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VA Homeless Programs


Biographies of Center Employees


Biographies of Center Employees

Erika S. Barr, BS

Administrative Officer

Ms. Erika Barr is the Administrative Officer (AO) for the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans (NCHAV).  In this role, Ms. Barr is responsible for the administrative and management functions of NCHAV. Ms. Barr is a graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Health Care Management. 

Her VA career began in 2005, in Health Administration Service (HAS) as a Medical Support Assistant for various inpatient units at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital (JAHVH) in Tampa, Florida.  Since then, Ms. Barr gained various administrative experience through various roles as the Secretary in the Employee Education Office and Staff Assistant for the Chief of Staff’s office where she assisted the Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff, and Administrative Officer to the Chief of Staff with many day-to-day tasks and special projects.  Ms. Barr was further promoted to Administrative Officer (AO) for the JAHVH Dental Clinic, where she served as the first official AO for the clinic and later served as the first Medical Education Coordinator for the Employee Education Office, where she implemented several processes to improve/streamline trainee onboarding for JAHVH that are still being used today.  

Christina Cook-Carter

Program Support Assistant

Christina Cook-Carter began her federal career with the Internal Revenue Service, where she worked for 10 years as a Research Clerk. Prior to joining the Center, she was employed by the Philadelphia VA Medical Center as a Secretary in the Communications Department assisting the Public Affairs Officer and the Congressional Liaison in many capacities. Ms. Cook-Carter graduated from the School at Work Program. She also serves on the Philadelphia Veterans Parade Committee.  During her employment with the Communications Department, she was very active with arranging and setting up Town Hall meetings held amongst the Medical Center Leadership team and the local Veterans.

Roger Casey, PhD, LCSW

Director of Education & Dissemination

Roger Casey, PhD, LCSW is the Director of Education and Dissemination for the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans.  Dr. Casey holds a Master’s degree in Social Work, a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration, and a doctorate in Public Health.  Prior to helping establish the Center, he was the Director, VA’s Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program.  Dr. Casey has worked with the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop and provide guidance and administrative oversight for the VA component of the Collaborative Initiative to end Chronic Homelessness (CICH), served as Principal Investigator for the VA Homeless After-Care Study, initiated actions to create the Council of Network Homeless Coordinators, and developed administrative procedures to enhance contract residential treatment under the Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program. Dr. Casey’s research interests include homelessness, residential treatment models, and development and implementation of community-based practices that address the needs of individuals diagnosed with mental illness.

Derrick Crowley, MS, PHR

Management Analyst

Mr. Derrick Crowley joined our program office on 13 November 2017, as a Management Analyst for the VA’s National Center on Homelessness among Veterans (the Center).  In this capacity, he performs organizational and management responsibilities in the development of policies, procedures, and criteria for administration of the Center’s programs.  These activities include coordinating logistics for model development and education and training initiatives.  Previously, he served as an Education Program Specialist with Employee Development and training within the VA’s Office of Resolution Management.  In this capacity, he provided management, advice, and guidance throughout the agency on training related matters that impact the discrimination complaint resolution process. 

Mr. Crowley served 30 years in the United States Air Force, retiring as the Command Chief Master Sergeant of 6th Air Mobility Wing at MacDill Air Force Base.  In this position, he served as liaison between the wing commander and the enlisted force and provided leadership and direction for 3,000 men and women performing global air refueling and combatant commander airlift support in direct support of the Air Force’s Global Reach, Global Power missions, while additionally providing host installation support to the men and women of U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, and 51 other mission partners that call MacDill home.  He has a Master’s of Science in Organizational Management, a Bachelor’s degree in Occupational Education, and Master Certificates in Human Resource Management and Operations Management and Program Management.  In addition, he has his Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certification and obtained Certifications in Instructional Systems Design and Improving Human Performance.

Lily Dunbar

Program Support Assistant

Ms. Lily Dunbar began her federal career with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where she spent five years working as a Transportation Security Officer. Prior to joining the Center in February 2012, she was employed by the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital (JAHVH) as the Secretary to the Chief of Health Information Management Service (HIMS).  During her tenure with DHS, Ms. Dunbar received a Performance Award for her performance as part of a TSA team that helped evacuate hurricane Katrina victims from the New Orleans Airport. While at JAHVH, she was the co-chair and treasurer of the EEO Diversity Committee, and a member of Wellness Works and the Safety Committee.

Mitra Eframian, MHA, VHA-CM

Program Specialist

Mitra Eframian works with leadership to manage all aspects of the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, including coordinating contracts and research activities with the University of South Florida, Tampa’s university affiliate, and the implementation of national training activities. Ms. Eframian was the first full-time employee hired to work for the Center in October 2010.  She came from the VISN 8 office, where she served as the Health Science Specialist for the Mental Health Product Line and helped coordinate the delivery of mental health programs across the largest network of VA healthcare facilities.  Ms. Eframian has worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs for over 11 years now, holding a number of positions in multiple locations at the medical center-, VISN-, and now VACO-level.  She has experience working in various settings in VHA, including as the Administrative Officer of Mental Health & Behavioral Sciences Service at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC in Phoenix, the Program Analyst to the Chief of Medicine, Administrative Officer for Medicine Service, and the Inpatient Flow Coordinator for the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, and as an Administrative Fellow and Health System Management (HSM) Trainee, through the Graduate Health Administration Training Program (GHATP), for the Directors of the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System and Bay Pines VAHCS respectively.  Ms. Eframian holds a BA in Psychology from Indiana University and a Master of Health Administration from the University of Florida. 


