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Here is a list of training opportunities available at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Health Care System.

Charleston VA Quality Scholars Fellowship (VAQS)


The Mission of the Charleston VAQS fellowship is to recruit and train future clinical leaders, researchers, and innovators specially equipped to improve access to healthcare and to promote equity in health services and outcomes for all Veterans, focusing on quality improvement and implementation science. Designed for physicians, nurses, and other clinicians interested in making Veteran healthcare equitable and accessible for marginalized and rural populations, it welcomes professionals to lead changes in VA policies, healthcare practices, and health outcomes.


The VAQS fellowship was established in 1999 by the Veterans Health Administration’s collaboration with Dartmouth faculty and researchers, and it is currently offered at 12 VA Medical Centers with a national coordinating center based at the Houston, Texas VAMC. The fellowship is a two-year residential program which links individualized training at each site with cross-site learning experiences. Fellows split their time between in-person clinical work, independent studies, and structured didactics while guided by a set of experienced mentors, and they receive specialized education through sets of both national and local coursework. The Fellowship’s educational element supplements the VAQS core curriculum with didactic and experiential learning opportunities in the areas of population health, social determinants of health, and vulnerable Veteran populations—with special focuses on female Veterans, racial/ethnic minority populations, and rural residents. Fellows receive individualized education through Master’s-level training in public health, clinical research methods, or clinical informatics based on learner-specified goals, and the individually crafted teams of experts who support each fellow ensure that they have the resources to not just develop, but also expand the scope of, their projects. Charleston’s VAQS program offers up to 3 positions per year for fellows to work with senior scholars in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and clinical psychology.


 Application Deadline: 

Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis annually beginning October 1st and ending March 1st.


Current Fellows:

Davis Austria, DNP, MSN, MBA, RN-BC, PMP

Nursing Informatics

Dr. Austria is currently working on three projects, Right Patient – Right Tray, CareCentra/VA Smart Use of Behavioral Economics (Nudging) for Management of Chronic Disease Conditions (Diabetes, Hypertension and Depression/Suicide), and eScreening Implementation in CBOCs.


New 2023 Fellows 

  • Carolyn Batie, DNP, FNP-C
  • Macelyn Batten, MD
  • Lakara Alston, DNP


Program Contact:

Charlene Pope, BSN, PhD, CNM, MPH

Senior Scholar, VAQS Fellowship

Chief Nurse for Research, VA Charleston Health Care

Investigator, HEROIC

Affiliate Associate Professor, MUSC

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Local Site:

National Site:

Charleston VA Health Service Research Fellowship (VA HSR) 


The Mission of the Charleston HSR fellowship is to recruit and train future health services researchers and innovators specially equipped for operations-partnered research and evaluation to improve access to and equity in health and healthcare for all Veterans.


The program aims to develop the next generation of health system scientists who will pioneer advancements in Veteran care through innovative research—specifically to make health services more accessible and equitable for Veterans of marginalized and rural groups. This two-year post-doctoral training program accepts clinician and non-clinician scientists for a rigorous fellowship centered around expanding care for targeted veteran populations and tackling disparities in health services. Fellows in the program will develop independent research projects, collaborate with interprofessional teams, engage in tailored clinical appointments, receive specialized health services training, and take on leadership roles with support from an experienced team of mentors. The close partnership between the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) means that members have access to a wealth of resources not just from a Level 1A VAMC but also the state's top hospital.


Application Deadline: 

Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis annually beginning October 1st and ending March 1st.


Current Fellows: 

Will Bryant, PhD, MA

Dr. Bryant is developing an interdisciplinary research program focused on LGBTQ+ health at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Health Care System and its academic affiliate, the Medical University of South Carolina. His initiative involves critically examining the use of psychological assessment and measurement with underrepresented populations, the implications for health outcomes and health equity, and the consideration of health-relevant factors such as minority stress. With mentors and collaborators across the country, he hopes to maintain Charleston as a premier destination for those passionate about serving diverse Veterans.

Cory, Stanton, PhD

Clinical Psychology



New Fellow Joining September 2023, Janet Horn, PhD


Program Contacts:

Kelly J. Hunt, PhD

Program Director, VA HSR Fellowship

Senior VA Research Scientist

Professor of Epidemiology, MUSC


R. Neal Axon, MD

Program Co-Director, VA HSR Fellowship

Director, HEROIC

Professor of Medicine, MUSC


Local Site:

VA Advanced Fellowship in Mental Illness Research and Treatment (MIRECC)

The MIRECC Psychology Fellowship Program at the Charleston VAMC supports the professional development of research-focused psychologists to become clinical researchers in the innovative approaches to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and its comorbidities.


Over the course of the two-year program, fellows receive intensive mentoring and didactics in clinical research competencies such as grant writing, research design, and ethics while receiving supervised clinical training in cutting-edge treatments and programs. The Charleston VAMC’s Advanced Fellowship Program is affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).


Fellows spend the majority of their time conducting clinical research, supplemented with supervised direct service delivery, and participate in regular didactics (which includes face-to-face, individual supervision from a licensed psychologist for clinical and research activities), and they have the opportunity to engage in administrative experiences to support their professional growth and individual goals. In collaboration with research mentors, fellows are expected to develop and implement a research pilot project, publish and present findings, and utilize the latest technology for educational activities and clinical service delivery. Applying for independent federal grant funding is strongly encouraged (e.g., through the VA Career Development Award).


Application Deadline: 

Applications are accepted up until November 1st at 11:59


Current Fellows

Program Contacts: 
Dan Gros, PhD

Co-Director, MIRECC Psychology Fellowship Program


Elizabeth Santa Ana, PhD

Co-Director, MIRECC Psychology Fellowship Program


Local Site:

National Site:

Brochure: MIRECC Fellowship in Innovative Approaches to PTSD and Its Comorbidities – Charleston (DOCX)


If you are a Veteran interested in research at the Charleston VAMC and its impact on the healthcare of Veterans, and you would like to learn more about how to serve on the Veterans Research Engagement Board (VREB), please contact or