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HEROIC Investigators

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

HEROIC’s experienced body of investigators brings a variety of multidisciplinary skills to VA, including (1) chronic disease management (such as diabetes, hypertension, severe mental illnesses); (2) treatment for medical-psychiatric comorbidities; (3) novel intervention development for specific medical and psychiatric conditions (most notably diabetes, stroke, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression); (4) developing technology (like telehealth applications) to promote accessible healthcare; and (5) creating programs that reduce disparities across the full continuum of care.

Leadership

Neak

R. Neal Axon MD, MSCR

Director, HEROIC COIN Senior Physician Scholar, VA Quality Scholars Fellowship (VAQS) Co-Director, Charleston Health Services Research Fellowship (HSR) Professor of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: Robert.Axon@va.gov

Ekizabeth

Elizabeth Santa Ana PhD

Associate Director, HEROIC COIN Senior Psychology Scholar, VA Quality Scholars Fellowship Co-Director, Mental Illness Research and Treatment Psychology Fellowship Program (MIRECC) Licensed Clinical Psychologist Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System Associate Professor, Medical University of South Carolina VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: Elizabeth.SantaAna2@va.gov

Core Investigators

Ruth

Ruth Adekunle MD

Infectious Disease Specialist Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: Ruth.Adekunle2@va.gov

Back

Sudie Back PhD

Staff Psychologist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System Clinical Psychologist, Professor, and Director of the NIH-sponsored Drug Abuse Research Training programs (DART), Medical University of South Carolina VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: backs@musc.edu

Melanie Davis PhD

Biostatistician Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: Melanie.Davis2@va.gov

Florez

Hermes Florez MD, PhD, MPH

Public Health Physician-Scientist Endocrinology Medical Service, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: Hermes.Florez@va.gov

Frey

Lewis Frey PhD

Computer Scientist and Biomedical Informatics Scientist Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: Lewis.Frey@va.gov

Gebregziabher

Mulugeta Gebregziabher PhD

Biostatistics Core Leader, HEROIC Biostatistician Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System Professor, Vice Chair of Academic Programs, and Director of SC Public Health Training Center, Medical University of South Carolina VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: Mulugeta.Gebregziabher@va.gov

Dr. Gross

Daniel Gros PHD

Co-Director, Mental Illness Research and Treatment Psychology Fellowship Program Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina

VA Charleston health care

Anouk

Anouk Grubaugh PhD

Access/Telemedicine Core Leader, HEROIC Clinical Psychologist Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Medical University of South Carolina VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: grubaugh@musc.edu

Halford

Jonathan Halford MD

Clinical Neurologist Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System Professor of Neurology, Director of the Translational Unit for the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery, and Associate Director for Technical Development for the Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory, Medical University of South Carolina VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: Jonathan.Halford@va.gov

Kathie Hermayer MD

Staff Physician, Ralph H. Johnson 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

Director, Charleston Health Services Research Fellowship Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiologist Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Medical University of South Carolina VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: huntke@musc.edu

Ahmed

Ahmed Mohamed PhD

Population Health Epidemiologist Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: Ahmed.Mohamed1@va.gov

Ursula

Ursula Myers PhD

Clinical Psychologist Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System Assistant Professor in the Military Sciences Division of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: Ursula.Myers@va.gov

Brian

Brian Neelon PhD

Biostatistician and Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System Professor of Biostatistics in the Department of Public Health Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: neelon@musc.edu

John Pearce PhD

Assistant Professor of Environmental Health and Leader of the Air Quality Lab, Medical University of South Carolina VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: pearcejo@musc.edu

Pope

Charlene Pope PhD, MPH, CNM, BSN

Senior Nursing Scholar, VA Quality Scholars Fellowship Chief Nurse for Research, Sociolinguist, and Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System Associate Professor, College of Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Phone: (843)789-6577 Ext 206577

Email: charlene.pope@va.gov

Ken

Ken Ruggiero PhD

Professor, Departments of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina Director, Trauma Resilience and Recovery Program (TRRP) SmartState Endowed Chair, Technology Applications Center for Healthful Lifestyles (TACHL) VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: ruggierk@musc.edu

David

David Taber PharmD

Senior Pharmacy Scholar, VA Quality Scholars Fellowship Clinical Pharmacy Practitioner (CPP) in Solid Organ Transplantation, Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System Professor of Surgery and Associate Vice Chair of Clinical Research, Department of Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: David.Taber2@va.gov

Tanner

Nichole Tanner MD

Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician, Research Health Scientist, Director of Lung Cancer Screening, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System Professor of Medicine; Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy & Sleep Medicine; Medical University of South Carolina VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: Nichole.Tanner@va.gov

Ralph

Ralph Ward PhD

Biostatistician, Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System Assistant Professor, Medical University of South Carolina VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: Ralph.Ward@va.gov

Erin

Erin Weeda Pharm D

Clinical Pharmacist Research Health Scientist, Ralph H. Johnson VA Healthcare System VA Charleston Healthcare

VA Charleston health care

Email: Erin.Weeda@va.gov

Affiliate Investigators

Prabhakar Baliga, MD 

Boyd Davis, PhD 

Jyotika Fernandes, MD 

Valerian Fernandes, MD 

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