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July 26, 2012

Two VA HSR&D Researchers Named PECASE Recipients

VA's Health Services Research & Development Service (HSR&D) investigators Charlesnika T. Evans, Ph.D., M.P.H., and Amy M. Kilbourne, Ph.D., M.P.H., have been named recipients of the 2012 Presidential Early Career Scientist Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

 Charlesnika T. Evans, Ph.D., M.P.H.Dr. Evans is a Research Health Scientist with both HSR&D's Center for Management of Complex Chronic Conditions at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, in Hines, Illinois, VA/HSR&D's Spinal Cord Injury Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (SCI-QUERI), and a Senior Associate at the VA Center for Occupational Health and Infection Control (COHIC) in the Office of Public Health. She has expertise and research interests in epidemiologic methods, health outcomes, and infectious disease related research. Dr. Evans is the principal investigator of an HSR&D-funded study focused on Clostridium difficile infection in Veterans with SCI, and recently the principal investigator of a study focused on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the SCI population. She was also the co-principal investigator and a co-investigator on two HSR&D studies focused on evaluating the VA's screening program for mild traumatic brain injury. In addition to her VA affiliation, Dr. Evans is also a Research Assistant Professor at the Institute for Healthcare Studies in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University.

 Amy M. Kilbourne, Ph.D., M.P.H.Dr. Kilbourne is a Research Health Scientist at the HSR&D's Center for Clinical Management Research at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Co-director for the SMI Health workgroup in the VA Mental Health Quality Enhancement Research Initiative, and serves as Associate Director of the VA Ann Arbor National Serious Mental Illness Treatment Resource and Evaluation Center. Dr. Kilbourne is widely recognized for her expertise in improving medical and psychiatric outcomes for persons with serious mental illness through integrated care models. In addition, she is part of a coordinated initiative across VA to address Veteran homelessness—specifically, Dr. Kilbourne is investigating how to implement a population-based outreach service intervention with Veterans with serious mental illness who are at risk for homelessness. Her work also includes implementing novel psychosocial interventions for bipolar disorder that combine best practices in care management and behavioral medicine. Currently, Dr. Kilbourne serves as principal investigator on several NIH and VA projects and has more than 120 publications. In addition to her VA affiliation, she is also an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan.

Established in 1996, PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government upon outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. The award is given annually by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; it recognizes preeminent young scientists and engineers for their innovative research and their "exceptional potential to shape the future through intellectual and inspired leadership." Drs. Kilbourne and Evans will receive their PECASE awards from President Obama at a White House ceremony later this year, along with two other VA investigators: Jeffrey R. Capadona, PhD, a bioengineer with the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veteran Affairs Medical Center, and K. Luan Phan, MD, a psychiatrist with the Jesse Brown Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

For a list of all award winners, or to learn more, read the White House press release.

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