United States Department of Veterans Affairs
Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care

Investigators

Acting Director                                                                                           

 


David H. Au, MD, MS
I am a pulmonary and critical care physician and have had a long interest in improving delivery of care to patients with COPD and lung cancer.   I have particular interest in improving delivery of care in the outpatient setting and in the primary care environment.  I am a founding member of the CONCERT-CER network, serve on the steering committee and have led efforts at developing national CER priorities for COPD.  I currently chair the NCQA respiratory measurement assessment panel and am a member of a CMS working group developing performance measures for COPD.  I have experience at conducting multisite intervention trials in primary care settings and significant experience with the acquisition and use of data from VA national data sources.  I co-Direct the Office of Specialty Care Transformation Evaluation Center as well as lead the pulmonary Specialty Care Access Network, Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes for VISN20.

Center Investigators   

 


Lauren A. Beste, MD, MSc
Dr. Beste is an affiliate investigator with HSR&D. Her research surrounds improving quality of care for chronic liver disease, particularly viral hepatitis, with emphasis on the role of primary care providers. She is the Director of the Liver Disease Database, a national VA database dedicated to the study of liver diseases in Veterans. She is the Liver Team Leader for the VISN20 the Specialty Care Access Network- Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (SCAN-ECHO) telemedicine program which extends liver specialty care to remote areas of VISN20. Dr. Beste practices medicine in the Primary Care Clinic and Hepatology Clinic at the Seattle VA. She is a Clinical Instructor, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, at the University of Washington. She received her MD from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and her MS in Health Services at the University of Washington. She is a 2009 graduate of the HSR&D Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Primary Care.

Katharine A. Bradley, MD 
Dr. Bradley is an Investigator at Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) and Research Associate at VA Puget Sound HSR&D, whose research focuses on addressing alcohol misuse in medical settings.  After 17 years as a VA staff physician and NW HSR&D COE Core investigator she moved to GHRI  in 2011 to broaden the impact of her research.  She is currently conducting two NIAAA-funded studies in VA: the CHOICE trial of a collaborative care intervention for management of primary care pateints with severe alcohol misuse, and a study of quality indicators for alcohol screening and brief alcohol interventions.  She is also supported by the VA Puget Sound Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education (CESATE) for continued mentoring of VA investigators and participation on the Executive Committee of the Substance use Disorders QUERI.

Christopher L. Bryson, MD, MS
Dr. Bryson is a core investigator in HSR&D, Director of the Ischemic Heart Disease Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (IHD QUERI) research coordinating center in Seattle, and past VA HSR&D Career Development Awardee. He is also an Assistant Professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services, School of Public Health, at the University of Washington. Dr. Bryson is the Medical Director of COAP (Clinical Outcomes Assessment Program), a non-profit responsible for improving quality of care for cardiovascular procedures (PCI and CABG) in Washington State. Along with Dr. Young, Dr. Bryson co-directs the VA HSR&D MD Postdoctoral Fellowship Program which provides advanced training in health services research to physicians who have completed residency. He is also the Principal Investigator for the NRSA Primary Care Research Fellowship training grant at the University of Washington and serves as the fellowship program director.

Dr. Bryson’s research interests include pharmacoepidemiology, quality improvement and quality of care for cardiovascular disease, including hypertension treatment and cardiovascular event risk reduction. He received his MD from the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School at Dallas and an MS from the School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology at the University of Washington.

Jason A. Dominitz, MD, MHS
Dr. Dominitz is an investigator in HSR&D, the National Director of the Gastroenterology Program in Patient Care Services for the Veterans Health Administration and the Acting Gastroenterology Section Chief at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. He is also a Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, at the University of Washington.  Dr. Dominitz co-chairs VA Cooperative Study #577: Colonoscopy vs. Fecal Immunochemical Test in Reducing Mortality from Colorectal Cancer (CONFIRM).  His research interests include colorectal cancer screening, quality improvement and quality of care for gastrointestinal and liver diseases. Dr. Dominitz received his BA from Johns Hopkins University, his MD from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and his MHS from Duke University School of Medicine. He is also a graduate of the Durham VA’s HSR&D Fellowship Program.