Jeffrey A. Gluff, MLIS, AHIP

Research Coordinator

Mr. Jeffrey Gluff joins the VHA Homeless Programs Office, National Center on Homelessness among Veterans (NCHAV) as a Program Specialist (Research Coordinator).  NCHAV promotes and conducts research regarding the causes and contributing factors to Veterans homelessness. Mr. Gluff will coordinate and assist in managing these research efforts, collaborating with staff researchers, university affiliates, supported research, and intramural grant recipients.  For the past 7 years, Mr. Gluff has been working for the VA as a medical librarian at the Cincinnati VAMC. Much of his work since joining the VA has been focused on programming and research. One program he initiated was working with a domiciliary where, being an onsite librarian, he helped Veterans with employment assistance and developing computer skills. He has also helped synthesize research literature and write studies.

Mr. Gluff is a US Coast Guard Veteran and considers himself a military brat that comes from a very long lineage of military service. Going back many years, directly out of high school, he worked a year with AmeriCorps under the guidance of Habitat for Humanity and spent a year building homes in Fresno, California. Military and service work are two things he has always been passionate towards.  Mr. Gluff received a Masters’ in Library Science from Kent State University.  He has worked in many kinds of libraries, to include university, public, and adult and juvenile correctional facilities.  He drove a bookmobile for US Army libraries, both in Europe and USA.  His hobbies include rock climbing, the indoor kind with padded floors that is.  He enjoys building furniture and has dabbled in standup comedy, where he trained out of Second City in Chicago.

Dina Hooshyar, MD, MPH

Center Director

In March 2019, Dr. Dina Hooshyar joined us as the Director of the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans (NCHAV).   In this role, Dr. Hooshyar is responsible for leading the Center in the promotion and development of policy and practice that targets ending and preventing Veteran homelessness by supporting the implementation of relevant research findings into clinical practice; providing education / training for VA and community partners and disseminating evidence-based and emerging best practices; and developing new empirical knowledge.  Dr. Hooshyar has a background in internal medicine, psychiatry, and public health.  She obtained her medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and an infectious diseases fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  She subsequently earned a master's degree in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Epidemic Intelligence Service program.  She also served in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and completed her residency in psychiatry at Yale University.  

In 2010, Dr. Hooshyar became the Medical Director of VA North Texas Health Care System Mental Health Service’s Comprehensive Homeless Center Programs. During her tenure, she provided direct care to Veterans in an array of environments, including domiciliaries, shelters, their apartments, her office, and places not meant for human habitation. She also contributed to system change, including creating a one-stop homeless housing screening process, providing medical care at point-of-care, and expanding community partnerships. These achievements are highlighted in the Under Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Health’s Best Care Everywhere book published in 2017 and in peer-reviewed journals. The HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C virus testing program also was a finalist in the Veterans Health Administration Office of Community Engagement’s 2018 Community Partnership Challenge. In addition, Dr. Hooshyar was awarded a research grant to develop a manualized, evidence-based societal reintegration curriculum for Veterans experiencing homelessness.  In 2018, Dr. Hooshyar transitioned to the position of Physician Advisor in VA North Texas Health Care System’s Chief of Staff Office, reflecting her interest in developing a more nuanced understanding of the diverse services in the medical center and their interfaces with Veterans experiencing homelessness.  She is also an Associate Professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Nora Hunt-Johnson, MSEd

Health Science Specialist

Ms. Nora Hunt-Johnson is a Health Science Specialist for the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans where she currently works in the Center’s model development section, where she supports the review and development of interventions and programs with potential to improve the well-being of Veterans experiencing homelessness or risk of homelessness. Since joining the Center in 2012, Ms. Hunt-Johnson has served in a number of capacities, including research administration, coordination, and dissemination; project management; and communications. Previously she was a development director for two non-profits and then the principal project manager for an educational research center at the University of Pennsylvania. She has a Master of Science in Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania.


Dorota Szymkowiak, PhD

Health Science Specialist

Dr. Dorota Szymkowiak is a researcher with the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans. She specializes in secondary analyses of large administrative databases, including the Homeless Operations Management System (HOMES) and VA electronic medical records. Her collaborative projects have focused on acute health care super-utilization among homeless Veterans, eviction from VA’s permanent supportive housing, homelessness and housing instability among justice-involved Veterans participating in Veterans Justice Programs, and the relationship between homelessness and suicidality.

Jack Tsai, PhD

Director of Research

Jack Tsai, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist and Health Services Researcher and became the Director of Research for the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans in January 2019.  In this role, Dr. Tsai has responsibility for developing, coordinating, and implementing all aspects of the Center’s research, including oversight of collaborative efforts with scientists and researchers at other agencies and institutions.  Dr. Tsai’s primary role will be in meeting a significant function of the Center’s authorizing legislative intent in carrying out and promoting research into the causes and contributing factors to Veteran homelessness.

Dr. Tsai has been affiliated with the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans since its creation in 2009 when he was the Center’s first fellow. He has held several research and administrative roles in the VA and has over a decade of clinical experience providing direct patient care to Veterans. He is currently based at VA Connecticut and serves on the faculty at Yale School of Medicine where he is the Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Division of Mental Health Services Research. Dr. Tsai has published extensively on housing and healthcare services for homeless Veterans. He serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, and is an Associate Editor for Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.

We also have a list of the Center and Affiliated Researchers.  


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