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VA Researchers Who Served

VA researchers who servedQ&As with VA investigators who served in the military about what inspired their military and research careers, and how their work today is helping their fellow Veterans

Dr. Dudley Childress Dr. Dudley Childress (04/26/2022)
Jesse Brown Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Main area of study: biomedical engineering

Researchers Who Served: Back in Time Dr. Dudley Childress, a pioneer in prosthetic, orthotic, and assistive device technology, was one of the world’s leading biomedical engineers.

Dr. William Henry Oldendorf Dr. William Henry Oldendorf (04/06/2022)
VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System
Main area of study: neurology, medical imaging

Researchers Who Served: Back in Time Dr. William Henry Oldendorf was an internationally renowned neurologist who pioneered medical imaging techniques that are widely used today.

Rob Otto Rob Otto (02/22/2022)
Iowa City VA Health Care System
Main area of study: suicide prevention

"Finding out what is truly important to you at your core and what you are good at are keys to success. However, this is not easy. Failure is part of that process. But once you find something that clicks, it's an amazing feeling, and opportunities appear when you least expect them."

Dr. William S. Middleton Dr. William S. Middleton (02/08/2022)
William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital (Madison, Wisconsin)
Main area of study: mental health, cardiovascular

Researchers Who Served: Back in Time Dr. William S. Middleton was a renowned internist and military physician who served as VA's chief medical director from 1955 to 1963.

Dr. Amy O'Shea Dr. Amy O'Shea (01/19/2022)
Iowa City VA Health Care System
Main area of study: biostatistics, rural health care

"As a Veteran, it's amazing to consider that the work I'm doing could directly affect how patients receive care. Improving access, especially for rural populations and Veterans who live where I did as a kid, is near and dear to my heart."

Dr. Thomas Dresser Dr. Thomas Dresser (01/04/2022)
Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital
Main area of study: prostate cancer

"I find a common bond with Veteran patients that is different from the normal doctor-patient relationship. When they find out I'm a Navy captain, we're brothers in about five minutes."

Dr. Ralph DePalma Dr. Ralph DePalma (12/30/2021)
VA Office of Research and Development
Main area of study: traumatic brain injury, polytrauma

"I hope to see to it that the diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury progresses to the point of more precise diagnoses of TBI-related brain changes and improved treatment."

Dr. Ludwig Gross Dr. Ludwig Gross (12/09/2021)
James J. Peters VA Medical Center (Bronx, New York)
Main area of study: virally transmissible cancer

Researchers Who Served: Back in Time Dr. Ludwig Gross was one of the great pioneers of cancer research and the father of modern retrovirology.

Dr. Donald Custis Dr. Donald Custis (11/11/2021)
VA Office of Academic Affairs
Main area of study: geriatric medicine

Researchers Who Served: Back in Time Former VA medical director key to shaping agency's current health care system

Stephen Plymate Stephen Plymate (08/23/2021)
VA Puget Sound Health Care System
Main area of study: prostate cancer

"Keep exploring, move the research forward, and provide the best care possible for our Veterans. Now is not the time to quit."

Dr. Edward Freis Dr. Edward Freis (08/02/2021)
Washington DC VA Medical Center
Main area of study: hypertension

Researchers Who Served: Back in Time Dr. Edward Freis led a landmark study that inspired a revolution in the care of people with hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure.

Tim Strebel Tim Strebel (05/19/2021)
Washington DC VA Medical Center
Main area of study: health informatics, artificial intelligence

"Life's greatest successes are usually hiding behind vast amounts failure. If you live to avoid failure, you also live to avoid your greatest successes."

Dr. Millie Hughes-Fulford Dr. Millie Hughes-Fulford (03/01/2021)
San Francisco VA Health Care System
Main area of study: molecular biologist

Researchers Who Served: Back in Time VA scientist, molecular biologist, blazed new trails in space.

Dr. Matthew Kinnard Dr. Matthew Kinnard (02/23/2021)
VA Office of Research and Development
Main area of study: viruses, viral diseases

Researchers Who Served: Back in Time "I felt quite honored and useful knowing that my laboratory research and my research administrative activities directly impacted and benefitted active duty personnel and Veterans."

Nicholas Gatto Nicholas Gatto (01/20/2021)
Human Engineering Research Laboratories
Main area of study: pneumatic technology

"The possibility of making life better for Veterans through research at HERL is exactly what I wanted out of a career. I am grateful every day for the opportunity."

Dr. Michael E. DeBakey Dr. Michael E. DeBakey (11/17/2020)
Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center
Main area of study: cardiovascular surgery

Researchers Who Served: Back in Time Dr. Michael DeBakey, the father of modern cardiovascular surgery, was a chief proponent of VA research following World War II.

Dr. Donald Gleason Dr. Donald Gleason (10/27/2020)
Minneapolis VA Health Care System
Main area of study: prostate cancer, pathology

Researchers Who Served: Back in Time Dr. Donald Gleason created the "Gleason score," which has long been considered the most reliable indicator of the potential for prostate cancer to grow and spread.

Dr. Ernest Bors Dr. Ernest Bors (10/05/2020)
VA Long Beach Healthcare System
Main area of study: spinal cord injury, neuro-urology

Researchers Who Served: Back in Time Dr. Ernest "Pappy" Bors pioneered many of VA's post-World War II advancements in treating patients with spinal cord injury

Dr. Bertrand Huber Dr. Bertrand Huber (09/23/2020)
VA Boston Healthcare System
Main area of study: neuropathology, PTSD, traumatic brain injury

"The secret to my success is an unwillingness to listen to the little voice that says I cannot do it. We are our own greatest enemies when it comes to accomplishing things."