Vincent S. Fan, MD, MPH 
Dr. Fan is a core investigator in HSR&D and Associated Professor, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Department of Medicine at the University of Washington.   Dr. Fan is also a past VA HSR&D Career Development Awardee.  His research interests include behavioral interventions to improve chronic management of chronic illnesses as well as health services research to improve the quality of care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  His research also focuses on the affect of psychological symptoms on management of chronic illness.  Dr. Fan received his MD form the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis Minnesota and his MPH from the School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology at the University of Washington.

 

Laura C. Feemster, MD 
Dr. Feemster is a VA post-doctoral fellow and Acting Instructor, Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at the University of Washington. Her research interests include studying the effect of patient health behaviors (e.g. smoking, alcohol use, and obesity) on clinical outcomes among patients with lung disease  and improving the quality of care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Dr. Feemster received her MD from the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School at Dallas.  She received an MS from the University of Washington, School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology.

 

Paul L. Hebert, PhD
Dr. Hebert is a core investigator and economist in HSR&D and was previously Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine.  His research interests include racial disparities in health, chronic disease management, and comparative effectiveness analysis. He received his PhD in Health Services Research from the University of Minnesota and a BA in economics from Georgetown University.

 

Christian D. Helfrich, PhD, MPH 
Dr. Helfrich is a core investigator in HSR&D, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Health Services at the University of Washington School of Public Health, and Implementation Research Coordinator for the VA Ischemic Heart Disease Quality Enhancement Research Initiative, a collaboration between VA Health Services Research and Clinical Operations to speed the adoption and implementation of evidence-based practices for priority conditions among Veterans. Dr. Helfrich is also Chair of the Organizational Function Working Group, a part of the VA Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) Demonstration Laboratory Coordinating Center, which is tasked with evaluating the implementation of a patient-centered medical home model in VA. His primary research interests are organizational change and implementation science, specifically on assessing organizational readiness to change in the context of evidence-based practices, and factors influencing implementation of large scale initiatives. Dr. Helfrich received his PhD in Health Policy and Management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his MPH from the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington School of Public Health.

 

Katherine D. Hoerster, PhD, MPH 
Dr. Hoerster is Acting Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington, and a staff psychologist in the VA Puget Sound-Seattle PTSD Outpatient Clinic.  Dr. Hoerster’s research focuses on the influence of socio-cultural and environmental factors on health and health behavior, particularly in the context of psychiatric illness. She is currently Principal Investigator for a study on the role of social and neighborhood factors in prevention and management of chronic disease among Veterans with and without PTSD.  Other work focuses on using VA and public databases to identify disparities in health and access to care.  Dr. Hoerster received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program.  She received her Master’s degree in Public Health (Health Promotion) from San Diego State University.


George N. Ioannou, MD, MS
Dr. Ioannou is an investigator in HSR&D, Director of Hepatology at VA Puget Sound health Care System and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington. His research interests include the epidemiology of chronic liver disease, optimizing outcomes in liver transplantation and antiviral treatment for hepatitis C virus. He received his MD from Oxford University and his MS from the School of Public health, Division of Epidemiology at the University of Washington.

 

Alyson J. Littman, PhD
Dr. Littman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington. Her research focuses on physical activity and obesity. She is the PI of a 5-year Rehabilitation Research & Development Career Development Award to investigate weight trajectories after lower limb loss and correlates of obesity, physical activity, and healthy diet in persons with lower limb loss and to conduct a pilot randomized controlled trial of a physical activity/weight loss intervention in this population. She has conducted numerous studies to assess physical activity, obesity, and involvement in weight management programs in military/veteran and general population samples.

