Seattle Investigator Biographies - Seattle-Denver Center of Innovation (COIN)
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Seattle-Denver Center of Innovation (COIN)

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Seattle Investigator Biographies

Click here for a complete list of Seattle-Denver investigators. 

David Au, MD, MS
I am a pulmonary and critical care physician and have had a long interest in improving delivery of care to patients with COPD and lung cancer. I have particular interest in improving delivery of care in the outpatient setting and in the primary care environment. I am a founding member of the CONCERT-CER network, serve on the steering committee and have led efforts at developing national CER priorities for COPD. I currently chair the NCQA respiratory measurement assessment panel and am a member of a CMS working group developing performance measures for COPD. I have experience at conducting multisite intervention trials in primary care settings and significant experience with the acquisition and use of data from VA national data sources. I co-Direct the Office of Specialty Care Transformation Evaluation Center as well as lead the pulmonary Specialty Care Access Network, Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes for VISN20. Publications

Lauren A. Beste, MD, MSc, FACP
Dr. Beste is an Affiliate Investigator with HSR&D. Her research interests include improving care for patients with chronic liver disease, particularly viral hepatitis, with emphasis on the role of primary care providers. She is the Director of the Data and Analysis Group for the VA’s national HIV, Hepatitis, and Related Conditions Programs Office and Associate Program Director for VISN 20’s Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (VA-ECHO) hepatology telemedicine program. Dr. Beste practices internal medicine and hepatology at the VA Puget Sound. She is an Associate Professor in the University of Washington School of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine. Dr. Beste received her MD from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and her MSc in Health Services at the University of Washington. She is a proud 2009 graduate of VA Puget Sound’s HSR&D Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Primary Care. Publications
Related Links: Twitter, LinkedIn

Lisa S. Callegari, MD, MS
Lisa Callegari is an obstetrician gynecologist and health services researcher. Her work focuses on using evidence-based strategies and technology to promote effective provider-patient communication and patient-centered care in reproductive health. Her HSR&D-funded Career Development Award is to develop and test a computerized tool to support shared decision making conversations about pregnancy timing, preconception health, and contraceptive options. Ultimately, her research aims to reduce unintended pregnancy and improve pregnancy and long-term health outcomes among women Veterans. She attended Harvard University for medical school and the University of California, San Francisco for her residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology. After working in clinical practice for several years, she completed an MPH in epidemiology at the University of Washington and a VA postdoctoral fellowship in health services research. She is currently Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Washington and a Core Investigator at the VA HSR&D Seattle-Denver Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care. Publications

Jacob A. Doll, MD
Dr. Doll is an interventional cardiologist anad health services researcher. He is a staff cardiologist at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System and an Acting Assistant Professor at the University of Washington. His research interests include cardiac interventions and post-myocardial infarction care, with a focus on medication adherence and increasing patient involvement in decision-making. He also studies clinician assessment and feedback as a method of quality improvement. He received his MD at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, his residency training at the University of Chicago, and completed a general cardiology fellowship, interventional cardiology fellowship and research training at Duke University and the Duke Clinical Research Institute. Publications

Jason A. Dominitz, MD, MHS
Dr. Dominitz is an Investigator with HSR&D, the National Director of the Gastroenterology Program in the Office of Specialty Care Services for the Veterans Health Administration a staff gastroenterologist at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. He is also a Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, at the University of Washington. Dr. Dominitz co-chairs VA Cooperative Study #577: Colonoscopy vs. Fecal Immunochemical Test in Reducing Mortality from Colorectal Cancer (CONFIRM). His research interests include colorectal cancer screening, quality improvement and quality of care for gastrointestinal and liver diseases. Dr. Dominitz received his BA from Johns Hopkins University, his MD from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and his MHS from Duke University School of Medicine. He is also a graduate of the Durham VA’s HSR&D Fellowship Program. Publications

Vincent S. Fan, MD, MPH
Dr. Fan is a Core Investigator with HSR&D and Associate Professor, Department of Medicine at the University of Washington. His research interests include behavioral interventions to improve chronic management of chronic illnesses as well as health services research to improve the quality of care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. His research focuses on the effect of psychological symptoms on management of chronic illness as well as using new technology to improve management of chronic diseases. Dr. Fan received his MD form the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis Minnesota and his MPH from the School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology at the University of Washington. Publications

