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SGIM Annual Meeting: HSR&D's Recognition and Contributions

May 14, 2019

The Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) is a national medical society of 3,000 physicians who are the primary internal medicine faculty of every medical school and major teaching hospital in the United States. In addition, SGIM members also conduct research to improve primary care, preventative measures, and health treatment services. This year’s SGIM Annual Meeting was held in Washington, DC, May 8-11. Numerous VA HSR&D researchers participated in the conference and two HSR&D investigators received prestigious awards.

Sonya Borrero, MD, MS

Sonya Borrero, MD, MS

Sonya Borrero, MD, MS, Core Investigator and Associate Director of HSR&D’s Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP) in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, PA, received the SGIM Mid-Career Research Mentorship Award that recognizes outstanding mid-career clinician-investigators who are actively engaged in research and mentorship of junior investigators. A practicing internist with advanced training in women's health, she provides primary care to Veterans in the Women's Health Clinic at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. Dr. Borrero’s research examines gender and racial disparities in healthcare, with a focus on reproductive healthcare. She is currently examining the roles of patient preference, knowledge, and patient-provider communication in observed racial differences in contraceptive use. Dr. Borrero leads the VA Women’s Health Research Consortium Disparities Workgroup and is an appointed member of the Pennsylvania Governor's Advisory Council for Veterans Services. In addition, she leads a program for under-represented minority medical students to stimulate their pursuit of scholarly projects in health services research.

Utibe Essien, MD, MPH

Utibe Essien, MD, MPH

Utibe Essien, MD, MPHa Core Investigator with CHERP, received SGIM’s Inaugural Distinguished Professor of Health Equity Poster Walk and Talk award. Dr. Essien conducts research on racial and ethnic health disparities, focusing on the use of novel therapeutics and technologies in the management of chronic diseases. He is particularly interested in variation in access to treatment and care for vulnerable populations. A board-certified general internist, Dr. Essien is a staff physician at the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. He also is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD

Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD

Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD, VA investigator and former member of CHERP, received the John M. Eisenberg National Award for Career Achievement in Research, which honors innovative research resulting in new research methods, new research instruments, or use of existing methods or instruments in an innovative manner. Dr. Volpp's research focuses on the impact of financial and organizational incentives on health outcomes. His key focus is on modifiable behaviors and unhealthy habits, such as over-eating, smoking and alcohol abuse, that account for nearly one-third of all deaths in the United States. Dr. Volpp is an attending physician at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz VAMC in Philadelphia, PA. He also is the Founding Director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the Leonard Davis Institute, and a Professor of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine and of Health Care Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania


VA HSR&D presentations focused on topics that included but were not limited to: Cannabis for pain, health equity and disparities, implementation science, telehealth, and the impact of state opioid prescribing limits. In addition, VA-supported and VA-related sessions included:

  • VA-Supported Session Identifying and Addressing Social Determinants of Health in the Veterans Health Administration reviewed the status of addressing social determinants of health (SDoH) and research priorities following the 2018 HSR&D workshop on SDoH. Participants included: Nancy Kressin, MD, (Session Coordinator) an HSR&D Research Career Scientist and part of HSR&D’s Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR); Leslie Hausmann, PhD, Core Investigator with HSR&D’s Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP); Lisa Lehmann, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, VA New England Healthcare System; and Ernest Moy, MD, MPH, Executive Director of the VA Office of Health Equity (OHE).
  • VA Session Implementing Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in Busy Primary Care Settings: Lessons from VA discussed barriers and challenges associated with treating Veterans with opioid use disorder in the primary care setting. Participants included: Evelyn Chang, MD, (Session Coordinator) who leads the QUERI-VISN Partnered Implementation Initiative Increasing Access to Medication-Assisted Treatment in VISN 22; Joseph W. Frank, MD, MPH, is an HSR&D Career Development Awardee and part of HSR&D’s Center for Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care (DiSCOVVR); and William C. Becker, MD, who leads the Improving Pain-Related Outcomes for Veterans (IMPROVE) QUERI National Program.
  • VA-Supported SessionIntegrating Social and Behavioral Determinants of Health into Clinical Care: Lessons Learned from VA” described opportunities to expand the collection, documentation, and integration of SDoH measures in VA clinical practice. Participants included: Donna Zulman, MD, MS, (Session Coordinator) an HSR&D Career Development Awardee and part of HSR&D’s Center for Innovation to Implementation (Ci2i); Devan Kansagara, MD, MCR, is part of HSR&D’s Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC) and directs HSR&D/QUERI’s Evidence-Based Synthesis Program Center in Portland, OR; Matthew Maciejewski, PhD, is an HSR&D Career Development Awardee and part of CHERP; Kari Nelson, MD, is Fellowship Director for (DiSCOVVR); and Donna Washington, MD, MPH, who leads the Office of Health Equity QUERI Partnered Evaluation Initiative.

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