Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence
Staff of the Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence
If you want to contact any of the staff, go to the contact page and contact the East or West Administrative Officers.
Christopher Bever, Jr., MD, MBA, is Director of the MS Center of Excellence-East and Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development at the VA Maryland Health Care System. He is also Professor in the Departments of Neurology, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Bever received his Bachelor’s from Washington University in 1971 and his Medical Doctor degree from the University of Rochester in 1975. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Rutgers-University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 1977, a residency in Neurology at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in 1980, and fellowship training in immunology and neuroimmunology at the National Institutes of Health in 1984. He served as a staff Neurologist at the Memphis VA Medical Center and on the faculty of Neurology at the University of Tennessee from 1984 until 1987. He then moved to join the staff of the Baltimore VA Medical Center and the Department of Neurology at the University of Maryland. He served as Neurology Service Chief at the Baltimore VA Medical Center from 1990 until 2005. He has published extensively on the pathogenesis, evaluation, and treatment of MS and his work has been supported by grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs, National MS Society, and National Institutes of Health.
W. Joel Culpepper, MA, PhD is the Associate Director of Epidemiology and Outcomes for the MS Center of Excellence-East as well as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. Dr. Culpepper has over 20 years research experience in a variety of settings to include 11 years working within the Veteran’s Health Administration. He has broad training in research methods and epidemiology. His research has focused on chronic diseases in general and neuroepidemiology of MS more specifically. Additionally, he has specific training and special interests in psychometrics and measurement issues in outcomes research.
R. Andrew David, MS, MHSA is a Health System Specialist for the MS Center of Excellence-East. Mr. David comes to MSCoE-East from VA Central Office, where he completed an administrative residency in the Office of Nursing Services. During his residency, he worked with the Epilepsy Center of Excellence in San Francisco, CA to help establish TeleHealth clinics. He received his Master's in Health Administration from George Washington University and his Bachelor's in Neuroscience from the University of Virginia.
Kenneth Dorsey is a Program Assistant for the MS Center of Excellence-East. Mr. Dorsey has been a member of the MSCoE-East team since May 2010 and has been with the VA since September 2000. As a Program Assistant, he assists in managing the day-to-day operations of MSCoE-East as a timekeeper, recording and writing the agenda and minutes for meetings, ordering supplies, and scheduling clinic appointments, among other things. His interests include music, sports, reading, and the arts - particularly theater. In recent times, he has tried to resume an old passion for gardening.
Joseph Finkelstein, MD, PhD, MA, CCRP is the Informatics Associate Director for the MS Center of Excellence-East and an Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine within the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is Director of the Chronic Disease Informatics Program at Johns Hopkins University, Core Faculty within the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research, and Director of the Informatics Sub-Core at Johns Hopkins - University of Maryland Diabetes Research and Training Center Prevention and Control Core. He holds joint appointments at the Division of Health Sciences Informatics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore and the Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Susan Judge, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a Seminar Coordinator. Dr. Judge is a basic science researcher performing patch-clamp electrophysiology research on the role of potassium channels as therapeutic agents. Dr. Judge helps to organize the research seminar series at MSCoE, which hosts presentations on cutting-edge research both within and outside VA. She earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley and her Doctorate from Northwestern University.
Maggie Kazmierski, MSW, LCSW-C, MSCS is a MS Center of Excellence-East Social Worker and the Spinal Cord Injury Coordinator for the Baltimore VA Medical Center. Ms. Kazmierski works to establish the role of social work within MSCoE-East care. She coordinates with Social Workers in VA healthcare facilities east of the Mississippi River (VISN’s 1-11) to provide support for Veterans living with MS. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the National MS Society, where she serves on the Clinical Advisory Committee. Ms. Kazmierski is a Licensed Certified Social Worker-Clinical and a MS Certified Specialist.
Terry Lee-Wilk, PhD is the Director of Neuropsychology at the VA Maryland Health Care System (VAMHCS) and a Neuropsychologist for the MS Center of Excellence-East. Dr. Lee-Wilk graduated with a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Maryland College Park. She then completed one year of postdoctoral work at Children's National Medical Center in the Department of Neuropsychology. Subsequently, she completed a two-year Neuropsychology Postdoctoral Fellowship at the VAMHCS/University of Maryland Medical System. She serves as the primary Neuropsychology liaison to the MS Center of Excellence-East. She is also a Clinical Instructor at the University of Maryland, Department of Pediatrics and supports projects related to the early initiation of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in adolescents who are HIV positive. She serves as the attending Neuropsychologist at the VA's infectious disease clinic. Dr. Lee-Wilk's clinical and research interests include cognitive symptoms associated with MS, infectious disease, and traumatic brain injury.
