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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.

Alexis L. Beatty, MD, MAS
Dr. Beatty is a Cardiologist and health services researcher who is a staff physician at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System and an Acting Assistant Professor at the University of Washington. Her research interests are in cardiovascular disease prevention, particularly the use of mobile technology for cardiac rehabilitation. She is currently working with the Office of Connected Health to develop a mobile application for patients to use for cardiac rehabilitation and a provider-facing application for viewing patient generated data. These tools will be the focus of an upcoming study of how to implement the use of mobile technology in a cardiac rehabilitation program. She also studies the underuse of cardiac rehabilitation using large databases (e.g. National Cardiovascular Data Registry, Medicare, VA administrative databases). Dr. Beatty received her MD from Duke University School of Medicine, trained in Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and trained in Cardiology and Clinical Research at UCSF.

Lauren A. Beste, MD, MSc
Dr. Beste is an Affiliate Investigator with HSR&D. Her research surrounds improving quality of care for chronic liver disease, particularly viral hepatitis, with emphasis on the role of primary care providers. She is the Director of the Liver Disease Database, a national VA database dedicated to the study of liver diseases in Veterans. She is the Liver Team Leader for the VISN20 the Specialty Care Access Network- Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (SCAN-ECHO) telemedicine program which extends liver specialty care to remote areas of VISN20. Dr. Beste practices medicine in the Primary Care Clinic and Hepatology Clinic at the Seattle VA. She is a Clinical Instructor, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, at the University of Washington. She received her MD from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and her MS in Health Services at the University of Washington. She is a 2009 graduate of the HSR&D Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Primary Care.

Katharine A. Bradley, MD
Dr. Bradley is an Investigator at Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) and Research Associate at VA Puget Sound HSR&D, whose research focuses on addressing alcohol misuse in medical settings. After 17 years as a VA staff physician and NW HSR&D COE Core investigator she moved to GHRI in 2011 to broaden the impact of her research. She is currently conducting two NIAAA-funded studies in VA: the CHOICE trial of a collaborative care intervention for management of primary care patients with severe alcohol misuse, and a study of quality indicators for alcohol screening and brief alcohol interventions. She is also supported by the VA Puget Sound Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education (CESATE) for continued mentoring of VA investigators and participation on the Executive Committee of the Substance use Disorders QUERI.

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.  

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.

Jason A. Dominitz, MD
Dr. Dominitz is an Investigator with HSR&D, the National Director of the Gastroenterology Program in Patient Care Services for the Veterans Health Administration and the Acting Gastroenterology Section Chief 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

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.

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.

Eric J. Hawkins, PhD
Dr. Hawkins is an Investigator with HSR&D and the Associate Director of the Seattle Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse 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 Assistant 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 evaluating and improving behavioral health and substance use outcomes of Veterans with alcohol and/or drug misuse conditions. He received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from Brigham Young University.

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.




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.

Katherine D. Hoerster, PhD, MPH
Katherine (Kate) Hoerster is an Investigator with HSR&D and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. She also provides clinical care within the VA Puget Sound, Seattle Division PTSD Clinical Team. Dr. Hoerster’s research examines the influence of socio-cultural and environmental factors on health, health behavior, and access to care, particularly in the context of psychiatric illness. Her HSR&D-funded Career Development Award will focus on studying MOVE!+UP, a peer-delivered MOVE! augmentation intervention she developed to address disproportionate cardio-metabolic disease risk factors among Veterans with PTSD. Dr. Hoerster received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the San Diego State University/University of California, San Diego Joint Doctoral Program. She received her Master’s degree in Public Health from San Diego State University.

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



Keren Lehavot, PhD
Dr. Lehavot is a Core Investigator with HSR&D and Assistant 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. Her Career Development Award, funded by Clinical Sciences Research & Development (CSR&D), focuses on adapting and evaluating a web-based PTSD intervention for women Veterans. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Washington.

Alyson J. Littman, PhD
Dr. Littman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington and an Affiliate Investigator with HSR&D. Her research focuses on physical activity and obesity. She is the PI of a 5-year Rehabilitation Research & Development Career Development Award to investigate weight trajectories after lower limb loss and correlates of obesity, physical activity, and healthy diet in persons with lower limb loss and to conduct a pilot randomized controlled trial of a physical activity/weight loss intervention in this population. She has conducted numerous studies to assess physical activity, obesity, and involvement in weight management programs in military/veteran and general population samples.

Chuan-Fen Liu, PhD, MPH
Dr. Liu is a Core Investigator with HSR&D and Research Associate Professor in Department of Health Services at the University of Washington. Dr. Liu has done extensive work in evaluation of VA health care delivery system, including effect of improving depression treatment in primary care, cost evaluation of community-based outpatient clinics, impact of increase in prescription copayment on health and cost outcomes, and dual use of outpatient care in VA and Medicare among VA primary care patients. Currently, she is examining organizational factors and costs associated with hospital readmissions for heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases as well as assessing economic impacts for the PACT national evaluation. Dr. Liu received her PhD in Health Services Research from University of Minnesota.

