Center Affiliated Researchers - VA Homeless Programs
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Center Affiliated Researchers


Center research affiliates are individuals who study some aspect of homelessness among Veterans and wish to increase their collaboration with like-minded investigators. The research affiliate group participates in a monthly national call for information exchange and networking. Affiliates have the opportunity to apply for Center grants, plan and participate in Center webinars, and engage in other initiatives as needed.


Daniel Blonigen, PhD

Research interests:

  • Psychosocial risk factors for criminal recidivism among homeless and justice-involved Veterans.
  • Access and engagement in mental health and substance use disorder care among homeless and justice-involved Veterans.,
  • Technology- (e.g., mobile apps; tablets) and peer-based services to improve mental health care access and engagement among Veterans in substance use and mental health care.
Daniel Blonigen, PhD is a Core Investigator and Co-Chair of the Mental Health Section at the HSR&D Center for Innovation to Implementation (Ci2i), VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California.  He is a Clinical Assistant Professor (Affiliated) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, and an Adjunct Professor in the Clinical Psychology PhD Program, Palo Alto University.  Dr. Blonigen is a former VA CSR&D Career Development Awardee.  He is currently funded by VA HSR&D.  The broad focus of his research is to increase access and engagement in clinical care for high-risk, high-need populations marked by co-occurring addictions and mental illness, chronic homelessness, and/or cyclical involvement in the criminal justice system.

Special skills:

  • Psychological assessment
  • Structural equation modeling
  • Qualitative methods
  • RCT design and methodology

John R. Blosnich, PhD, MPH

John Blosnich image

Research interests

  • Social determinants of health (e.g. violence, homelessness)
  • Sexual and gender minority populations
  • Suicide prevention for LGBT individuals and US Military Veterans
  • Veteran health
John R. Blosnich, PhD, MPH is a research health scientist with the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and an Assistant Professor in the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.  He earned his PhD in Public Health Sciences from West Virginia University and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in suicide prevention at the University of Rochester and the VA’s VISN-2 Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention.  Dr. Blosnich strives to design research that guides strategies for identifying and integrating data about social determinants of health into adaptive, learning health care systems to improve health of minority populations and reduce suicide.

Special skills:

  • Health disparities research methods
  • Health services research methods
  • Survey data analysis
  • Survey design

Rebecca Brown, MD, MPH*

Research interests:

  • Health disparities
  • Housing as a social determinant of health
  • Functional status
Rebecca Brown, MD, MPH is a staff physician at Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Dr. Brown also holds the position of Assistant Professor in the Division of Geriatric Medicine with Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania.  The goal of Dr. Brown's research is to improve functional status and quality of life for socioeconomically vulnerable older adults. A substantial part of Dr. Brown's research has examined the epidemiology and outcomes of functional impairment and other geriatric conditions among vulnerable older populations. Her most recent work builds upon these epidemiologic findings to develop and test interventions to optimize function for vulnerable older adults in both clinic and community settings.  Dr. Brown currently holds a K76 Beeson Advanced Career Development Award from the National Institute on Aging focused on improving function and independence for older adults living in federally subsidized housing, as well as a VA Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) grant focused on improving identification and management of functional impairment among older adults in primary care settings.

Special skills:

  • Primary data collection
  • Assessment/analysis of geriatric outcomes

Thomas Byrne, PhD

Thomas Byrne image

Research interests:

  • Quantitative methods
  • Quasi-experimental designs
  • Impact of VHA homeless programs
Thomas (Tom) Byrne, PhD is an investigator at the Center for Health Outcomes and Implementation Research (CHOIR) at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Medical Center, Bedford, Massachusetts.  He is also an investigator at the National Center for Homelessness among Veterans, with which he has had an affiliation since its inception in 2009.  Dr. Byrne also holds the position of Assistant Professor at the Boston University School of Social Work.  His research focuses broadly on the causes, consequences and solutions to housing insecurity and homelessness. His work relies mainly on quantitative methods and the use of large administrative datasets.  In his time at the VA Dr. Byrne has been involved in numerous studies conducted in support of the VA’s goal to prevent and end homelessness among Veterans.

Special skills:

  • Quantitative methods
  • GIS

Dennis Culhane, PhD

Research interests:

  • Homelessness
  • Homelessness population dynamics
  • Homelessness assistance policy
  • Assisted housing policy
  • Service use patterns
  • Longitudinal methods
Dennis Culhane, PhD is the Dana and Andrew Stone Professor of Social Policy at the University of Pennsylvania and a Research Affiliate with National Center on Homelessness among Veterans.  Dr. Culhane’s recent work includes studies of the premature aging of the adult homeless population, the employment and earnings histories of adult and family shelter users, and a statistical profile of the homelessness assistance industry in the US.  Much of Dr. Culhane’s research involves the linkage of administrative records to better understand the service use dynamics associated with homelessness, and the impact of various interventions.  Dr. Culhane directs a national network of states and counties that have developed integrated data systems for policy analysis and program reform, called Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy.