Heidi Maloni, PhD, APRN, BC-ANP, CNRN, MSCN, is the MS Center of Excellence-East National Clinical Nursing Director and the MS Clinic Coordinator at the Washington DC VAMC. Dr. Maloni is a Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner, a Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse, and a MS Certified Nurse. Her duties include MS clinical care, research and education of Veterans with MS, their families, and providers caring for those living with MS. Dr. Maloni represents Veteran interests on the International Organization of MS Nurses advisory board. She facilitates the MS patient advisory board of the National Capital MS Society. Dr. Maloni has an Adjunct Faculty position at Trinity Washington University where she teaches Pharmacology for Nurses and through several local nursing schools and universities, precepts advanced practice students in the clinical setting.
Lisa Mitchell, RN, BSN, CDE, MSCN is the MS Center of Excellence-East National Nurse Coordinator and MS Case Manager. Ms. Mitchell is also the Nurse Case Manager and National Nurse Coordinator for the VA Longitudinal MS Study. She is a member of the National MS Society Clinical Advisory Committee and a Certified Diabetes Educator and MS Certified Nurse. Ms. Mitchell is currently in graduate school pursuing a Master's degree in Nursing Informatics.
Walter Royal, III, MD is the Associate Director of Research for the MS Center of Excellence-East. He is also Director of the Maryland Center for MS Treatment and Research and Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Royal attends on the services at the Baltimore VAMC and at the University of Maryland. His research in the areas of MS focuses on environmental factors that are associated with an increased risk of MS and the neuroimmunological and neurovirological mechanisms that underlie the disease.
Mitchell Wallin, MD, MPH, is the Clinical Associate Director for the MS Center of Excellence-East. His clinical responsibilities are focused as an attending Neurologist at the VA Medical Center in Washington, DC with academic appointments as Associate Professor of Neurology at Georgetown University and the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Wallin is a member of the North American Cysticercosis Consortium and a Neurological Consultant for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases within the National Institutes of Health. His research interests include neuroepidemiology, MS, and neurological infections. Dr. Wallin received the 2010 Wolcott National Award for Clinical Leadership, the highest prize within the VA system.
Angela Young, MBA, is the National Education and Training Coordinator for the MS Center of Excellence-East. Ms. Young has worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs for 20 years. She advises and consults regularly with MS experts, health care professionals, and leadership to develop multidisciplinary and comprehensive MS education and training products and programs for Veterans with MS, caregivers, family members, and providers. Prior to her current position, she worked as a Program Specialist for national programs and initiatives in the Specialty Care Strategic Health Care group, within the Veterans Health Administration. Ms. Young lives in the Maryland - Washington, DC area with her husband and three children.
Dennis Bourdette, MD is the Co-Director and Associate Director of Research for the MS Center of Excellence-West, Chairman of the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) Department of Neurology, and Director of the OHSU MS Center. Dr. Bourdette is also the Roy and Eulalia Swank Family Research Professor at OHSU. He directs a team dedicated to curing and treating diseases such as MS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, stroke, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). His team has attracted grants from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Veterans Affairs, National MS Society, Nancy Davis Foundation for MS, and numerous pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. He and his colleagues have received international attention for their development of a TCR peptide vaccine called Neurovax for the treatment of MS and a new therapy called VG1000 being developed with a local biotechnology company, Virogenomics. Dr. Bourdette received his Medical Doctor degree at the University of California-Davis Medical School. He completed his medicine residency at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose and his Neurology residency at OHSU. He completed a Neuroimmunology Fellowship at the Portland VAMC.
Michelle Cameron, MD, PT is a Neurologist at the Portland VAMC and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). She received a VA Career Development Award for her research project "Mechanisms of Imbalance and Falls in MS" in 2010. Dr. Cameron received her Medical Doctor and Physical Therapy degree from the University of California, San Francisco and completed her Neurology residency followed by an MS Fellowship at OHSU.