Charles C. Maynard, PhD, MSW
Dr. Maynard is the Center's Acting Associate Director, Core Investigator with HSR&D, Research Professor Emeritus in the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington, and affiliated with the Seattle Epidemiologic Research and Information Center (Seattle ERIC). His research interests include cardiovascular data analysis and VA administrative databases. He received his PhD in Sociology and MSW from the University of Washington.


Karin M. Nelson, MD, MSHS
Dr. Nelson is a Core Investigator with HSR&D, Associate Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine, Department of Medicine, at the University of Washington and an affiliate investigator at Public Health-Seattle and King County. Dr. Nelson is also the associate director of the VHA patient centered medical home (PACT, Patient Aligned Care Team) national evaluation. Her research interests include the social determinants of health, community based research and chronic disease self-management. Dr. Nelson received her MD from the University of Minnesota and an MSHS from the School of Public Health at UCLA.



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 Group Health 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 advance care planning for elderly Veterans with advanced kidney disease and a CDC inter-agency agreement focused on studying the natural history of chronic kidney disease in Veterans. She also serves as a co-investigator on Dr. Hebert’s VA IIR on Outcomes, Trends and Costs of Chronic Dialysis in the VA, and on an NIA U01 focused on dementia in community dwelling older adults. She serves as chair of the American Society of Nephrology’s (ASN) Geriatric Nephrology Advisory Group and a course director for the annual ASN course in Geriatric Nephrology. She currently serves on several steering committees including the external advisory panel for the ongoing NIH Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort study, the Mid-Atlantic Renal Coalition’s Kidney End-of-Life Coalition, and the VA oversight committee for the University of Michigan contract to build an national registry for kidney disease within the VA.


Sheri D. Reder, PhD, MSPH
Dr. Reder is an Affiliate Investigator with HSR&D has been working in the field of health communications for the past two decades. Her research focus at VA is long term care (LTC), primarily for older Veterans. Dr. Reder’s research established lack of comprehensive information about LTC, particularly home and community based services, as well as the lack of decision aids and a clinical procedure for facilitating collaborative LTC decisions. Over the past five years, she has led the development of, and is now promoting, a national online Guide to LTC that contains information and a shared decision making (SDM) approach to LTC. This SDM approach is currently being piloted in VISNs 1 and 20.

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.




Andrew J. Saxon, MD
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.

Dr. Saxon’s current research work is supported by the VA, the Department of Defense, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and involves pharmacotherapies and psychotherapies for alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, and opioid dependence as well work in co-occurrence of substance dependence and posttraumatic stress disorder and on reducing homelessness.


Emily C. Williams, PhD, MPH
Dr. Williams is a Core Investigator with HSR&D and an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington. Dr. Williams’s research interests include prevention and management of unhealthy alcohol use in medical care settings, implementation of evidence-based practices into routine care, mechanisms of behavior change, and disparities in health and healthcare. Dr. Williams has specific expertise in implementation of screening and brief intervention for unhealthy alcohol use in primary care settings, 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 is recognized as an international leader. Dr. Williams serves 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. Dr. Williams also teaches an annual course entitled, “Social Determinants of Population Health and Health Disparities,” which is required as part of the first-year PhD curriculum in the Department of Health Services.

Dr. Williams received a PhD in Health Services from the University of Washington and a Master’s degree in Public Health (Health Law) from Boston University. After obtaining her PhD, Dr. Williams took a four-month leave of absence from the VA to serve as an undergraduate instructor of two courses—Introduction to Public Health and Research Methods in Community Health—which she taught in the context of an intensive semester abroad focused on Health and Community in Switzerland, India, China, and South Africa
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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.


Susan P. Y. Wong, MD
Susan Wong is a nephrologist and currently supported by a NIH NIDDK K23 Career Development Award (2016-2021). She conducts research on dialysis practices and end-of-life care among patients with advanced kidney disease. Her work examines differences and disparities in these areas of healthcare in VA and non-VA settings and the use of dialysis in clinical circumstances where there is uncertainty about its benefits. Her goal is to improve current models of care for kidney disease.



Steven B. Zeliadt, PhD, MPH
Dr. Zeliadt is a Core Investigator with HSR&D and Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services, University of Washington, where he is actively conducts research with collaborators in the Health Promotion Research Center and the Urology Outcomes Research Collaborative. He is also an Affiliate Investigator at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Group Health Research Institute. His research interests include helping patients and providers make individualized and informed decisions about cancer care from the choice to screen, through initial treatment, and survivorship. He received his PhD in Health Services and MPH from the University of Washington.


Xiao-Hua Andrew Zhou, PhD, MSc
Dr. Zhou is a Core Investigator and the director of the Biostatistics Unit at HSR&D, VA Research Career Scientist, and Professor in the Departments of Biostatistics ,and Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of Washington. He is also the President of VASA (VA Statisticians Association) and a member of FDA Advisory Committee in Center for Devices and Radiological Health. He is Chair-Elect of Mental Health Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association. He is also an elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association, an elected Member of the International Statistical Institute, and Associate Editor for Statistics in Medicine. His research interests include the developments of new statistical methods in diagnostic medicine, causal inferences, analysis of health care costs, and clinical studies of personalized treatments. He received his PhD in Biostatistics from Ohio State University and MSc in Statistics from the University of Calgary. He has published over 180 refereed papers, including over 120 method papers.