Thomas O'Toole, MD, part of HSR&D's Center for Innovation in Long-Term Services and Supports for Vulnerable Veterans in Providence, RI, and Acting Director of the VA National Center on Homelessness, is a finalist for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal (Sammie) that highlights excellence in the federal workforce. The Sammies - known as the "Oscars" of government service - are named for the Partnership in Public Service's late founder, who was inspired by President Kennedy's call to serve in 1963.
Recognizing the need for medical care and housing assistance among homeless Veterans that received care at the Providence VAMC, Dr. O'Toole established a clinic that integrated medical care and support services - an initiative that has since expanded into a national program that is now available at 62 VA medical facilities. This was followed by a second national project that identifies and assists the roughly 10 percent of homeless Veterans who use 65 to 70 percent of VA's acute health services. As part of this effort, Dr. O'Toole has conducted several HSR&D-funded studies, including the ARCH (Aligning Resources to Care for Homeless Veterans) study that examined the effectiveness of four different approaches to delivering comprehensive primary care for homeless Veterans, including a version of the Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) Model for primary care tailored to homeless Veterans (H-PACT).
Dr. Madhu Agarwal, Senior Medical Advisor to VA's Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Policy and Services, calls Dr. O'Toole's work at VA "innovative, compassionate, and inspiring." VA is proud to have him among the finalists for this year's Sammies.