Laura C. Feemster, MD, MS
Dr. Feemster is a Core Investigator and Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care at the University of Washington. Her research interests include studying the effect of patient health behaviors (e.g. smoking, alcohol use, and obesity) on clinical outcomes among patients with lung disease and improving the quality of care for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She is currently funded through a NIH K23 award that seeks to improve quality and delivery of care provided within primary care settings. Dr. Feemster received her MD from the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School at Dallas. She received an MS from the University of Washington, School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology. Publications

Eric J. Hawkins, PhD
Dr. Hawkins is an Investigator with HSR&D and the Associate Director of the Seattle Center of Excellence in Substance Addiction Treatment and Education (CESATE), one of two national VA centers devoted to improving the quality of care and clinical outcomes of veterans with substance use conditions. He also is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington and a licensed clinical psychologist in Washington State. His primary research interests include improving access to and evaluating pharmacotherapy and behavioral health interventions for Veterans with alcohol and/or drug misuse conditions. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Brigham Young University and a graduate of the VA Puget Sound’s HSR&D Fellowship Program. Publications

Paul L. Hebert, PhD
Dr. Hebert is a Core Investigator and economist with HSR&D and was previously Assistant Professor, Department of Health Policy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine. His research interests include racial disparities in health, chronic disease management, and comparative effectiveness analysis. He received his PhD in Health Services Research from the University of Minnesota and a BA in economics from Georgetown University. Publications



Christian D. Helfrich, PhD, MPH
Dr. Helfrich is a Core Investigator with HSR&D, Research Assistant Professor, Department of Health Services at the University of Washington School of Public Health, and Implementation Research Coordinator for the VA Ischemic Heart Disease Quality Enhancement Research Initiative, a collaboration between VA Health Services Research and Clinical Operations to speed the adoption and implementation of evidence-based practices for priority conditions among Veterans. Dr. Helfrich is also Chair of the Organizational Function Working Group, a part of the VA Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) Demonstration Laboratory Coordinating Center, which is tasked with evaluating the implementation of a patient-centered medical home model in VA. His primary research interests are organizational change and implementation science, specifically on assessing organizational readiness to change in the context of evidence-based practices, and factors influencing implementation of large scale initiatives. Dr. Helfrich received his PhD in Health Policy and Management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his MPH from the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington School of Public Health. Publications

Katherine D. Hoerster, PhD, MPH
My work primarily focuses on reducing the disproportionate chronic disease burden facing people with PTSD and other mental health conditions. I am funded with a 5-year VA HSR&D Career Development Award to develop a behavioral weight loss program for overweight Veterans with PTSD, called MOVE!+UP. In 2020 I will launch a VA Merit (R01-level)-funded study to test MOVE!+UP in a hybrid effectiveness and implementation randomized controlled trial. I am also PI on a VA Merit pragmatic clinical trial to test a remote behavioral weight loss intervention among 500 obese Veterans. I am Principal Investigator for an HSR&D- and MIRECC-funded survey study that examines the role of social and neighborhood factors in prevention and management of chronic disease among Veterans. Lastly, I also have an interest in maximizing research impact by communicating about science to the public and policymakers. Publications

George N. Ioannou, MD, MS
Dr. Ioannou is an Investigator with HSR&D, Director of Hepatology at VA Puget Sound health Care System and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington. His research interests include the epidemiology of chronic liver disease, hepatocellular carcinoma, NAFLD, optimizing outcomes in liver transplantation, antiviral treatment for hepatitis C virus and predictive modeling. He received his MD from Oxford University and his MS from the School of Public health, Division of Epidemiology at the University of Washington. Publications


Jodie G. Katon, PhD, MS
Dr. Jodie Katon is an epidemiologist and health services researcher. She is a Core Investigator at the VA Puget Sound Health Services Research and Development Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care, and a Research Assistant Professor in the University of Washington Department of Health Services.  Prior to her present role she served as a Senior Reproductive Epidemiology Consultant for the VA Office of Women's Health Services.  Dr. Katon holds a MS in epidemiology from the University of California Los Angeles and a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Washington. Her research focuses on reproductive and sexual health, the intersections of these with mental health and chronic disease, and health equity.  Her five-year VA Career Development Award seeks to understand women Veterans' access, utilization, and outcomes of VA maternity care with the goal of identifying modifiable risk factors and acceptable strategies for enhancing care and improving outcomes for pregnant Veterans.  In addition to her Career Development Award Dr. Katon is a Co-PI on an Investigator Initiated Research award focused on equity in gynecology care for uterine fibroids in VA.  Dr. Katon co-leads the VA Reproductive Health Work Group and is an active member of the Seattle chapter of 500 Women Scientists, an organization that advocates for equity, justice, and inclusivity in the sciences; increased scientific literacy through public engagement; engagement in science policy; and empowering women in science. Publications

