Matthew Chinman, PhD
Matthew Chinman, PhD, is the recipient of the 2020 HSR&D Daniel Deykin Award for Outstanding Mentor, which is presented each year to an HSR&D researcher(s) who exhibits outstanding dedication in mentoring the next generation of researchers. Skills of particular importance include fostering appreciation for the vital input provided by VA stakeholders, including VA policymakers and Veterans, as well as guiding mentees toward a thorough understanding of the positive impact research can have on the health and care of Veterans.
An investigator and Director of the Implementation Core at HSR&D’s Center for Health Equity Research & Promotion (CHERP), a core investigator at the VISN 4 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC), and a clinical/community psychologist, Dr. Chinman’s research career has focused on both peer specialists and implementation science. He has worked to improve mental health services for those with serious mental illnesses (SMI) through the use of Peer Specialists—individuals with SMI who receive training to use their experiences to help others with SMI (i.e., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder). Dr. Chinman has conducted multiple trials evaluating Peer Specialists’ outcomes; conducted reviews of the literature on Peer Specialist outcomes; conducted several studies assessing implementation barriers and facilitators that Peer Specialists face in and outside VA; and developed a fidelity measure to assess the quality of Peer Specialist services. This has been important for policymakers in advocating for increased hiring of Peer Specialists and has facilitated Medicaid reimbursement in more than 40 states. Dr. Chinman is also a Senior Behavioral Scientist at the RAND Corporation, where he developed and tested an implementation support strategy to help practitioners implement evidence-based practices, called Getting To Outcomes (GTO)®. In addition to his outstanding work as a researcher, Dr. Chinman has fostered the careers of dozens of Peer Specialists (who are Veterans themselves) through training, supervision, and career mentoring, which in turn, has facilitated their ability to support thousands of Veterans with mental health and substance abuse disorders. Currently, Dr. Chinman serves as a mentor to 41 mentees.
Dr. Chinman’s mentees come from a wide range of professional backgrounds in the social sciences, biostatistics, epidemiology, behavioral health, and health services research, and about half hold positions within VA. One of his VA mentees stated that he helped her “…become fully independent as an implementation scientist both inside and outside of VA. As I complete my tenure package and reflect on my career trajectory, I can truly say that he made my career happen. I am completely indebted to him for making that a career that will make a difference. Beyond the traditional career counseling and education that characterizes most mentors, Matt mentors by example. His passion, professionalism, and respect for all persons is truly inspiring.” Another mentee stated, “He is brilliant but humble, understanding that the patient knows himself best and we are to be the conduit through which they can reach recovery and a full life. Through his mentorship, I have reached my goals, become a better researcher and clinician, and most importantly a better listener to those that I serve.” She also stated that, “To this day, 18 years after he first began as my mentor, he is still the first individual I turn to for insight on research methodology, analysis, and interpretation; as well as strategic direction for the treatment of serious mental illness.”
In addition to his contributions to improving the health and care of Veterans directly through his research and work as a clinician, Dr. Chinman has helped shape the careers of his mentees as independent clinical investigators and national leaders in VA, academia, public policy, and beyond. HSR&D thanks Dr. Chinman for his continuing contributions to improving the health and care of our Veterans, particularly through his exceptional mentorship.
HSR&D also greatly appreciates the Daniel Deykin Outstanding Mentor of the Year Nominees for their generous support of health services researchers; they include: