Fellows - Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion
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Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion


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The VA Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) has Fellows based at the Pittsburgh VA Healthcare System, the University of Pittsburgh, the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, and the University of Pennsylvania

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OAA Advanced Postdoctoral Fellowship in Health Services Research

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Jeffrey Rewley, PhD

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Social Networks Analysis (SNA) | Philadelphia

Dr. Rewley has research expertise in electronic medical records (EMR) and social networks analysis (SNA). His dissertation examined how patients co-present in a hospital ward affected each other’s health through the spread of infectious agents and through social influence mechanisms. Moving forward, Dr. Rewley plans to incorporate VA EMR data into these approaches with a combination of secondary analyses centered around natural experiments within the VA (e.g., the effect of VA priority levels on health outcomes) as well as randomized clinical trials to ameliorate inequities uncovered through his other work. His mentor is Mitesh Patel, MD, MBA, MS, and he joined CHERP as a Fellow in February 2019.

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Allison Oakes, PhD

Patterns of Care Utilization and Delivery of Care | Philadelphia

Dr. Oakes uses a multidisciplinary approach to examine how varying financial, behavioral and organizational factors influence patterns of care utilization and the delivery of evidence-based and preference-sensitive care. She earned her PhD in Health Services Research and Policy from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her dissertation research focused on the development of methods to measure the systemic overuse of health care resources and examined the magnitude and determinates of such low-value care. Moving forward, Dr. Oakes intends to design and test approaches to steer medical decision making toward higher value choices and improved patient outcomes in both VA and non-VA settings. She joined CHERP as a Fellow in September 2019 and her mentor is Mitesh Patel, MD, MBA, MS.

Photo of Kimberly Waddell, PhD, OTR/L

Kimberly Waddell, PhD, OTR/L

Behavioral Economics and Chronic, Long-term Disability | Philadelphia

Dr. Waddell is interested in learning how the principles of behavioral economics can be applied to individuals with chronic, long-term disability or older adults to help improve long-term health outcomes. Additionally, Dr. Waddell is interested in exploring novel approaches to improving physical activity in the hospital setting and how various social determinants of health influence activity and health outcomes in neurological populations, especially among Veterans in VHA care who are transitioning from the acute care setting. She earned her PhD in Movement Science and her MS in Clinical Investigation from Washington University in St. Louis. She also earned an MS in Occupational Therapy from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and practiced as an Occupational Therapist at the Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis. She joined CHERP as a Fellow in September 2019 and her mentor is Mitesh Patel, MD, MBA, MS

OAA Fellowship in Medication Safety and Pharmacy Outcomes

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Alexis Barrett, PharmD

Medication Safety, Pharmacovigilance, and Quality Improvement | Pittsburgh

Dr. Barrett is interested in medication safety, pharmacovigilance, and quality improvement research to promote evidence-based healthcare and further reduce the risk of preventable adverse drug effects. Dr. Barrett received her PharmD from Mercer University College of Pharmacy. In the previous year, she evaluated antimicrobial use for urinary tract infections within a community health setting to identify rates of potentially inappropriate prescribing and concerns for antibiotic resistance to improve the medication use process. Moving forward, Dr. Barrett will be involved in medication safety and pharmacovigilance research focused on Veterans who receive care concurrently from various healthcare providers within and outside the VA. She joined CHERP as a Fellow in September 2019 and her mentor is Walid Gellad, MD, MPH.

OAA Advanced Postdoctoral Fellowship in Women’s Health- Research Track

Photo of Deirdre Quinn, PhD, MS, MLitt

Deirdre Quinn, PhD, MS, MLitt

Women's Sexual and Reproductive Health Decision-making | Pittsburgh

Dr. Quinn researches individual, relational, and structural influences on women's sexual and reproductive health decision-making. She was awarded CHERP pilot funding to describe pre-pregnancy health and maternal outcomes among women Veterans. She is also examining behaviors related to nutrition and physical activity before, during, and after pregnancy in a small cohort of postpartum women Veterans. Dr. Quinn is interested in bridging the gap between research and policy; her co-authored poster on the process of disseminating research to policymakers was recently nominated for the Best Poster award at the AcademyHealth Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health. She earned her PhD in Family Science from the University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, MD. She is a second-year fellow, mentored by Sonya Borrero, MD, MS.

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Lauren Sealy Krishnamurti, PhD

Women's Health | Philadelphia

Dr. Krishnamurti will be working with her mentor Dr. Melissa Dichter, CHERP COIN Investigator, investigating women veterans’ use of the Veterans Crisis Line in mediating concerns related to but often outside the scope of suicidality. Dr. Krishnamurti received her PhD from the University at Pittsburgh ...