 

Chuan-Fen Liu, PhD, MPH 
Dr. Liu is a core investigator in HSR&D and Research Associate Professor in Department of Health Services at the University of Washington. Dr. Liu has done extensive work in evaluation of VA health care delivery system, including effect of improving depression treatment in primary care, cost evaluation of community-based outpatient clinics, impact of increase in prescription copayment on health and cost outcomes, and dual use of outpatient care in VA and Medicare among VA primary care patients.  Currently, she is examining organizational factors and costs associated with hospital readmissions for heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases as well as assessing economic impacts for the PACT national evaluation. Dr. Liu received her PhD in Health Services Research from University of Minnesota.

 

Charles Maynard, PhD, MSW
Dr. Maynard is the Center's Acting Associate Director, core investigator in HSR&D, and Research Professor Emeritus in the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington.  He is also affiliated with the Seattle Epidemiologic Research and Information Center and the Ischemic Heart Disease Quality Enhancement Research Initiative.  His research interests include cardiovascular data analysis and VA administrative databases. He received his PhD in Sociology and MSW from the University of Washington.

 

Karin M. Nelson, MD, MSHS 
Dr. Nelson is a core investigator in HSR&D, Associate Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, at the University of Washington and an affiliate investigator at Public Health-Seattle and King County.  Dr. Nelson is also the associate director of the VHA patient centered medical home (PACT, Patient Aligned Care Team) national evaluation.  Her research interests include the social determinants of health, community based research and chronic disease self-management.  Dr. Nelson received her MD from the University of Minnesota and an MSHS from the School of Public Health at UCLA.

 

Ann M. O’Hare, MD
Dr. O’Hare is a nephrologist and health services researcher who is a staff physician at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington, and Affiliate Investigator at Group Health Research Institute.  Her major clinical and research interest is in the care of older adults with chronic kidney disease.  She is a former recipient of a VA HSR&D career development award and a Beeson Career Development Award from the NIA.  She currently serves as a PI on a VA IIR focused on advance care planning for elderly Veterans with advanced kidney disease and a CDC inter-agency agreement focused on studying the natural history of chronic kidney disease in Veterans.  She also serves as a co-investigator on Dr. Hebert’s VAIIR on Outcomes, Trends and Costs of Chronic Dialysis in the VA, and on an NIA U01 focused on dementia in community dwelling older adults. She serves as chair of the American Society of Nephrology’s (ASN) Geriatric Nephrology Advisory Group and a course director for the annual ASN course in Geriatric Nephrology.  She currently serves on several steering committees including the external advisory panel for the ongoing NIH Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort study, the Mid-Atlantic Renal Coalition’s Kidney End-of-Life Coalition, and the VA oversight committee for the University of Michigan contract to build an national registry for kidney disease within the VA. 

 

Sheri D. Reder, PhD, MSPH 
Dr. Reder has been working in the field of health communications for the past two decades. Her research focus at VA is long term care (LTC), primarily for older Veterans. Dr. Reder’s research established lack of comprehensive information about LTC, particularly home and community based services, as well as the lack of decision aids and a clinical procedure for facilitating collaborative LTC decisions. Over the past five years, she has led the development of, and is now promoting, a national online Guide to LTC that contains information and a shared decision making (SDM) approach to LTC. This SDM approach is currently being piloted in VISNs 1 and 20.

 

Gayle E. Reiber, PhD, MPH 
Dr. Reiber is a core investigator and VA Senior Research Career Scientist in HSR&D. She directs the Health Services Postdoctoral PhD Training Program. She is also a core investigator on the RR&D-funded Center of Excellence for Limb Loss, Prevention and Prosthetics Engineering.  She is a Professor in the Departments of Health Services and Epidemiology at the University of Washington with research interests including diabetes mellitus, tele-medicine, lower limb wound care and prevention of lower limb amputation.  Dr. Reiber received her PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Washington and MPH from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.