Special skills:

  • The analysis of linked administrative data
  • Longitudinal methods
  • Demography

Melissa E. Dichter, PhD, MSW

Research interests:

  • Intimate partner violence
  • Women Veterans
  • Health equity
  • Addressing social factors in healthcare
Melissa Dichter, PhD, MSW is a Core Investigator with VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) at Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Dr. Dichter also holds the position of Assistant Professor in Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.  Dr. Dichter earned a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in child development from Tufts University and a master’s in social work and PhD in social welfare from the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Dichter completed a VA Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) postdoctoral fellowship and career development award and has conducted research on addressing the needs of women Veterans since 2009.  Dr. Dichter is a health services researcher focusing on understanding and addressing social factors that impact health and access to healthcare and expertise in intimate partner violence.

Special skills:

  • Mixed methods research
  • Qualitative research
  • Primary data collection

Andrea Finlay, PhD

Andrea Finlay

Research interests:

  • Justice-involved Veterans
  • Implementation of evidence-based treatments for mental health and substance use disorder conditions
  • Quality of medical, mental health and substance use disorder care
  • Surgical health services
Andrea Finlay, PhD is a research health science specialist at the Center for Innovation to Implementation, VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California. She is also an Affiliated Researcher at the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans, and a statistician in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine.  Dr. Finlay’s expertise includes longitudinal quantitative data analysis and implementation science. Her current research focuses on VA health services utilization among Veterans involved in the criminal justice system, specifically examining the Veterans Justice Programs, as well as the context and process factors that impact the implementation of evidence-based treatments.

Special skills:
  • Longitudinal quantitative methods
  • Qualitative methods
  • Implementation science

Sonya Gabrielian, MD, MPH

Research interests:

  • Serious mental illness
  • Substance use disorders
  • Community integration
Sonya Gabrielian, MD, MPH, is a practicing psychiatrist in homeless programs and a health services researcher at the VA Greater Los Angeles (VAGLA), Los Angeles, California.  She also holds the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.  Dr. Gabrielian is the VA Research Director of the VA/UCLA Center of Excellence for Veteran Resilience and Recovery and an investigator with the Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation, & Policy (CSHIIP) and the Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC) at VAGLA.  She is also an Affiliated Researcher at the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans and a VA HSR&D Career Development Awardee.  Dr. Gabrielian’s research aims to improve housing retention and community functioning among homeless adults with serious mental illness.

Special skills:

  • Implementation science


Lynn A. Garvin, PhD, MBA

Research interests:

  • Health IT
  • Care coordination and patient engagement for improved health outcomes
  • Rural Homeless Veterans

Dr. Garvin holds a Ph.D. in Health Policy from Brandeis University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a BA from Wellesley College. Dr. Garvin is an Investigator with VA Boston Healthcare System and a Clinical Assistant Professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health.

Prior to joining VA in December 2018, Dr. Garvin contributed as a WOC researcher, collaborating with Dr. Steven Simon of VA Boston CHOIR and Harvard Medical School on research funded by eHealth QUERI that focused on measurement of patient engagement with My HealtheVet patient portal.

Prior to entering academia, Dr. Garvin gained over 20 years of executive experience in life sciences, healthcare and information systems, and held leadership positions at a major private hospital in Boston and at various multinational companies.

Special skills:

  • Health IT strategy and implementation

  • Quantitative analysis: STATA, SPSS

  • Qualitative analysis: NVivo, Atlas,ti

Lillian Gelberg, MD, MSPH

Lillian Gelberg image

Research interests:

  • Health, access to care, quality of care
  • Homelessness prevention
  • Homeless women and families
  • Interprofessional training to improve teamwork and humanistic care of homeless Veterans
  • Integration of behavioral health into primary care
  • Addressing mental health problems, substance use, overweight/obesity
Lillian Gelberg, MD, MSPH is an academic family medicine physician and researcher at the VA Greater Los Angeles (VAGLA), Los Angeles, California. She is a Professor in the Department of Family Medicine of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.  At VAGLA, Dr. Gelberg is a member of the GLA Office of Healthcare Transformation and Innovation and a member of the Center of Excellence Primary Care Education’s Interprofessional Academic Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (COEPCE IA HPACT). She is an investigator in the VA HSR&D Center of Innovation (COIN) for the Study of Healthcare Innovation and Policy (CSHIIP) at VA GLAHS and a member of its Homelessness Strategy Priority Area (SPA) under the High Risk/High Need Population Focused Area of Research.  Dr. Gelberg is an internationally recognized authority on the health and healthcare of homeless populations, including homeless Veterans and has completed extensive prior health services research utilizing quantitative and qualitative methods. Dr. Gelberg has been PI or investigator on over $38 million of research funding from VA HSR&D, PCORI, NIH, RWJF, has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers, and has mentored over 100 young investigators in research on the health and healthcare of homeless populations.

