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Dr. Michael Charness, chief medical officer, VA Boston Healthcare System.

Michael E. Charness MD

Chief of Staff

VA Boston health care


Dr. Charness became chief of staff for the VA Boston Healthcare System in 2003.

Dr. Charness earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from McGill University and his MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He served as resident in Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Charness was resident and chief resident in Neurology and postdoctoral fellow in neuroscience at UCSF. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Neurology.

Charness came to VA as a staff neurologist in 1989 and served as Chief of Neurology at the VA Boston Healthcare System from 1996 to 2003. He became Chief of Staff in 2003. He is professor of neurology and faculty associate dean at Harvard Medical School, and professor of neurology and associate dean at Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine.

Chair of the National VA Chief of Staff Advisory Council, Charness recently chaired the Chief Medical Officer Group Steering Committee of the Association of American Medical Colleges. He is scientific director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) -funded Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and chairs the External Scientific Board for the NIH-funded Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study.

Charness' laboratory research has delineated molecular mechanisms of alcohol toxicity in the nervous system and discovered drugs that block alcohol toxicity. He served as president of the Research Society on Alcoholism and as a member of the National Advisory Council of the NIAAA.