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The VA Puget Sound Health Care System held a grand opening ceremony for its new Mental Health & Research Building on Friday, March 15. The light-filled building was 10 years in the making and cost $121.6 million. It is located on the VA Puget Sound’s Beacon Hill campus.

VA Puget Sound has been affiliated with the UW School of Medicine since 1946 when the first class of students entered the medical school and the national VA began forming affiliations with academic medical centers to provide veterans with the highest quality of medical care. Today, VA Puget Sound continues to be a vital partner in UW Medicine’s teaching and research programs, and all VA clinicians in Seattle have UW faculty appointments.

The opening ceremony featured remarks by local and national VA leaders, U.S. Congresswoman Suzan DelBene and a representative for U.S. Senator Patty Murray. It also highlighted VA Puget Sound’s use of 3D printing and virtual reality to advance patient care. UW Medicine leaders in attendance included Dr. Paul Ramsey, UW Medicine CEO; Dr. Jurgen Unutzer, chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Dr. Richard Veith, professor and former chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; and Dr. William Bremner, professor and former chair of the Department of Medicine.


Scenes from VA Puget Sound Opening Ceremony

VA Puget Sound provides physical and mental healthcare to more than 110,000 veterans. Patients have access to seven nationally recognized Centers of Excellence and research in a broad range of clinical areas, including traumatic brain injury and multiple blast exposures; memory improvement and Alzheimer’s disease; post-traumatic stress disorder and deployment health; Parkinson’s disease; diabetes; cancer; substance abuse; lower limb prosthetics; and genomics. 

With over 650 active research projects, VA Puget Sound also has the fifth largest research program in the national VA system. Last year, two UW School of Medicine faculty members were recognized with the VA’s highest national research awards:

  • Dr. William Banks, associate chief of staff for research and development at VA Puget Sound and UW School of Medicine professor in the Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, won the William S. Middleton Award for his groundbreaking work in the field of neuroimmunology.

  • Dr. Elaine Peskind, co-director, VA Northwest Network Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center and UW School of Medicine professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, won the Paul B. Magnuson Award for rehabilitation research and development focused on conditions that affect the brain, including Alzheimer’s disease, PTSD related to combat injuries and mild traumatic brain injury.

The new Mental Health & Research Building will contribute to VA Puget Sound’s history of transforming healthcare for veterans. It will provide expanded space for many outpatient mental health services in a welcoming and healing environment with sweeping views of Seattle and the Olympic Mountains. By consolidating many research programs in a central location, it also will enhance collaboration and synergies to assure that veterans have access to the latest therapies and diagnostic techniques.


View of Seattle


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