Special skills:

  • Clinic-based and community-based health services research
  • Collecting data in challenging field settings including shelters and meal programs

Adam J. Gordon, MD, MPH

Adam J. Gordon image

Research interests:

  • Outcomes and implementation of evidence -based identification, assessment, and treatment strategies for patients with addictions within primary care
  • Primary care medical homes
  • Non-specialty clinical environments
  • Quality, equity, and efficiency of health care for vulnerable populations
Adam J. Gordon, MD, MPH, FACP, DFASAM, CMRO is a Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry at the University of Utah School of Medicine, where he holds the Elbert and Marie Christensen Research Professorship. He is also Chief of Addiction Medicine for the Salt Lake City VA Health Care System. He serves as the Director of the VAPHS’ Addiction Triage for Homeless; Enhancing VA Medical Homes (ANTHEM; VAPHS’ HPACT).  Dr. Gordon is a board-certified internal medicine and addiction medicine physician with a 16-year track record of conducting research. He is a prior VA Health Services and Research Development (HSR&D) Career Awardee.  Dr. Gordon has published over 136 peer reviewed papers; 56 peer-reviewed abstracts; 13 books or book chapters; 13 guidelines, monographs, and letters; 55 non-peer reviewed publications; and presented/authored over 137 peer-reviewed presentations at international research conferences. He was an author of the 2015 VA/Department of Defense Clinical Practice Guidelines for Substance Use Disorders, directs the national Buprenorphine in the VA (BIV) Initiative, directs the VA’s National Coordinating Center for the VA’s Inter-professional Advanced Fellowships in Addiction Treatment, and directs the VAPHS’ Interdisciplinary Addiction Program for Education and Research (VIPER). Dr. Gordon is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Substance Abuse.

Michael F. Green, PhD

Research interests:

  • Cognition and social cognition in psychotic disorders
  • Community integration in homelessness
  • Determinants of social disconnection
Michael Foster Green, PhD, is Director of the VA Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) on Enhancing Community Integration for Homeless Veterans and is Director of the Treatment Unit of the VA Desert Pacific Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC). He is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.  Dr. Green obtained his doctorate in neuropsychology at Cornell University, and his postdoctoral training in neuropsychology at UCLA. He is an associate editor for Schizophrenia Bulletin, on the editorial boards of several journals, including Cognitive Neuropsychiatry and Schizophrenia Research, and has authored over 340 journal articles and has been cited over 45,000 times.  He has received numerous grants from the VA, National Institute of Mental Health, and private foundations.   Dr. Green directs a clinical research laboratory ( that explores the relationship between cognitive and social cognitive impairments in schizophrenia and community integration, as well as the neural underpinnings of cognitive and social cognitive dysfunction.  Dr. Green had leadership roles in several National Institute of Mental Health treatment development initiatives including NIMH MATRICS Initiative. He is a Fellow in the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), a member of the work group for Psychotic Disorders for the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), and past president of the Society for Research in Psychopathology.

Special skills:

  • Cognitive and social cognitive assessment
  • Social neuroscientific methods
  • Assessment of community integration

Adi V. Gundlapalli, MD, PhD, MS

Adi Gundlapalli image

Research interests:

  • Post-deployment health of Veterans with a special focus on adverse outcomes such as homelessness.
  • Mathematical modelling for research
  • Continuity and transition of care from the DoD to VA
  • Fragmentation of care within and outside the VA
  • Increased vulnerability for Veterans while receiving care in the VA
Adi Gundlapalli, MD, PhD, MS is a staff physician, Chief Health Informatics Officer, and Chief of the Medical Informatics Service at the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System. He is a tenured professor of internal medicine and biomedical informatics at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a board-certified physician in the specialties of internal medicine, infectious diseases, and clinical informatics.  He is active in academia in terms of grant funding from VA, DoD, NIH, CDC, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as principal and co-investigator in post-deployment health of Veterans, Veteran homelessness, biodefense, infectious diseases epidemiology, and informatics.  Dr. Gundlapalli has a successful track record of publishing in peer-reviewed journals and teaching/mentoring of future generations of medical professionals and researchers. He is frequently invited to lecture at local, regional and national and international venues in his areas of expertise.