Lynn F. Reinke, PhD, ARNP
Dr. Reinke is an affiliate investigator in HSR&D and Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing & Health Systems at the University of Washington.  Her research interests include end-of-life communication for patients with life-limiting illnesses and testing palliative care interventions for patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer.  Dr. Reinke received a PhD in Nursing from the University of Washington and a Master’s degree in Pulmonary Nursing from the University of Pittsburgh.

 

Andrew J. Saxon, MD
Preceding his entry into psychiatry, Dr. Saxon completed an internal medicine internship and worked for 4 years as an emergency room physician.  Subsequent to his general psychiatry residency at the University of Washington, Dr. Saxon has more than a quarter century of experience as a clinical and research addiction psychiatrist.  Dr. Saxon is board certified with added qualifications in addiction psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.  Dr. Saxon sits on the editorial boards of the journals, Drug and Alcohol Dependence and General Hospital Psychiatry.

 

Dr. Saxon’s current research work is supported by the VA, the Department of Defense, the  National Institute on Drug Abuse, and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and involves pharmacotherapies and psychotherapies for alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, and opioid dependence as well work in co-occurrence of substance dependence and posttraumatic stress disorder and on reducing homelessness.

 

Emily C. Williams, PhD, MPH  

Dr. Williams is a core investigator in HSR&D and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington.  Dr. Williams’s research interests include prevention and management of unhealthy alcohol use in medical care settings, implementation of evidence-based practices into routine care, mechanisms of behavior change, and disparities in health and healthcare.  Dr. Williams has specific expertise in implementation of screening and brief intervention for unhealthy alcohol use in primary care settings, and her work has included epidemiologic evaluations of alcohol screening questionnaires; descriptions of, and outcomes associated with, patient readiness to change drinking; evaluations of racial, gender, and geographic disparities in the correlates and management of unhealthy alcohol use in the VA; and mixed-methods evaluations of the VA’s implementation of alcohol screening and brief intervention—an accomplishment for which the VA is recognized as an international leader.  Dr. Williams serves as an Associate Editor for Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, which publishes clinically relevant research and perspectives that contribute to improving the quality of care for people with unhealthy alcohol, tobacco, or other drug use and addictive behaviours across a spectrum of clinical settings.  Dr. Williams also teaches an annual course entitled, “Social Determinants of Population Health and Health Disparities,” which is required as part of the first-year PhD curriculum in the Department of Health Services.  

 

Dr. Williams received a PhD in Health Services from the University of Washington and a Master’s degree in Public Health (Health Law) from Boston University. After obtaining her PhD, Dr. Williams took a four-month leave of absence from the VA to serve as an undergraduate instructor of two courses—Introduction to Public Health and Research Methods in Community Health—which she taught in the context of an intensive semester abroad focused on Health and Community in Switzerland, India, China, and South Africa.

 

Steven Zeliadt, PhD, MPH 
Dr. Zeliadt is a core investigator in HSR&D and Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services, University of Washington, where he is actively conducts research with collaborators in the Health Promotion Research Center and the Urology Outcomes Research Collaborative. He is also an Affiliate Investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Group Health Research Institute. His research interests include helping patients and providers make individualized and informed decisions about cancer care from the choice to screen, through initial treatment, and survivorship. He received his PhD in Health Services and MPH from the University of Washington.

 

Xiao-Hua Andrew Zhou, PhD, MSc
Dr. Zhou is a core investigator and the director of the Biostatistics Unit at HSR&D, VA Research Career Scientist, and Professor in the Departments of Biostatistics,and Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Washington.  He is also the President of VASA (VA Statisticians Association) and a member of FDA Advisory Committee in Center for Devices and Radiological Health. He is Chair-Elect of Mental Health Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association. He is also an elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association, an elected Member of the International Statistical Institute, and Associate Editor for Statistics in Medicine.  His research interests include the developments of new statistical methods in diagnostic medicine, causal inferences, analysis of health care costs, and clinical studies of personalized treatments.  He received his PhD in Biostatistics from Ohio State University and MSc in Statistics from the University of Calgary.  He has published over 180 refereed papers, including over 120 method papers.

 

 

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