Dr. Michael Lyons Dr. Michael Lyons (08/28/2020)
Vietnam Era Twin Study of Aging
Main area of study: psychiatric epidemiology, behavioral genetics

"Persistence is a key element for success. It is important to set goals and to persist in pursuit of them."

Karen Lohmann Siegel Karen Lohmann Siegel (07/29/2020)
VA Office of Research and Development
Main area of study: biomechanics and rehabilitation

“I strive to exemplify the definition of integrity put forth by author C.S. Lewis: 'Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.’ These values have guided my actions throughout my career and have been key to my success.”

James Joseph James Joseph (06/26/2020)
Human Engineering Research Laboratories
Main area of study: physical and mental disabilities

“I am inspired by President John F. Kennedy, who said, "And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country." That is a foundation I have believed in my whole life. ”

Dr. Molly Klote Dr. Molly Klote (06/17/2020)
VA Office of Research and Development
Main area of study: vaccines and immunodeficiency

“My favorite saying is attributed to Hannibal, the Carthaginian general: 'I will find a way, or I will make one.' For the research community, that translates to, 'How do we get to yes.' ”

Dr. Mark Riddle Dr. Mark Riddle (06/04/2020)
VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System
Main area of study: infectious and gastrointestinal diseases

“I probably owe most of my success to my mom and dad. From them, I learned humility, hard work, and empathy—the three core values and guiding aspects of my life.”

Dr. Lisa Sternke Dr. Lisa Sternke (05/07/2020)
Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Main area of study: Women’s health

“I feel like VA is where I was always supposed to be. It’s like being part of a family again.”

Dr. Gary Gilkeson Dr. Gary Gilkeson (04/14/2020)
Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center
Main area of study: rheumatology

"I find that Veterans appreciate seeing a physician who is also a Veteran and has a handle on the challenges of serving in the military."

Dr. Paul King Dr. Paul King (09/06/2019)
VA Western New York Healthcare System
Main area of study: psychology

"Detours and failures are likely. But instead of viewing them as barriers to success, characterize them as opportunities for growth."

Josh Marino Josh Marino (08/09/2019)
Human Engineering Research Laboratories
Main area of study: education, mentoring

"The perseverance to achieve in the face of adversity is something that we all possess. Sometimes, it just takes a helping hand to realize that."

Dr. John Callaghan Dr. John Callaghan (05/29/2019)
Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center
Main area of study: clinical pharmacology

"Drug safety and effective drug treatment are best achieved through personalized medical research and precision health care."

Dr. Edward Jones Dr. Edward Jones (04/10/2019)
VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System
Main area of study: general and endoscopic surgery

"I feel a close kinship with my patients. I've served with them and experienced life with them as a reservist and active duty surgeon."

Dr. Mark Logue Dr. Mark Logue (02/04/2019)
VA Boston Healthcare System
Main area of study: Psychiatry, neurology, genetics

"Seeing Veterans every day when I enter and leave the building is very motivating...I want to keep doing research that can help them lead healthier and happier lives."

Dr. Erik von Rosenvinge Dr. Erik von Rosenvinge (01/16/2019)
Baltimore VA Medical Center
Main area of study: gastroenterology

"The military will lose battles and research experiments will fail, but through determination and persistence, success will be achieved."

Dr. Edward Chan Dr. Edward Chan (12/26/2018)
VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System
Main area of study: Lung disease

"I think that being mindful, having perseverance, and above all, being kind to all, which is not always easy to do, are important keys to success."

Dr. Jean-Pierre Raufman Dr. Jean-Pierre Raufman (11/02/2018)
Baltimore VA Medical Center
Main area of study: gastroenterology and internal medicine

"It's difficult to express the joy of true discovery–learning something that no one else knows."

Matt Landis Matt Landis (10/18/2018)
Human Engineering Research Laboratories
Main area of study: computer engineering

"I can see the impact of thoughtful, well-designed technologies on disabled people...I can see directly how life-changing these innovations can be, and that everything we do can potentially increase a person's freedom."

Dr. Philip Owens Dr. Philip Owens (10/18/2018)
VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System
Main area of study: Metastatic breast and prostate cancer

"If one Veteran has a better life because of any of the things that I study, then to me my life is a success."

Dr. Elizabeth Hill Dr. Elizabeth Hill (08/24/2018)
VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System
Main area of study: Nursing

"I found that being involved in research is what I love the most to do, whether it's doing research myself, mentoring others, or managing clinical trials."

Dr. Peter M. Elias Dr. Peter M. Elias (07/27/2018)
San Francisco VA Health Care System
Main area of study: Dermatology

"Much of my research has focused on the problems of aging skin, which is a growing problem within VA because of the changing demographics of our Veteran patient population."

Dr. Gail Cresci Dr. Gail Cresci (07/16/2018)
Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center
Main area of study: Gastroenterology

"As an active-duty dietitian in the Army, I was able to experience firsthand the exposures that service members and Veterans have to many nutritionally related digestive disorders."

Dr. C. Scott Smith Dr. C. Scott Smith (06/21/2018)
Boise VA Medical Center
Main area of study: Medical education

"Service to country has been a tradition in my family. My father was a tank commander in the Korean War."

Dr. Yani Leyva Dr. Yani Leyva (06/11/2018)
VA Palo Alto Health Care System
Main area of study: Clinical psychology

"My military involvement has taught me a lot about my strengths, my capabilities, and my ability to work efficiently and effectively with people on and outside of my team."

Dr. Jeffrey Jones Dr. Jeffrey Jones (05/29/2018)
Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center
Main area of study: Urology

"I have always wanted to 'push the envelope' with patient care to improve the lives of our patients, especially those afflicted with the devastation of cancer."



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