Special Skills:
  • Qualitative and quantitative epidemiologic and informatics-based methods including surveys 
  • GIS
  • Bio-statistics
  • Surveillance
  • Natural language processing
  • Machine Learning
  • Mathematical modeling

Alison B. Hamilton, PhD, MPH

Research interests:

  • Women’s health
  • Mental health
  • Social determinants of health
  • Implementation science
  • Quality improvement
  • Community-engaged research
  • Qualitative and mixed methods
Alison B. Hamilton, PhD, MPH, a Research Anthropologist in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, received her PhD in medical and psychological anthropology from UCLA in 2002, and her MPH in Community Health Sciences from UCLA in 2009.  Dr. Hamilton is the Director of the VA-funded EMPOWER (Enhancing Mental and Physical Health of Women through Engagement and Retention) Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI), focused on improving women Veterans’ health and health care through implementation science. She is Chief Officer of Implementation & Policy at the VA Health Services Research and Development Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation and Policy, specializing in women Veterans’ health, mental health services research, and implementation science.  She serves on the editorial boards of Implementation ScienceWomen’s Health Issues, and BMC Health Services Research.

Special skills:
  • Qualitative and mixed methods
  • Implementation science

Ryan Holliday, PhD

Profile picture of Ryan Holliday, PhD 

Research interests:

  • Understanding the intersection of interpersonal trauma (e.g., military sexual trauma, intimate partner violence) and psychosocial determinants (e.g., justice-involvement, homelessness) 
  • Understanding overlap of above-mentioned distressing experiences and how they impact psychiatric symptoms (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder), suicide risk, and functioning across several psychological domains

Dr. Ryan Holliday is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) for Veteran Suicide Prevention. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He currently serves as the co-lead of the VA HSR&D workgroup on Veteran Homelessness and Suicide.  Dr. Holliday completed his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology as well as pre-doctoral APA-approved internship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He subsequently joined the Rocky Mountain MIRECC as a postdoctoral fellow.

Special skills:

  • Advanced, longitudinal modeling of data (e.g., mixed-effect modeling)
  • Translating research findings into validated assessment measures as well as evidence-based treatment

Justeen Hyde, PhD

Research interests:

  • Understanding experiences of care among people who are experiencing homelessness, substance use, and mental health related conditions
  • Whole Health approaches to care
  • Health beliefs
  • Exploration of organizational culture and implementation of supportive interventions
  • Participatory design and evaluation of supportive interventions
  • Veteran Engaged Research
Justeen Hyde, PhD is an anthropologist and health scientist at the Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR) at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Medical Center, Bedford, Massachusetts. She is affiliated with Boston University School of Medicine.  Dr. Hyde received her PhD in Anthropology in 2001 from University of California, Irvine. Her work sits at the juncture of social science and community health research, with a strong emphasis on participatory approaches in the design, implementation, and dissemination of research studies.  Dr. Hyde has worked in collaboration with representatives from many different organizations to develop and implement studies aimed at improving programs, services, approaches to care, and the environments that promote health and well-being.

Special skills:
  • Qualitative research – interviews, focus groups, photo voice, observations
  • Mixed method research
  • Evaluation research – specifically on utilization focused and participatory evaluation
  • Participatory research approaches

Theddeus Iheanacho, MD

Research interests:

  • Access to care
  • Substance use disorder
  • Health disparities and health equity
  • Homelessness
Theddeus Iheanacho, MD is the Medical Director of the Errera Community Care Center at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System and leads a multi-disciplinary team that implements community-based clinical interventions to increase access to evidence-based treatments and services, reduce morbidity and end homelessness among low income Veterans with severe mental illness.  He also holds the position of Associate Professor at Yale University School of Medicine. He and his team have successfully integrated primary care into their community mental health programs for homeless Veterans. This program won the 2014 Yale Clinical Innovation in Psychiatry Award.  Dr. Iheanacho has successfully managed five VA-funded pilot grants that used community-based participatory models to develop and implement innovative approaches to deliver evidence-based treatment for the underserved population of homeless Veterans in the community, including utilization of telemedicine to increase access to care.

Special skills:
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Community-engagement research

Roya Ijadi-Maghsoodi, MD, MSHPM

Research interests:

  • Parents, women, and families, including Veteran families, experiencing homelessness
  • Community-based interventions to address trauma and parental substance use disorders, particularly in under-resourced communities
  • Homelessness prevention
  • Parent engagement
Roya Ijadi-Maghsoodi, MD, MSHPM is a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, and provides care at UCLA and to women Veterans and Veterans with a history of homelessness through the Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (HPACT) at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California. She is an investigator at the Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation & Policy within the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and an Assistant Professor-in-Residence in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.  Dr. Ijadi-Maghsoodi’s research concentrates on improving care for under-resourced populations in the community, including community interventions for families experiencing homelessness and high-risk youth with trauma. She has received several VA pilot grants to address homelessness and community integration among Veteran families. She is currently funded by an American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)-National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Physician Scientist Program in Substance Abuse K12 award to focus on improving care and adapting a resilience intervention for families with parental substance use disorders and experiencing homelessness.

