Promoting research partnerships 

to improve veterans’ health

NAVREF Announces Annual Awardees

21 Sep 2017 12:43 PM | Hawk Tran (Administrator)

Non Profit Association Honors Excellence

Washington, D.C. - The National Association of Veterans’ Research and Education Foundations (NAVREF) held its third annual awards event on September 11th, honoring NAVREF members and staff nominated by their peers for demonstrating excellence in support of research and education for veterans. The awards luncheon was hosted by NAVREF CEO Rick Starrs at The Linq Hotel on the Strip in Las Vegas in conjunction with NAVREF’s 25th Anniversary Conference.

The 2017 winners included Ms. Priscilla West of the Veterans Research and Education Association of Norther New England (VERANNE), who was awarded NAVREF’s prestigious Barbara West Award. As a special treat, the award’s namesake, Ms. Barbra West, was on hand to present the award.  Other awardees included Ms. Alanna Caffas, Executive Director of the Veterans Research and Education Foundation of Pittsburgh and Mr. Hawk Tran, NAVREF Operations Officer.

Ms. P. West was recognized for her outstanding service and dedication to her nonprofit corporation (NPC) and NAVREF, serving on the NAVREF Board of Directors for X years and as the Board Chairperson for the last two years. Under her direction, VERANNE has been a leader for growing a NPC education program and has obtained funding for high quality, important educational activities for Veterans. In addition, VERANNE’s projects have received press attention and helped to raise awareness of the work of her NPC.  As Chairperson of the NAVREF Board, one of her first duties was to identify new staff leadership. Once the new CEO was in place, Ms. West moved forward the vision of expanding access to clinical trials for Veterans through the NPCs. 

Ms. Alanna Caffas took home the NAVREF Board of Directors Award for a wide variety of contributions to her local nonprofit corporation and the NAVREF community.  She established a centralized clinical trials center (CTC) which has become a model for the rest of the country and has provided many Veterans with additional research related treatments and interventions to which they would not otherwise have had sufficient access.  She developed a clinical trials management system adopted by NAVREF and other NPCs as a best practice.  Ms. Caffas participated as an active and integral member of advisory work groups and served as co-chair of the conference program committee for NAVREF’s 25th annual conference.  In all these endeavors, Ms. Caffas demonstrated integrity, commitment, excellence, and selfless service to others.

Mr. Hawk Tran was awarded the Best Practice and Innovation Award for consistently offering contemporary solutions to address the needs of NAVREF members.  Mr. Tran has been at the forefront of improving NAVREF’s communication with and among the members and the public.  In the past year alone he introduced new survey and polling tools, established a webinar series, organized countless virtual meetings, and most significantly, overhauled the NAVREF website to be more responsive to member needs.  His innovative web development strategy cut costs by more than 50%. 

NAVREF congratulates each of the award winners for their hard work and dedication supporting the VA research and education missions, and we wish them future success in all their endeavors.


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