David Atkins, MD
David Atkins, MD,
was named director of Health Services Research and Development for VA. Atkins formerly served as associate director and acting deputy director for the
service. He also led VA's Quality Enhancement Research Initiative, a network of 10 centers, focused on health conditions common among Veterans, that is
dedicated to translating research results into clinical practice. More recently, he worked with former HSR&D director Seth Eisen, MD, now retired, to
spearhead the implementation of a new model for health services research known as CREATE, featuring close teamwork throughout all phases of research with
VA clinical leaders. Before joining VA in 2008, Atkins served at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services, where he helped lead a nationwide effort to promote evidence-based medical care.
Hayden Bosworth, PhD
, PhD, received the 2013 Under Secretary's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research—the highest honor for a VA health
services researcher. Bosworth, a developmental health psychologist, is the associate director of VA's Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care,
based at the Durham VA Medical Center. He is also a professor at Duke University. His work centers on self-management in chronic care; the development of
quality measures to monitor and improve care; and the translation of research findings into routine care. Over the past 15 years or so, he has led efforts
to develop and test new ways to improve health behaviors and outcomes for Veterans with chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, and
depression. In one study, for example, nurses delivered tailored behavioral and educational sessions by phone to improve Veterans' adherence to drug
regimens to treat high blood pressure. The effort resulted in significant improvements in blood pressure control and cost-effectiveness.
Cynthia Brown, MD
Cynthia Brown, MD,
received the 2013 Outstanding Scientific Achievement for Clinical Investigation Award from the American Geriatrics Society. Brown is an investigator at the
Birmingham (Ala.) VA Medical Center, and medical director of the center's Fall Prevention and Mobility Clinic. She is also an associate professor of
medicine and director of geriatric medicine at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Her work has centered on reducing the amount of time that older
hospital patients stay in bed and increasing their physical activity. A recent study she led at the Birmingham VA tested a twice-daily "walking
intervention." A former physical therapist, she has also examined barriers to patient mobility, such as anxiety about falling, and the physical environment
of hospital rooms.
Robert Farese, MD
Robert Farese, MD,
received the 2012 William S. Middleton Award from VA's Biomedical and Laboratory Research and Development Service. Farese is an endocrinology researcher at
the Tampa VA Medical Center and the University of South Florida. His studies have shed light on how insulin works in the body, and how certain insulin
pathways play a role in obesity and type 2 diabetes. The work has contributed to the development of new medications to treat diabetes. Farese is the author
or coauthor of more than 250 scientific papers, including many that appeared in top journals such as Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dennis Niewoehner, MD
Dennis Niewoehner, MD,
is the recipient of the 2012 John B. Barnwell Award from VA's Clinical Research and Development Service. Niewoehner is a physician-researcher at the
Minneapolis VA Health Care System and a professor at the University of Minnesota. A VA investigator for more than 36 years, Niewoehner is an
internationally recognized expert in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which affects up to 24 million Americans and is a major health issue among VA
patients. Niewoehner has published several seminal papers, going back to the 1980s, on the links between smoking and COPD and on drugs to treat the
condition. He has led or co-led several large VA and National Institutes of Health clinical trials on the topic, the results of which have been
incorporated into COPD treatment guidelines used in VA and around the world.
Stephen Waxman, MD, PhD
Stephen Waxman, MD, PhD,
received the 2013 Paul B. Magnuson Award from VA's Rehabilitation Research and Development Service. Waxman, a VA researcher since 1978, is with Yale
University and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System at West Haven. In 1986, he established the Neuroscience and Regeneration Research Center, a
collaboration of VA, Yale, and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. The center has become one of the world's leading sites for innovative research on spinal
cord injury, multiple sclerosis, nerve injury, and neuropathic pain. Among other areas, Waxman's work has helped explain the workings of sodium
channels—proteins in the membrane of brain cells that regulate the flow of sodium ions into the cell. The molecules act like batteries to allow electrical
impulses to travel between brain cells. Waxman's center is now spearheading a translational research program that spans from genetic and cell studies to
human clinical trials, aimed at developing gene therapies and other new approaches to treating nerve pain.