Special skills:
  • Qualitative methods
  • Mixed methods
  • Community interventions

Stefan Kertesz

Research interests:

  • Implementation of housing solutions
  • Delivery of high-quality primary care
  • Development of methods to measure the primary care experience of homeless patients and hold clinical care systems accountable to this population
Stefan Kertesz, MD, MSc is a staff physician and researcher in internal medicine and addiction medicine and Director of Homeless Patient-Aligned Care Team (HPACT) at Birmingham VA Medical Center, Birmingham, Alabama. He is Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and University of Alabama School of Public Health.  Dr. Kertesz has a two-decade history of providing and researching health care and services for vulnerable populations. He has conducted research on addiction treatment and recovery in homeless individuals, and on efforts to deliver Housing First through the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Dr. Kertesz has published research on substance use relapse and recovery and homeless populations since 2003. Since 2016, he has developed a voice on policy changes in relation to the opioid crisis.

Special skills:

  • Assessment of patient experience in care combining qualitative and survey methods
  • Epidemiologic analysis of both drug use and recovery
  • His writings, views and commentary have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio,, The Hill, and other venues.

James P. LePage, PhD

Research interests:

  • Veterans with histories of incarceration
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Development of transition strategies

James P. LePage, PhD is a clinical psychologist and the Associate Chief of Staff, Research and Development Service at VA North Texas Health Care System, Dallas, TX. He is also an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.  Dr. LePage’s research interests are primarily focused around the psychosocial reintegration of vulnerable Veteran populations, specifically Veterans with histories of incarceration and Veterans experiencing homelessness.  Dr. LePage has developed several vocational programs for Veterans with histories of incarceration and mental illness or substance use disorders and has studied VA health care utilization rates of Veterans leaving prison and Veterans experiencing homelessness.  Dr. LePage is interested in better understanding the experience of leaving incarceration and developing innovative approaches to assist Veterans to effectively transition out of prison.

Special skills:

  • Program evaluation
  • Vocational rehabilitation

D. Keith McInnes, ScD, MSc

Keith McInnes image

Research interests:

  • Homelessness
  • Criminal-justice involved populations
  • Health information technology, with a focus on patient-facing informatics
  • Chronic disease management, especially HIV and hepatitis C
  • Medication adherence, assessment and improvement

Keith McInnes, ScD, MSc, is a VA health services researcher in the Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR) at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Medical Center, Bedford, Massachusetts. He is Research Associate Professor at Boston University School of Public Health.  Dr. McInnes’ research focuses on health informatics, homelessness, and patient self-management of chronic diseases, with emphasis on HIV and hepatitis C.  Dr. McInnes is Co-Principal Investigator of the Bridging the Care Continuum QUERI Program which is focused on improving access to and engagement in care for vulnerable populations including persons who have a co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder, were formerly incarcerated, or are homeless. He also leads a study examining the quality of care for Veterans who are homeless and have hepatitis C.  He is Co-Lead of CHOIR’s Recovery Scientific Focus area.  Prior to joining VA, he held positions at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health.  Dr. McInnes was the recipient of a Packer Policy Fellowship at the University of Sydney, Australia and was a VA Career Development Awardee.

Special skills:

  • Qualitative methods
  • Implementation research

Stephen Metraux, PhD

Research interests:

  • Housing & Homelessness
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Mental Health Services
  • Prison Reentry

Stephen Metraux, PhD is the Director of the Center for Community Research & Service and Associate Professor at the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy & Administration at the University of Delaware.  Prior to assuming this position in August 2018, he was an Analyst at the National Center for Homelessness among Veterans and an Associate Professor of Health Policy at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.  Dr. Metraux is a recognized expert on housing and homelessness, having done extensive research using administrative and survey data to assess housing outcomes, services use across systems, and impacts of housing and services interventions among homeless and formerly homeless households. In addition to his academic research, he has consulted widely with local jurisdictions and non-profits on data-informed approaches to improving policy and services related to homelessness. Dr. Metraux has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania.

