical trial.

"(C) The amount of time between submission and approval."

Applicability to Fiscal Year 2002

Pub. L. 107–135, title II, §205(b), Jan. 23, 2002, 115 Stat. 2460, related to transfer of appropriations for fiscal year 2002 to carry out subsec. (e) of this section for that fiscal year.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Research

Pub. L. 102–405, title I, §122(a), Oct. 9, 1992, 106 Stat. 1981, provided that: "In carrying out research and awarding grants under chapter 73 of title 38, United States Code, the Secretary shall assign a high priority to the conduct of research on mental illness, including research regarding (1) post-traumatic stress disorder, (2) post-traumatic stress disorder in association with substance abuse, and (3) the treatment of those disorders."

Research Relating to Women Veterans' Health

Pub. L. 102–585, title I, §109, Nov. 4, 1992, 106 Stat. 4948, provided for initiation and expansion of research relating to health of women veterans and authorization of appropriations for fiscal years 1993 through 1995 to carry out such studies, prior to repeal by Pub. L. 103–452, title I, §102(b)(2), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4786.

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