Biographies of Key Personnel - Veterans Experiencing Homelessness
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Veterans Experiencing Homelessness

 

Biographies of Key Personnel

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Biographies of Key Personnel

Dina Hooshyar, MD

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 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. Hoosyar 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.  


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 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 Associate Editor for Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.


Roger Casey, PhD, LCSW

Director of Education & Dissemination

Roger Casey, PhD, LCSW is the Director of Education and Dissemination for the 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 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.


Susan Vieira

Susan Vieira joined the Center in August 2012 and manages operations for the Center. In addition she serves as the lead for strategic planning as well as communications and coordination of projects across the various Center core areas.  Ms. Vieira was previously the national lead for the VHA Health Care Efficiency transformation initiative. She holds a Master of Science in HealthCare Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology. She is board certified in Health Care Management and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. With 40 years of health care experience, including over 35 years with VHA, she has held positions in the areas of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Rehabilitation Medicine, Contracting, Quality Management, Workforce Development and Strategic Planning. Ms. Vieira has also been involved in research and is published in the area of pharmacokinetics.


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. 


Eric Elbogen, PhD

Health Science Specialist

Eric Elbogen, PhD joined the the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans as a research-oriented Health Science Specialist where he will serve as a core investigator for the Research Core and have a leadership role in the post-graduate fellowship program being developed by the NCHAV.  Prior to joining the Center as a dedicated employee, he had been an affiliated researcher since August 2019.  Before that, Dr. Elbogen served as a psychologist at the Durham VA Health Care System for the past decade.  He also holds the position of Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine.  Dr. Elbogen received a BA from Cornell University and an M.Ed. from Harvard University before earning a PhD in Clinical-Forensic Psychology at the University of Nebraska.  He completed a Clinical Psychology Internship at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts Mental Health Center and a Health Services Research Fellowship at Duke.  Dr. Elbogen is board-certified in forensic psychology, conducting empirical research at the intersection of law, policy, and mental health services, with a specific focus on military Veterans. Dr. Elbogen’s research has focused examining the effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) on post-deployment adjustment among Veterans, specifically violence, criminal justice involvement, substance abuse, suicide, and homelessness.  He has been Principal Investigator of a randomized clinical trial testing a psychosocial recovery-oriented money management intervention for Veterans with psychiatric disabilities and of a nationally representative longitudinal survey of Veterans identifying a significant link between homelessness and financial literacy.


Sebrina Posey, MSW, LCSW

Education Coordinator

Ms. Sebrina Posey is the Education Coordinator (Management Analyst) for the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans (NCHAV).  In this role, Ms. Posey is responsible for developing, promoting, implementing, and evaluating national education and technical assistance initiatives for NCHAV.

Ms. Posey has been with the Veterans Health Administration at the local medical center level since 1991, but has worked in the field of social work since 1988.   Upon graduating with her BSW from the University of South Florida (USF), she worked within the community day program, Project Return, for the Seriously Mentally Ill (SMI) population.  She returned in 1990 to Florida State University (FSU), School of Social Work, to complete her MSW and has since worked under both the medical and mental health sides of the health care system.  Ms. Posey has a vast background of experience within education, curriculum development, program management, project management, as well as direct care social work.  Highlights within her career include:  education, communications, whole health, HBPC, psychiatry, women’s mental health, suicide prevention, polytrauma (traumatic brain injury), and spinal cord injury.  Her most recent role within the James A. Haley Veteran Hospital (JAHVH) in Tampa, Florida was the Whole Health Program Manager where she assisted with building the Whole Health Service within JAHVH from a team of three employees to a team of 80 within a two-year period.  Ms. Posey also holds a part-time position with the Boston University, School of Social Work, Online MSW Program as a Field Advisor. 


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.  


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.


Kandarp "Kan" Mehta, MS

Program Specialist-Research Coordinator

Kandarp Mehta works within the Research Core of the National Center on Homelessness among Veterans as a Program Specialist-Research Coordinator.  A US Army Veteran, Mr. Mehta earned his MS in Pharmacology and Toxicology, and has held several positions within VA Research since he joined the VA in 2012.  He is working on several projects under the guidance of Dr. Tsai and has been helping to establish and manage Homeless Veterans Research Engagement Panel (HV-REP). 


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.


Michal Wilson, MD

Medical Advisor, Homeless Programs



To see a list of the Center and Affiliated Researchers, click here. 

 

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