Special skills:

  • Quantitative Methods
  • Research Applications for Administrative Data

Ann Elizabeth Montgomery, PhD

Ann Elizabeth Montgomery

Research interests:

  • Screening for housing instability in the healthcare setting
  • Assessing interventions to prevent and end homelessness
  • Social determinants of health
  • Studying vulnerable populations and health disparities
  • Identifying homelessness and risk among Veterans seeking healthcare

Dr. Ann Elizabeth Montgomery is an Investigator at the VA National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans and a Health Science Specialist at Birmingham VAMC, Birmingham, Alabama.  She also holds the position of Assistant Professor with the Department of Health Behavior at University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health.  Dr. Montgomery has more than 15 years’ experience conducting research and evaluation related to homelessness and housing. Since its inception in 2009, Dr. Montgomery has worked with the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans to develop and implement a diverse research agenda emphasizing homelessness prevention, interventions to prevent and end homelessness among high-need Veterans, and the demography, epidemiology, and services utilization of Veterans experiencing homelessness.  Dr. Montgomery’s work—including research, evaluation, and policy analysis—informs US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programs and policies at the national level directed toward ending homelessness among Veterans.

Special skills:

  • Health economics
  • Cost-effectiveness analysis
  • Causal inference

Richard Nelson, PhD

Research interests:

  • Vulnerable populations
  • Rural health
  • Infectious diseases
  • Simulation modeling
  • Behavioral economics

Richard E. Nelson, PhD is a health economist and core investigator at the Informatics, Decision Enhancement, and Analytic Science (IDEAS) Center at the VA Salt Lake City. He is also a Research Associate Professor and the Associate Director of the Health Economics Core of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Utah School of Medicine.  Examples of Dr. Nelson’s recent work include generating new methods to identify attributable healthcare cost in cases of time-dependent bias; estimating the effect of VA policy changes designed to increase access to care for rural Veterans on VA and non-VA healthcare utilization; and assessing how the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program impacts Veteran housing, health, and healthcare cost outcomes.  The goal of Dr. Nelson’s research is to combine cutting edge quantitative approaches to analyzing big data with economic theory to improve the lives of US Veterans through more informed decision making.

Robert A. Rosenheck, MD

Robert A. Rosenheck

Research interests:

  • Homelessness and opioid use disorder
  • HIV
  • Quality of life
  • Supported Housing
  • First episode psychosis

Robert Rosenheck, MD is Senior Investigator at the VA New England Mental Illness Research and Education Center (MIRECC) and Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health at the Child Study Center at Yale Medical School where he is also Director of the Division of Mental Health Services and Outcomes Research in the Department of Psychiatry.  Dr. Rosenheck is an internationally known mental health services researcher who is a leader in cost-effectiveness studies of behavioral health interventions, especially those for homeless people with mental illness, and in monitoring quality of care and other aspects of the performance of large health care systems. He has published more than 800 scientific papers and has received awards for his research from the American Psychiatric Association and the American Public Health Association.  As founding Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs Northeast Program Evaluation Center he has 22 years of experience evaluating, disseminating, and monitoring innovative programs for homeless Veterans with mental illness treated in over 1000 programs across the VA system. He played a central role in the design, implementation, and evaluation of VA homeless programs from their inception in 1987 to 2009 and has continued his prolific research on homeless Veterans since then. He has been a prime architect of national VA collaborative programs with both the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Social Security Administration.

Elizabeth J. Santa Ana, PhD

Research interests:

  • Evidence-based interventions (EBTs)
  • Telehealth treatment products
  • Group Motivational Enhancement therapy (G-MET) for homeless Veterans with addictive disorders in the community setting
  • Motivational Interviewing and Group Motivational Interviewing for addictive disorders

Elizabeth (Liz) Santa Ana, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Addiction Sciences Division, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She also serves as the Evidence-Based Training Coordinator for the VHA VISN 7 Homeless Program and is an investigator in the Health Equities Research Innovation Center (HEROIC), based at the Charleston VAMC. She is currently Co-Director of the VA Advanced Fellowship in Mental Illness Research and Treatment at the Charleston VA Medical Center.  Dr. Santa Ana is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of substance use disorders in patients with co-existing psychiatric disorders. She received her B.A. in psychology from Binghamton University, her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the State University of New York at Albany (SUNY Albany), completed her clinical internship at the Medical University of South Carolina (Charleston Consortium), and her postdoctoral fellowship in Advanced Psychiatry and Psychology through the Mental Illness Research Education Clinical Center (MIRECC) at Yale University School of Medicine and the West Haven VA Medical Center.

Special skills:

  • Motivational Interviewing (MI)
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)
  • Conducting process evaluations, such as monitoring of interventions

Andrew J. Saxon, MD

Research interests:

  • Substance use disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Homelessness

Andrew J. Saxon, M.D. is the Director of the Center of Excellence in Substance Addiction Treatment and Education at VA Puget Sound Healthcare System, Seattle, Washington and Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington.  Preceding his entry into psychiatry, Dr. Saxon completed an internal medicine internship and worked for four years as an emergency room physician. He 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.  He sits on the editorial boards of the journals, Drug and Alcohol Dependence and General Hospital Psychiatry and is section editor for substance use disorders for UpToDate.  Dr. Saxon’s current research work is supported by the VA, the Department of Defense, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse and involves pharmacotherapies and psychotherapies for alcohol, cocaine, tobacco, and opioid use disorders as well work in co-occurrence of substance use disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder and on reducing homelessness.

