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Medical Research and Development

Advancing Medical Innovation for our Service Members through Research

The Research, Development, and Acquisition (RDA) is the core research program of the Department of Defense that was established in 2014 to enhance the related medical research and development programs of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).


Advance collaborative, innovative medical research and development to improve military community health and save lives on and off the battlefield.


Implement best practices to responsibly design, prioritize and integrate medical research, development and acquisition programs across the continuum of care. By fostering strategic partnerships and transitioning medical discoveries to deployable products, RDA will enhance the readiness and resilience of the military community. 

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Year in Review: Innovations aid warfighters, families

Blue light produced by smartphones and computer monitors interferes with the brain’s production of melatonin, the hormone that makes people sleepy. The Navy’s Bureau of Medicine is working on lens tinting to block blue light and enhance the sleep of service members. MHS announced this innovation among many others in 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Greg L. Davis)

MHS explores world-class solutions for beneficiaries

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Military Health System Electronic Health Record | MHS GENESIS | Warrior Care | Medical Research and Development | Sleep

Army-developed Zika vaccine induces strong immune response in early trials

A team of U.S. Army researchers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research are developing a Zika vaccine that has induced a strong immune response in early trials. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Jonathan Thompson, WRAIR)

A team of U.S. Army researchers at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research are developing a Zika vaccine

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Zika Virus | Medical Research and Development

Top Defense Health Agency R&D official visits NHRC

SAN DIEGO (Oct. 25, 2017) The Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) acting director for Research and Development, Sean Biggerstaff, left, is greeted by Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) commanding officer, Capt. Marshall Monteville, right, during a recent visit to the command. Biggerstaff is responsible for prioritizing and integrating DHA medical research, development, and acquisition programs across the Military Health System. His directorate also fosters strategic partnerships and transitions medical discoveries to deployable products to enhance the readiness of the military community. During the visit, Biggerstaff learned how NHRC’s mission aligns with DHA’s priorities to improve the health and readiness of U.S. warfighters. (U.S. Navy photo by Regena Kowitz/Released)

The Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) acting director for Research and Development, Sean Biggerstaff, got an in-depth look at the work being done at the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) to support warfighter health and readiness, Oct. 25.

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Medical Research and Development

Joint Pathology Center celebrates century of helping military docs confirm diagnoses

Pamela Baker (left), 88th Diagnostics and Therapeutic Squadron cytology technician, prepares the staining of a patient's tissue sample, while Maj. Luisa Watts (right), 88 DTS pathologist shows 1st Lt. Jeffrey Davey (center) her findings on a screen that connects to the microscope inside the operating room at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center, June 26, 2017. Watts examines the tissue sample under the microscope to make a diagnosis of the patient's condition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michelle Gigante)

The Joint Pathology Center is celebrating 100 years of a repository that helps health care providers get that second opinion on diagnoses

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Medical Research and Development

NHRC research studies link between injury and fitness

Graphic from NHRC Public Affairs

Dr. Karen Kelly, a physiologist with the Naval Health Research Center’s (NHRC), discussed her recent work examining the relationship between training requirements, fitness and musculoskeletal injuries, during a breakout session at the Military Health System Research Symposium (MHSRS) Aug. 30.

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Physical Activity | Medical Research and Development

From the classroom to the fight: Preparing for surgical care on the battlefield

Bringing expeditionary resuscitation and surgical teams directly to the battlefield reduces time and distance, increasing chances for survival. Made up of experienced surgeons, physicians, and nurses with specialties ranging from general surgery to emergency room care, the teams are equipped to provide crucial surgery procedures out in the field. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle Brasier)

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Health Readiness | Medical Research and Development

Knowledge translation: What is it, how will it help?

The Military Health System Research Symposium is Defense Department's premier scientific meeting.

Knowledge translation is a process to take medical research findings and put them into evidenced-based treatments in a more timely and useful way

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Medical Research and Development | Research and Innovation

Lab developed tests help keep military medicine on the leading edge of innovation

Air Force Staff Sgt. Mari Crespo, a medical laboratory technician, conducts tests on a blood bank unit at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, June 26, 2017. A program that allows lab developed tests for purchased care for TRICARE beneficiaries has been renewed. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland)

A program that allows coverage of lab developed tests for purchased care for TRICARE beneficiaries has been renewed.

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TRICARE Health Program | Medical Research and Development

One size no longer fits all: MHS’ approach to individualized medicine

Dr. Jonathan Woodson, former assistant secretary of Defense for Health Affairs and member of Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences Board of Regents, provided the opening remarks at the recent Precision Medicine Research Conference in Potomac, Maryland. (Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences photo)

Military Health System experts discussed the importance of individualized approach to prevention and treatment, and the need for MHS and Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences to pave the way

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Preventive Health | Medical Research and Development

Human trials begin for Army-developed Zika vaccine

The Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito – Aedes aegypti, shown here, and Aedes albopictus. The same mosquitoes spread dengue and chikungunya viruses. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on a person already infected with the virus. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to other people through bites. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention photo by James Gathany)

A Zika vaccine clinical trial began recently at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research officials announced

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Zika Virus | Immunization Healthcare | Medical Research and Development

Genome Center tracking and sequencing - making a difference in health care

Nathan Watt, a research associate at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, closely monitors data on a next-generation sequencer in The American Genome Center at the university. This sequencing helps pinpoint genetic mutations that could serve as biomarkers, which can better predict disease risks and outcomes. TAGC is one of four academic genome centers in the U.S. and the only genome center in the federal system.  (DoD photo by Sarah Marshall)

The American Genome Center at USU aims to study large populations by quickly sequencing thousands of genomes

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A decade of progress in Women’s health, cancer research

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Denise Thigpen, director, Breast Imaging Center at the Murtha Cancer Center at Walter Reed Bethesda, reads two mammograms of a patient. (Courtesy photo)

New discoveries at the Murtha Cancer Center have researchers encouraged about Women’s cancer research

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Women's Health | Medical Research and Development | Patient Safety

Office of Naval Research developing new ways to protect injured limbs

Office of Naval Research Logo

The Office of Naval Research is sponsoring work to develop a breakthrough medical wrap, that will not only cover injured limbs, but also mitigate damage and protect tissue for up to three days

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Research and Innovation | Medical Research and Development

Precision medicine offers individualized health care instead of “one-size-fits-all”

Dr. Mark Haigney discusses his views on precision medicine to researchers at the MHS Research Symposium on Aug. 17, 2016.

Precision medicine is an innovative approach that may revolutionize the way we improve health and treat diseases.

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Medical Research and Development | DoD/VA Sharing Initiatives

TBI milestone: Research program enrolls 15,000 participants

DVBIC researchers have collected long-term TBI recovery and outcomes information on veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs TBIMS program since 2008. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Miguel Lara III)

The database collects standardized recovery and outcomes data on patients with TBIs serious enough to require hospitalization

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Traumatic Brain Injury | Medical Research and Development
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