Keren Lehavot, PhD
Dr. Lehavot is a Core Investigator with HSR&D and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. She is a clinical psychologist by training and provides clinical care in the PTSD Outpatient Clinic at VA Puget Sound. Her research interests focus on health disparities for vulnerable populations, LGBT issues, risk factors and consequences of trauma, and targeted treatments for women Veterans with mental health concerns. She was awarded a VA CSR&D-funded Career Development Award focused on adapting and evaluating a web-based PTSD intervention for women Veterans (2014-2019). Her current projects focus on identifying and understanding health disparities for LGBT Veterans and examining prosthetic outcomes for women Veteran amputees. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Washington. Publications

Alyson J. Littman, PhD
Dr. Littman is an Research Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington and an Epidemiologist with the Seattle Epidemiologic Research and Information Center. She conducts research in several areas including lower limb amputation and physical activity and weight management. She is the PI/Co-PI of a study on outcomes after toe amputation in Veterans with diabetes and a second study on prosthetic needs and outcomes in women Veteran amputees. Additionally, she is co-leading a study on nature contact and hiking in Veterans with PTSD.  Dr. Littman’s research includes observational studies, randomized trials, and mixed method research. At the University of Washington, she co-teaches a course on Applied Epidemiologic Methods (Epi 514). Publications

Charles C. Maynard, PhD, MSW
Dr. Maynard is an affiliate investigator with HSR&D and Research Professor Emeritus in the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington. His research interests include service connected disability, cardiovascular data analysis and VA administrative databases. He received his PhD in Sociology and MSW from the University of Washington. Publications




Karin M. Nelson, MD, MSHS
Karin (“Kari”) Nelson, MD, MSHS, is a general internist and health services researcher at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. She is a Professor of Medicine in the University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine, Adjunct Professor in the UW School of Public Health and core investigator at the Seattle Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) Center of Innovation (COIN). Dr. Nelson is the director of the Primary Care Analytics Team (PCAT) for the VHA’s Office of Primary Care. As an investigator for the PACT national evaluation, she won the 2015 VHA HSR&D’s Best Research Paper of the Year Award for Nelson, et al. “Implementation of the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA)” published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Her primary research focus is in improving disease self-management, focusing on peer support interventions. She actively mentors many junior faculty and is Co-Director for the MD fellowship program in the Seattle HSR&D COIN. She is a primary care physician at the VA Puget Sound. Dr. Nelson received her medical degree from the University of Minnesota, and her Masters in Health Services from UCLA. Publications

Ann M. O’Hare, MD
Dr. O’Hare is a nephrologist and health services researcher who is a staff physician at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington, and Affiliate Investigator at Kaiser Permanente Research Institute. Her major clinical and research interest is in the care of older adults with chronic kidney disease. She is a former recipient of a VA HSR&D career development award and a Beeson Career Development Award from the NIA. She currently serves as a PI on a VA IIR focused on the impact of VA community care policy on outcomes among veterans with advanced kidney disease.  She is also a co-investigator on an NIDDK contract for the United States Renal Data System, a national registry for end-stage kidney disease.  She lives in Seattle with her husband, two teenage children and poorly trained labradoodle (Bubba O’Hare). Publications

Lynn F. Reinke, PhD, ARNP
Dr. Reinke is a Core Investigator with HSR&D and Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Nursing & Health Systems at the University of Washington. Her research interests include end-of-life communication for patients with life-limiting illnesses and testing palliative care interventions for patients newly diagnosed with lung cancer. Dr. Reinke received a PhD in Nursing from the University of Washington and a Master’s degree in Pulmonary Nursing from the University of Pittsburgh. Publications


Andrew J. Saxon, MD
Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine
Director, Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education, VA Puget Sound Health Care System
Preceding his entry into psychiatry, Dr. Saxon completed an internal medicine internship and worked for 4 years as an emergency room physician. Subsequent to his general psychiatry residency at the University of Washington, Dr. Saxon has more than a quarter century of experience as a clinical and research addiction psychiatrist. Dr. Saxon is board certified with added qualifications in addiction psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Saxon sits on the editorial boards of the journals, Drug and Alcohol Dependence and General Hospital Psychiatry and is section editor for substance use disorders for UpToDate. He is a lifetime Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, where he served from 2017-2019 as that organization’s Chair of the Council on Addiction Psychiatry, and a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, as well as a member of College on Problems of Drug Dependence and of American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.