Special skills:

  • Pharmacotherapy

Steven Shirk, PhD

Research interests:

  • Addictive behaviors and psychiatric comorbidities
  • Aging
  • Cognitive function
  • Mindfulness
  • Psychophysiology

Steven Shirk, PhD is a health science specialist in VISN 1 Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) at Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Medical Center, Bedford, Massachusetts. He also holds the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts.  As a research psychologist with a focus on cognitive function, Dr. Shirk’s goal is to better describe and understand clinical and cognitive phenomena and change within the Veteran population, including addiction. He is currently investigating rates of gambling among homeless or at-risk Veterans and the role of Beta activity and its neuropsychological correlates to better understand and predict relapse among Veterans with alcohol use disorder.  Dr. Shirk has also begun to conduct research on problem gambling among this population, a problem that often goes undetected but has substantial impact upon the health and well-being of the individual. Dr. Shirk has applied a variety of sophisticated analysis including mixed effects modeling and latent variable modeling.

Special skills:

  • Quantitative methods
  • Longitudinal data analysis

David Smelson, PsyD

Research interests:

  • Addiction
  • Mental illness
  • Homelessness
  • Criminal justice
  • Drug craving

David Smelson, PsyD is the Director of Translational Research at Bedford VA, Bedford, Massachusetts and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine. Dr. Smelson received his doctorate from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology.  Dr. Smelson’s research work mainly focuses on behavioral therapy development for the treatment and management of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Dr. Smelson has extensive clinical and research experience working with homeless Veterans suffering from co-occurring mental health and substance use problems. In early 2011 he published a co-occurring disorders treatment approach designed for Veterans who are homeless or at-risk for homelessness, which is currently being implemented more broadly throughout the US Department of Veterans Affairs.  Dr. Smelson’s research has received funding from VA Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D), the National Institutes of Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Special skills:

  • Randomized controlled trials
  • Implementation trials

Cathy M. St. Pierre, PhD

Research interests:

  • Homeless Veterans
  • Genomics
  • Integrative health modalities
  • Acupuncture research
  • Infectious disease
  • Whole Health implementation

Cathy St. Pierre, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC, FAANP is the Associate Chief Nurse of Research and a Nurse Practitioner at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Medical Center, Bedford, Massachusetts, working in a variety of departments including: Pulmonary, Poly-trauma /Traumatic Brain Injury and Homeless Veterans programs. She is a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) with extensive experience in research, practice and academia. She has been nationally certified as an FNP since 1981.  Dr. St. Pierre’s research endeavors have spanned the past 12 years in the VA health care system. She is the recipient of an intramural award from the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans for FY2018.  Dr. St. Pierre’s background is diversified, and she has both taught and practiced clinically in a variety of health care settings and academic institutions. She has presented nationally and internationally on a wide variety of health care/research topics and currently serves on the editorial board of four peer-reviewed professional journals.

Special skills:

  • Credentialed in battlefield acupuncture
  • Certified Advanced Practice Registered Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Level two Reiki practitioner


Christine Timko, PhD

Research interests:

  • How to improve health care transitions, coordination, and patient outcomes through innovative methods that are practical to implement in ongoing practice
  • Substance use disorders
  • Co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders
  • Co-occurring problems such as other mental health disorders, interpersonal violence, and civil and criminal justice involvement

Christine Timko, PhD is a senior research career scientist with VA HSR&D at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, California. She also holds the position of Affiliated Clinical Professor in Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine.  Dr. Timko completed her doctorate in social psychology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a postdoctoral fellowship in health psychology at Yale University. Her undergraduate work at the University of Pennsylvania was in psychology. Dr. Timko joined VA in 1987.  In addition to research, Dr. Timko serves as a mentor to VA and university trainees, a reviewer for national and international funders of health services research, and a member of VA management and oversight committees.  Dr. Timko also holds editorial positions for leading substance use journals and is an invited speaker at national and international substance use and mental health research conferences.

Gala True, PhD

Gala True image

Research interests:

  • Community-engaged research
  • Community based participatory action research
  • Qualitative methods
  • Post-deployment health
  • Community based reintegration
  • Homelessness and housing instability
  • Social determinants of health
  • Community researchers
  • Person-centered care
  • Military caregivers

Gala True, PhD, is an investigator with the South-Central Mental Illness Research and Education Center (MIRECC) at the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System (SLVCHS) and Research Associate Professor of Community and Population Medicine at Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana.  With a background in folklore and anthropology, Dr. True’s research focuses on improving access to care and the health of individuals and communities through patient-centered and community-engaged research approaches. Her most recent research employs participatory action research methods to collaborate with Veterans, military families, and other key stakeholders on identifying barriers to post-deployment care and proposing solutions for improving community reintegration after separation from military service.