OAA Interprofessional Advanced Fellowship in Addiction Treatment

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Rachel Bachrach, PhD

Evidence-based Addition Care| Pittsburgh

Dr. Bachrach is interested in improving the use of evidence-based addiction care in VA. Her research is focused on identifying disparities in alcohol-related care within the VA primary care setting and improving the quality of and access to these services for Veterans engaged in unhealthy drinking. Dr. Bachrach was recently appointed instructor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. She was selected for a fellowship with the NIH Summer Institute on Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials, and she received an NIAAA New Investigator Award to attend the 2019 Addiction Health Services Research Conference for poster presentation of findings from her MIRECC-funded pilot project, "Unhealthy Alcohol Use and Brief Intervention Rates among Complex and Non-Complex Veterans Seeking Primary Care Services." She is currently revising her VA HSR&D Career Development application, "Implementation Intervention to Improve Care for Unhealthy Alcohol Use." She earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Buffalo. She is a third year fellow, mentored by Matthew Chinman, PhD.

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Stephanie Gannon, MDiv, BCC

Substance Use Disorder (SUD) | Pittsburgh

Ms. Gannon is trying to raise the profile of the clinical chaplain within the interdisciplinary team in the substance use disorder (SUD) clinic at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS). During the last year, she has been working on a quality improvement project that developed the first-ever spirituality group in the outpatient SUD clinic. The group is based on the evidence-based Mindful Self-Compassion program pioneered about a decade ago by Kristin Neff, PhD and Christopher Germer, PhD. Her goal is to publish on this project and to create and disseminate a manual for use by VA chaplains based on her curriculum. Rev. Gannon was recently awarded support to attend the Transforming Chaplaincy Summer Research Institute at Rush University Medical Center. She earned her MDiv in Psychiatry and Religion from the Union Theological Seminar in New York. She is a second year fellow, mentored by Steven Sayers, PhD.

CHERP Affiliated Fellows

Photo of Kirstin Manges, PhD, RN

Kirstin Manges, PhD, RN

Patient Safety, Team-based Care, and Quality Improvement | Philadelphia

Dr. Manges is a National Clinician Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and her fellowship is funded by the NRSA Postdoctoral Training in Health Services Research Grant (T32-HS026116). Dr. Manges is an expert in patient safety, team-based care, and quality improvement. Her doctoral dissertation examined the impact of inpatient teams on high-risk patient’s post-hospital outcomes. Currently, she is working with her CHERP mentor COIN Investigator Robert E. Burke, MS, MD on several studies to examine how hospital organizational factors influence patient outcomes during times of transition, such as mortality, adverse events, and readmission. Her long-term career goal is to build a program of nursing healthcare systems research that improves patient safety and the quality of care delivery for older adult patients with complex needs. She earned her PhD in Healthcare Systems from the University of Iowa College of Nursing and an MS in Health Policy Research and Analysis from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed the VA National Quality Scholars Fellowship at the Iowa City VAMC.

Photo of Ashley Ritter, PhD, CRNP

Ashley Ritter, PhD, CRNP

Post-acute Care to High Risk Populations | Philadelphia

Dr. Ritter researches the design and delivery of post-acute care to high risk populations. Her CHERP mentors are COIN Investigators Mary Ersek, PhD, RN and Robert E. Burke, MD, MS. Currently, she is investigating the various influences in the acute care setting that contribute to post-hospitalization destinations, such as skilled nursing facilities, for frail Veterans. She is also interested the use of skilled nursing facilities among individuals with opioid use disorder. A decade of clinical practice across the spectrum of care settings provides the foundation for this work. Dr. Ritter obtained her MS in Nursing, Adult and Gerontologic Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and her PhD in Nursing Science at the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the National Clinician Scholar Program at Penn.

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Margaret Zupa, MD

Patient Activation and Support Person Engagement Intervention | Pittsburgh

Ms. Zupa will be working with her mentor Dr. Ann-Marie Rosland, CHERP COIN Investigator, on the effect of a patient activation and support person engagement intervention in the VHA primary care setting on diabetes medication adherence and regimen intensification among Veterans with type 2 diabetes. She is interested finding ways to improve outcomes and reduce long-term complication risk by increasing medication adherence and optimizing treatment regimens for adults with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes. Dr. Zupa received her MD from the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She is currently a second-year fellow in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and working toward her Master’s degree in Clinical Research at the Institute for Clinical Research Education at the University of Pittsburgh.