Dr. Saxon’s current research work is supported by the VA, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and National Institute of Mental Health and involves pharmacotherapies and psychotherapies for alcohol, tobacco, and opioid use disorders, work in co-occurrence of substance use disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder, phenomenology and epidemiology of cannabis use, and treatment of substance use in primary care. He has more than 150 papers published in peer reviewed journals and has done numerous conference presentations. Publications

Emily C. Williams, PhD, MPH
Dr. Williams is an addictions health services and disparities researcher and an implementation scientist. She has a joint appointment as a core investigator and co-director of the post-doctoral fellowship at the Denver-Seattle Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered Value-Driven Care at VA Puget Sound Health Services Research & Development and an Associate Professor of Health Services and Director of the Doctoral Program in Health Services at the University of Washington. Her work is focused on increasing access to evidence-based treatments for unhealthy alcohol and other substance use in primary care settings, as well as specialty settings serving patients with HIV and Hepatitis-C, and understanding equity in this care for vulnerable patient populations. Dr. Williams completed a VA HSR&D Career Development Award and her work has included epidemiologic evaluations of alcohol screening questionnaires; descriptions of, and outcomes associated with, patient readiness to change drinking; evaluations of racial, gender, and geographic disparities in the correlates and management of unhealthy alcohol use in the VA; and mixed-methods evaluations of the VA’s implementation of alcohol screening and brief intervention—an accomplishment for which the VA has been recognized as an international leader. She currently leads research focused on understanding patterns of alcohol use and care across transgender status, tailoring and testing practice facilitation to implement evidence-based alcohol-related care in hepatology clinics, and increasing access to medications for opioid use disorders in primary care.

Dr. Williams has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications and has served as an Associate Editor for Addiction Science & Clinical Practice,  which publishes clinically relevant research and perspectives that contribute to improving the quality of care for people with unhealthy alcohol, tobacco, or other drug use and addictive behaviors across a spectrum of clinical settings, since its inception as an open access journal in 2012. She also serves on the board of the NIDA-funded NYU Substance Abuse Research, Education, and Treatment training program and on the Addictions Health Services Research Conference planning committee. She served on the international coordinating committee of the International Network on Evidence-based Brief Interventions for Alcohol and Drugs (INEBRIA) for 6 years and was the co-leader for the Behavioral Health theme for the 2018 and 2019 Academy Health Research Conference.  She completed undergraduate training in political science at Lewis & Clark College, a master’s degree in public health law at Boston University, and a PhD in Health Services from the University of Washington.  She completed a fellowship with the Implementation Research Institute at Washington University. Publications

Edwin S. Wong, PhD, MA
Dr. Wong is a Core Investigator and economist with HSR&D and Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington. His research focuses on Veterans’ health care demand, econometric methods to improve measurement of health system performance and cost-effectiveness analysis. His HSR&D-funded Career Development Award seeks to identify key determinants of dual use of VA and non-VA care, and most notably examines the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act on Veterans’ choice of VA as a source of care. Dr. Wong received his PhD in Economics from the University of Washington. Publications

Susan P. Y. Wong, MD, MS
Dr. Wong is a Core Investigator at the COIN, an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology at the University of Washington and a nephrologist at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle, WA. She received her medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and her internal medicine and nephrology training, master of science in epidemiology, and graduate certificates in palliative care and clinical ethics from the University of Washington. She receives funding from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, National Palliative Care Research Center, and VA National Center for Ethics in Health Care. Dr. Wong leads a patient-oriented research program on treatment practices and end-of-life care among patients with advanced kidney disease in VA and non-VA settings. Her goal is to create more patient-centered models of care for patients with kidney disease. Publications

Steven B. Zeliadt, PhD, MPH