Jodie K. Haselkorn, MD, MPH is Director of the MS Center of Excellence-West and an Epidemiologist in the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. Dr. Haselkorn is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and has more than 20 years of direct clinical experience within the Veterans Health Administration in the broad field of musculoskeletal and neurological rehabilitation medicine, specializing in recent years in the care of Veterans with MS. Dr. Haselkorn is a Professor in Rehabilitation Medicine, Adjunct Professor in Epidemiology, as well as an Affiliate Professor in Medical History and Ethics at the University of Washington. Dr. Haselkorn has been grant funded by national sources such as the Veterans Administration, National Institutes of Health, and Center for Disease Control and Prevention for eighteen consecutive years and has published numerous research articles on MS. In addition, Dr. Haselkorn is invested in translating research findings to the bedside and regularly develops and participates in interdisciplinary MS health professional education at local, regional, and national levels. Dr. Haselkorn received her medical doctor degree from Louisiana State University Medical Center-New Orleans and her rehabilitation residency at the University of Washington-Seattle.
Jaimie Henry, MPA is the Co-Administrative Officer and an Education Coordinator for the MS Center of Excellence-West. As Co-Administrative Officer, she manages the administrative and research functions of MSCoE-West in Portland, OR including budgeting, contracting, credentialing, logistics, and human resources. As an Education Coordinator, she organizes local and national educational programs, provides outreach to Hubs and Spokes within the MSCoE-West network, and coordinates the MS Veteran newsletter. Ms. Henry received a BS in Political Science from Western Oregon University and a Master’s in Public Administration, specializing in Nonprofit Management, from Portland State University.
Edward Kim, MD is a Neurologist at the Portland VAMC and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). Dr. Kim is the Assistant Program Director for the OHSU Neurology Residency Program. Dr. Kim has special interests in neuroimmunology and MS. He received his Medical Doctor degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine and completed a three year MS Fellowship through the VA Office of Academic Affairs.
Steven Leipertz, PhD is the Associate Director of Informatics for the MS Center of Excellence-West. Dr. Leipertz manages the MS repository and supports numerous clinical and research projects related to data analysis. Dr. Leipertz has held previous positions within the University of Washington School of Fisheries, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, Ichthyology Department at the American Museum of Natural History, NYU Graduate Business School, and Corbis. He received his Doctorate from the University of Washington.
Lani Pitofsky is the Administrative Specialist for the MS Center of Excellence-West since 2013. She actively and expertly supports administratively all MSCoE functional cores. Her responsibilities include assisting with Budget, Research Study recruitment, VA purchasing, ADPAC and TMS Administrator, and PIV Sponsor. Her VA career began in 1998 as the Oncology Department’s Administrator at VA Puget Sound Health Care System. She supported the Directors of the Marrow Transplant Unit and Oncology Department, as well as provided administrative patient care and served as a member of the Cancer Program Committee. In 2007, she was promoted to a Specialist position in Neurology where she provided administrative support to the Director and staff, and supervised the Medical Team and Medical Support Assistants. She is highly skilled in System Redesign and improved clinic flow, patient satisfaction, and missed opportunities in the Hospital & Specialty Medical Service. She reduced patient appointment Missed Opportunities to less than 6%, enabling VISN 20 to be the only VISN in the Nation to meet this quality measure in Neurology. Ms. Pitofsky studied Communications at Northwest University, Kirkland, WA, and participated as the Music Director and DJ at the university’s radio station where she developed journalistic and broadcast media skills. She is excited to share her experience and enthusiasm to the Centers of Excellence.
Alicia Sloan, MPH, MSW, LICSW is a core Research and Projects Coordinator with the MS Center of Excellence-West. She has worked at the Seattle VA for 10 years, and the last 8 years with MSCoE-West. She earned a Master's of Public Health in 1997 and a Master's of Social Work in 2001 from Tulane University. She coordinates a number of health services and clinical intervention studies and serves on the MS Center of Excellence Education Committee for developing continuing education courses for MS providers in the VA system. She is a founding member and co-leader of the VA MS Social Work Collaborative for VA Social Workers nationwide who work with Veterans with MS. She is also a founding member of the MS Social Work Collaborative of Washington, a professional networking group of Social Workers working with MS in the community. Ms. Sloan has a passion for developing MS social work continuing education and implementing evidence-based MS research into social work practice and program development for Veterans with MS and their caregivers. She has presented at national MS conferences on Social Work Best Practices for MS Caregivers and has co-authored several research papers and posters on access to MS specialty care, patient self-management, MS medication adherence, and home telehealth. Currently, she is the Study Coordinator and Research Therapist for the MS Fit Study, a study using motivational interviewing and exercise therapy to improve fatigue in MS.
