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Dr. Eugene Marsh CHERP Pilots FY24

illustration of elements of Social Determinants of Health

Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) include economic, social, and structural factors outside the healthcare system that raise risk of poor outcomes for vulnerable Veterans. CHERP research addresses issues related to SDOH to improve equity and quality of VA care.

By VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion
Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Dr. Eugene Marsh CHERP Pilot Program FY24 Awardees

Characterizing Patterns of VA Cancer Care Delivery in the Age of Telehealth

PI: Manisha Bhattacharya, MD, MBA (early career investigator)
Mentor: Shari Rogal, MD, MPH

Dr. Bhattacharya’s CHERP pilot proposal is designed to understand how Veterans are currently receiving cancer care (i.e., via traditional, telehealth, hybrid, or community care) and quantify care fragmentation for Veterans with solid organ cancer. The study will apply a health equity lens to identify patients at risk for poor cancer outcomes and will support future research designed to optimize telehealth and community care models to improve health equity for these Veterans.

Dr. Bhattacharya is a hematology-oncology staff physician at VAPHS and Assistant Professor of Hematology-Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Dr. Bhattacharya recently completed a 3-year fellowship at UPMC in Hematology-Oncology where she honed her analytic skills. Her research interests are focused on addressing health-system level barriers to the provision of high-value cancer care services, particularly as it relates to cancer care fragmentation and the role of tele-oncology care delivery programs may play in improving access to care for Veterans with cancer.

It’s in the Cards: Examining Post-Acute Care Priorities of Older Hospitalized Veterans from Diverse Backgrounds


PI: Kirstin Manges Piazza, PhD, MSHP, RN
Mentor: Robert E. Burke, MD, MS

Dr. Piazza’s pilot project is designed to identify attributes of post-acute care (after a Veteran leaves the hospital) that matter most to Veterans and caregivers when making decisions about post-discharge supports. It is a qualitative study using a card sort activity to identify priorities and trade-offs for a diverse sample of older Veterans. The information gathered through this project will provide the basis for the development and measurement of Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) during Post Acute Care.

Dr. Piazza is a nurse health service researcher and VA HSR&D Career Development Awardee (CDA) at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center (CMCVAMC). She holds an adjunct faculty appointment at the University of Pennsylvania College of Nursing. Her current CDA is titled “Aligning Post-Acute Care (PAC) with Veterans Values and Priorities” and uses mixed methods approaches to reveal insights into ‘what matters most’ to older Veterans discharged to post-acute care, with the ultimate goal of aligning care with Veteran values and goals.

Operationalizing Goal-Concordant Medication Use in Older Veteran CLC Residents with Dementia


PI: Joshua D Niznik, PharmD, PhD (early career investigator)
Mentor: Carolyn Thorpe, PhD, MPH

Dr. Niznik’s pilot project is designed to operationalize measures of goal-concordant medication use for people with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias (ADRD). They will use data from a cohort of VA Community Living Center residents with ADRD to examine aspirin discontinuation. They will characterize phenotypes of patient/caregiver goals and preference for life-sustaining treatments and medications and then they will evaluate the concordance between medication use and the identified phenotypes.

Dr. Niznik is a geriatric health services researcher with clinical training in pharmaceutical science. He is an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) in the Division of Geriatric Medicine and the Center of Aging and Health at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He has been affiliated with CHERP for eight years, first as a trainee and now as a co-investigator. He received a K08 grant from the National Institute on Aging that will use both qualitative and quantitative research methods to study perceptions and long-term outcomesof discontinuing bisphosphonates in older nursing home residents with dementia.

Treatment of Insomnia to Improve Burnout and Engagement among VAPHS Staff: A Quality Improvement Project

PI: Adam Bramoweth, PhD (established CHERP investigator)

Dr. Bramoweth’s pilot project will evaluate a VA developed, mobile application for insomnia self-management among VAPHS staff. In collaboration with the Chief Well-being Officer, Division of Whole Health, and the Employee Engagement Center, the project will measure the engagement of VAPHS staff with the Insomnia Explorer application and measure change on clinical and work-related outcomes (e.g., insomnia, depression, anxiety and burnout, productivity). This QI project will inform future VAPHS opportunities to positively engage with their workforce to enhance clinical and work-related outcomes and will inform future HSRD QI/research on improving VA’s workforce well-being.

Dr. Bramoweth is a clinical psychologist and research health scientist at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS) in CHERP and the VISN4 MIRECC. A former HSR&D CDA recipient and current Merit Review Awardee, his research program focuses on improving access to insomnia care using methods from implementation science, clinical trials, and electronic health records.

About Dr. Eugene Marsh

This research pilot program has been renamed in honor of Eugene Marsh, EdD, a distinguished member and one of the founders of CHERP’s Veterans Community Advisory Board in Philadelphia.  Dr. Marsh was committed to the continued expansion of VA health equity research and broader engagement of Veterans in the design of CHERP’s research inquiries.  Dr. Marsh also served VA nationally on the Central Institutional Review Board (CIRB).  Dr. Marsh died from complications of COVID-19 in January 2021. 

At the time of this death, he was a PhD Candidate in Educational Leadership at Rider University, who posthumously awarded Marsh his doctorate. 

Despite enduring personal hardships after his military service and confronting racism throughout his life, Marsh discovered a passion in finding solutions for issues affecting Veteran communities of color. Learn more about his life and legacy in this short video titled Seasons of Life: The Biography of Dr. Eugene Marsh:



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