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HEROIC Investigators

HEROIC brings together unique talent and expertise from a multidisciplinary group of investigators.

HEROIC brings together unique talent and expertise from a multidisciplinary group of investigators including specialized expertise in (1) management of chronic diseases (i.e., diabetes, hypertension, severe mental illnesses) and comorbid medical and psychiatric conditions; (2) novel intervention development for a range of medical and psychiatric conditions, most notably diabetes, stroke, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression; (3) use of technology to facilitate access to care (i.e., telehealth applications, web interventions); and (4) novel intervention development to reduce disparities across the full continuum of care (i.e., primary care, inpatient hospitalization, transitional care).

Leadership

Neak

R. Neal Axon MD, MSCR

Director, HEROIC COIN, Senior Scholar for the VA Quality Scholars Training Program Co-Director for the Charleston Health Services Research Fellowship Professor of Medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina

VA Charleston health care

Email: Robert.Axon@va.gov

Ekizabeth

Elizabeth Santa Ana PhD

Associate Director, HEROIC COIN Licensed Clinical Psychologist; Research Health Scientist, RHJ VA Healthcare System Associate Professor, Medical University of South Carolina; Co-Director VA Advanced Fellowship in Mental Illness Research and Treatment (MIRECC)

VA Charleston health care

Email: Elizabeth.SantaAna2@va.gov

Core investigators

Ruth

Ruth Adekunle MD

Infectious Disease Specialist; Research Health Scientist, RHJ VA Healthcare System Assistant Professor Department of Medicine, MUSC

VA Charleston health care

Email: Ruth.Adekunle2@va.gov

Back

Sudie Back PhD

Clinical Psychologist, professor, and director of the NIH-sponsored Drug Abuse Research Training (DART) programs, Medical University of South Carolina Staff Psychologist, RHJ VA Healthcare System

VA Charleston health care

Email: backs@musc.edu

Melanie Davis PhD

Biostatistician; Research Health Scientist, RHJ VA Healthcare System

VA Charleston health care

Email: Melanie.Davis2@va.gov

Florez

Hermes Florez MD, PhD, MPH

Public Health Physician-Scientist; Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina Endocrinology Medical Service at the RHJ VA Healthcare System

VA Charleston health care

Email: Hermes.Florez@va.gov

Frey

Lewis Frey PhD

Computer Scientist/Biomedical Informatics; Research Health Scientist, RHJ VA Healthcare System

VA Charleston health care

Email: Lewis.Frey@va.gov

Gebregziabher

Mulugeta Gebregziabher PhD

Research Health Scientist, RHJ VA Healthcare System; Biostatistician; Biostatistics Core Leader for HEROIC  Professor and Vice Chair of Academic Programs; Director of SC Public Health Training Center, Medical University of South Carolina

VA Charleston health care

Email: Mulugeta.Gebregziabher@va.gov

Anouk

Anouk Grubaugh PhD

Clinical Psychologist; Access/Telemedicine Core Leader for HEROIC; Research Health Scientist, RHJ VA Healthcare System Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Medical University of South Carolina

VA Charleston health care

Email: grubaugh@musc.edu

Halford

Jonathan Halford MD

Clinical Neurologist; Research Health Scientist, RHJ VA Healthcare System Professor of Neurology, the Director of the Translational Research Unit for the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery, and the Associate Director for Technical Development for the MUSC Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory, Medical University of South Carolina

VA Charleston health care

Email: Jonathan.Halford@va.gov

Kathie Hermayer MD

Staff Physician, RHJ VA Healthcare System; Associate Professor of Medicine and Endocrinology in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Medical Genetics Medical University of South Carolina

VA Charleston health care

Email: Kathie.Hermayer@va.gov

Kelly

Kelly Hunt PhD

Diabetes and cardiovascular disease epidemiologist; Research Health Scientist, RHJ VA Healthcare System; Director of Health Services Research Fellowship Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Medical University of South Carolina

VA Charleston health care

Email: Kelly.Hunt@va.gov

Ahmed

Ahmed Mohamed PhD

Population Health Epidemiologist; Research Health Scientist, RHJ VA Healthcare System

VA Charleston health care

Email: AhmedMohamed1@va.gov

Ursula

Ursula Myers PhD

Clinical Psychologist; RHJ VA Healthcare System Research Assistant Professor in the Military Sciences Division of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina

VA Charleston health care

Email: Ursula.Myers@va.gov

Brian

Brian Neelon PhD

Biostatistician, Research Health Scientist, RHJ VA Healthcare System Associate Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina

VA Charleston health care

Email: neelon@musc.edu

John Pearce PhD

Assistant Professor of Environmental Health and the leader of the Air Quality Lab at MUSC

VA Charleston health care

Email: pearcejo@musc.edu

Pope

Charlene Pope PhD, MPH, CNM, BSN

Sociolinguist, Research Health Scientist, RHJ VA Healthcare System Associate Professor, College of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina

VA Charleston health care

Phone: 843-789-6577

Email: charlene.pope@va.gov

Ken

Ken Ruggiero PhD

Professor Departments of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Nursing at MUSC; SmartState Endowed Chair of the Technology Applications Center for Healthful Lifestyles (TACHL); Director of the Trauma Resilience and Recovery Program

VA Charleston health care

Email: ruggierk@musc.edu

David

David Taber PharmD

Clinical Pharmacy Practitioner (CPP) in Solid Organ Transplantation, Research Health Scientist, RHJ VA Healthcare System Professor of Surgery, Associate Vice Chair of Clinical Research, Department of Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina

VA Charleston health care

Email: David.Taber2@va.gov

Tanner

Nichole Tanner MD

Pulmonology and Critical Care; Staff Physician, Director Lung Cancer Screening; Research Health Scientist, RHJ VA Healthcare System; Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary and Critical Care, Medical University of South Carolina

VA Charleston health care

Email: Nichole.Tanner@va.gov

Ralph

Ralph Ward PhD

Biostatistician, Research Health Scientist, RHJ VA Healthcare System Research Assistant Professor, Medical University of South Carolina

VA Charleston health care

Email: Ralph.Ward@va.gov

Erin

Erin Weeda Pharm D

Clinical Pharmacist; Research Health Scientist, RHJ VA Healthcare System

VA Charleston health care

Email: Erin.Weeda@va.gov

Affiliate Investigators

Prabhakar Baliga, MD 

Boyd Davis, PhD 

Jyotika Fernandes, MD 

Valerian Fernandes, MD 

Daniel Gros, PhD 

Mark Hamner, MD 

Johann Herberth, MD 

Michael Horner, PhD 

Chanita Hughes-Halbert, PhD  

Leslie Lenert, MD 

Cheryl Lynch, MD 

Patrick Mauldin, PhD 

Hugh Myrick, MD 

Paul Nietert, PhD 

Don Rockey, MD 

Andrew Schreiner, MD, MSCR

Gerard Silvestri, MD 

Lisa Sternke, PhD 

Tara Wright, MD 

Cole Zanetti, DO 

 

Administrative & Support Staff

Katherine Beavis, Ph.D.

Program Support Assistant 

Kinfe Bishu, Ph.D., MSc, BA

Data Analyst 

Tina Cooper, BA

Program Support Assistant 

Holly Gauthier-Wetzel, Ph.D., MSN, BSN, RN-BC

Program Support Assistant 

Scott Goss, MBA

Budget Analyst 

Casey Hall, Ph.D., MAA, BA

Program Support Assistant 

Polly Hamilton, MSN, RN

Program Support Assistant 

 Kayla Lamb, BS

Program Support Assistant 

 Karen Slawson, MA, BA, LPC

Administrative Officer