Rebecca Spain, MD, MSPH is a Neurologist at the Portland VAMC and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). Dr. Spain received a VA Career Development Award for her research project "Pilot Trial of Lipoic Acid for Neuroprotection in Progressive MS" in 2010. She received her Medical Doctor degree from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She completed her Neurology residency and Neuroimmunology Fellowship at Thomas Jefferson University and completed an MS Fellowship at OHSU. Dr. Spain's research interests include treating progressive forms of MS and evaluating mobility in MS.
Jan Spencer, MSW, LCSW is an Outpatient Clinical Social Worker with the MS Center of Excellence-West as well as the Epilepsy Center of Excellence-Northwest. Ms. Spencer provides case management, advocacy, facilitation, education, and counseling to Veterans and their families. She received her undergraduate degree in both Psychology and Family Studies from Corbin University in Salem, OR and her graduate degree in Social Work from Portland State University in Portland, OR. Ms. Spencer has been at the Portland VAMC since July of 2013. Prior to coming to the VA, she worked as a Certified Oncology Social Worker at Cancer Care Resources in Portland, OR, Lead Social Worker at Samaritan Regional Cancer Center in Corvallis, OR, and Director of the Samaritan Cancer Resource Center in Albany, OR. In addition, Ms. Spencer worked for several years as a Certified Family Life Educator/Family Advocate with Oregon’s Linn County Public Health Department. Her experience working with the chronically ill affords her empathy and understanding for the many challenges Veteran’s face when living with MS.
Marsha Tarver, PhD, MA is the Associate Director of Education for the MS Center of Excellence-West. She develops educational programs for VA providers, Veterans, and caregivers. She works on accredited satellite broadcasts and webinars. Dr. Tarver has years of experience in developing adult education programs and is a subject matter expert on instructional system designs, web-based courses, learner outcomes, people with disabilities and cultural diversity curriculum. Prior work includes: Education Specialist with the Veterans Health Administration National Center for Ethics; Associate Professor, California State University Fresno; Program Director and Counselor for a California community college Disabled Students Program; Coordinator for the Master Instructor Development Program for the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training; and has provided over 16 years of private and affiliated psychological counseling services. Dr. Tarver received her Doctorate in Educational Psychology from the University of Southern California and Master's in Counseling from CSU Fresno.
Phillip Terry, MHA is an experienced and collaborative leader committed to excellence with a demonstrated ability to develop and manage complex health and research programs and projects. He has done this while working with professionally diverse groups in government, academia, research and industry. Mr. Terry was most recently the Associate Director for Operations at the Seattle Veteran Affairs Epidemiology, Information and Research Center for almost ten years. Key accomplishments included significant growth of Center resources and staff. He also provided administrative support and consultation for research studies, a data registry and education programs. As Director of Community Health, Evergreen Healthcare, Mr. Terry provided overall direction and coordination with the management team, physicians and partner community agencies for several community health initiatives. Prior to this position he was the Administrator for the Center for Disability Policy and Research, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle. This included developing and supervising the Center's functions in strategic planning, operations, budgets, grants, contracts and personnel. He also designed a needs assessment methodology for people with disabilities and chronic disease under contract with the State of Washington. Finally, with the California State Department of Health for over ten years, Mr. Terry directed and implemented statewide systems for medical personnel certification, quality improvement and health surveillance. Mr. Terry is joining the MSCoE West because he strongly believes that working in the nationwide VA MS Team, clinicians, researchers, care givers and constituents groups there are significant opportunities to improve the lives of vets with MS and our scientific knowledge about the disease. He enthusiastically embraces these opportunities.
Aaron Turner, PhD is the Assistant Director of Research for the MS Center of Excellence-West. He is also the Director of Rehabilitation Psychology at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, WA and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington. Dr. Turner maintains an active research program examining health behavior change and psychosocial determinants of quality of life among Veterans and individuals with disabilities. He received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington. He likes rainy days, sunsets, and long walks on the beach.
Ruth Whitham, MD is the Associate Director of Clinical Care for the MS Center of Excellence-West and Chief of Neurology Service at the Portland VAMC. She is a Professor in the Department of Neurology at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and has special interests in neuroimmunology and MS. Dr. Whitham received her Medical Doctor degree from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Neuroimmunology at OHSU.