Special skills:

  • Qualitative methods
  • Visual-narrative methods

Anaïs Tuepker, PhD, MPH

Research interests:

  • Power and hierarchies in health care teams and health care delivery
  • Team dynamics
  • Social determinants of health
  • Improving access and quality of care for women Veterans, Veterans experiencing homelessness, and other marginalized populations
  • VA employee experience and engagement
  • Redesign of health care systems to facilitate innovation, creativity and engagement among health care workers

Anaïs Tuepker, PhD, MPH is a core investigator, Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC), VA Portland Health Care System and Assistant Professor (Research), Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Oregon Health & Science University. She is also the Portland Co-Lead for the VA Women’s Health Practice Based Research Network.  Dr. Tuepker is currently the Director of the Inter-professional Learning and Practice Partnered Evaluation Center, a partnered evaluation effort with VA’s Office of Academic Affiliation, which is evaluating VA’s efforts across seven sites to develop and disseminate innovative tools for training the work force to deliver coordinated, team-based care; this work includes an explicit component of evaluating interprofessional training in the context of meeting the needs of Veterans experiencing homelessness. She is also one of multiple PIs on a national evaluation of VA’s Innovators Network (iNet).

Special skills:

  • Qualitative methods
    • focus groups
    • semi-structured interviews
    • cognitive interviewing
    • direct observation
    • rapid data extraction and analysis methods
    • hybrid inductive-directed coding techniques
    • comprehensive realist evaluation
    • implementation research frameworks
    • development of analytic coding schema for qualitative data
  • Participatory methods:
    • research and QI project design and analysis.

Donna L. Washington, MD, MPH

Donna Washington image

Research interests:

  • Women’s health
  • Health equity
  • Racial/ethnic disparities
  • Veterans’ health and health care
  • Health care access
  • Quality of care

Donna L. Washington, MD, MPH is a primary care physician and health services researcher at VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, and Professor of Medicine at UCLA Geffen School of Medicine. She is a nationally recognized expert on Veterans’ health and health care.  Dr. Washington is Director of the VA Office of Health Equity-Quality Enhancement Research Initiative National Partnered Evaluation Center. She is the Women’s Health Focused Research Area Lead for the VA HSR&D Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation, and Policy (CSHIIP); and she is Director of the VA-UCLA Advanced Fellowship in Women's Health.  Dr. Washington is a past recipient of the Society of General Internal Medicine’s Herbert Nickens Award. 

Special skills:
  • Methodologic expertise in using large, national VA administrative datasets, including use of this data for development of sampling frames, performance metrics, and quality measurement.
  • Experience conducting clinical trials, mixed-methods research, and VA-focused intervention design and implementation.

Jillian Weber, PhD

Research interests:

  • Chronic disease management
  • Access to care
  • Nurse-led interventions
  • Primary care treatment models (e.g., HPACT, collaborative care)
  • Health policy

Jillian Weber, PhD, RN is a Homeless-PACT RN case manager and nurse scientist with the Community Outreach Center at Cincinnati VA Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio. She also holds adjunct nursing faculty positions at Xavier University, Cincinnati, Ohio and Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, Standish, Maine.  In 2010, Dr. Weber received a VA VISN 10 Research Initiative Program grant to support her qualitative work of identifying the basic social and psychosocial processes used by homeless Veterans to manage their chronic health problems. The resulting theory of how Veterans “pursue the mission” of chronic disease management was published by Global Qualitative Health Nursing.  Dr. Weber’s expertise in Veterans’ health issues and work to expand nursing knowledge surrounding Veterans’ unique experiences led her to publish a legislative piece educating nurses on providing Veteran-specific care in the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing.

Special skills:

  • Qualitative methods
  • Nurse-led interventions


Michelle S. Wong, Ph.D.

Research interests:

  • Social determinants of health
  • Health equity
  • Housing insecurity

      Michelle S. Wong, PhD, is a Health Science Specialist at the VA Greater Los Angeles (VAGLA), Los Angeles, California. She earned a PhD in Public Health from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the Department of Health Policy and Management and completed the VA Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) postdoctoral fellowship at the VAGLA.

      She is interested in how healthcare system can improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations by addressing social determinants of health, such as housing, employment, and social support.

      Special skills:

      • GIS
      • Quantitative methods
      • Econometrics
      • Qualitative methods

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