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Center of Innovation on Disability & Rehab Research (CINDRR)

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Steering Committee

Neil B. Alexander, MD, is the Director of the Ann Arbor, Michigan VA Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC). Dr. Alexander graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis and received a clinical research design and biostatistics master's degree from the University of Michigan. He completed his internal medicine residency at the University of New Mexico Affiliated Hospitals and a geriatrics fellowship at the University of Michigan (UM). He is a past research fellow at the UM Institute of Gerontology. Dr. Alexander is board-certified in internal medicine and geriatrics. He has a special interest in exercise, mobility, falls, and rehabilitation in older adults.

Lucille Beck, PhD, is the Chief Consultant for Rehabilitative Services and the Director of the Audiology and Speech Pathology Program (ASPS) for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Dr. Beck also serves as the Chief of the Audiology and Speech Pathology Service at the VA Medical Center in Washington, DC. Her responsibilities include both national and field-based direct patient care activities for Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology. Dr. Beck began her VA career as a clinical audiologist and went on to become the Coordinator of VA's National Hearing Aid Program and Associate Chief of ASPS in Washington, DC, before assuming her current position. She is often called upon to testify in Congress regarding the provision and outcomes of the world-class rehabilitation and prosthetics services Veterans receive in the VHA. Dr. Beck is a CINDRR VHA Operations partner.

Dan Berlowitz, MD, MPH (Chair), is Director of the HSR&D Center for Health Quality, Outcomes and Economic Research, and Professor, Health Policy & Management at Boston University. He leads a research team dedicated to assessing and improving the quality of health care in both ambulatory and long-term care settings. His research on ambulatory care focuses on the management of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. In the long-term care setting, he is a strong proponent of assessing nursing home care through the use of risk-adjusted outcomes calculated from administrative databases. Using pressure ulcer development as the model, he has demonstrated how these data may address a variety of policy-relevant issues. Dr. Berlowitz has advised the research programs in Tampa and Gainesville for over 10 years.

Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, PhD, is Professor and Director of the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas; Senior Associate Dean at the UTMB School of Health Professions; Director of the Center for Rehabilitation Sciences; and Associate Director of the Sealy Center on Aging.  Dr. Ottenbacher has a long and distinguished career in the field of rehabilitation outcomes.  He leads a National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation grant on the Impact of Prospective Payment on Rehabilitation Outcomes.  The focus of his research is rehabilitation outcomes with a specific emphasis on measurement and assessment of change in activities of daily living and functional performance. 

Capt. Jonathan Pruden (Ret.), is an advocate for wounded Veterans. Seriously wounded in Iraq in 2003, Captain Pruden has personally experienced a recovery process that required 20 surgeries. Through his own experience, and from what he has learned through his volunteer work with other Veterans, he provides a valuable perspective on DOD-VA rehabilitation.

Dr. William "Sandy" Quillen, a retired Commander in the United States Navy, has held a variety of academic positions prior to his appointment at USF. These include Assistant Professor, US Army-Baylor University Physical Therapy Program, Assistant Professor, School of Physical Therapy, Texas Women's University, Associate Professor and Chairman, Department of Physical Therapy, College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, OH and most recently Associate Professor and Chairman, Department of Physical Therapy, Indiana University.

Matthew Samore, MD, is the Principal Investigator of the Salt Lake VA HSR&D Informatics Decision Enhancement and Surveillance (IDEAS) Center and the Principal Investigator of the VA HSR&D Consortium for Healthcare Informatics Research. He is Professor of Medicine, Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Informatics, and Chief, Division of Epidemiology at the University of Utah. Dr. Samore’s expertise encompasses epidemiologic methods, electronic surveillance, and decision-support systems and the use of natural language processing to extract information from text. Dr. Samore has spearheaded program building efforts in health services research and informatics at the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System and University of Utah. He has broad-based experience in leading multi-disciplinary research programs. He has received funding from FDA, AHRQ, CDC, and the VA.

Nina Sayer, PhD, is the Associate Director, Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research and the Research Director of the Polytrauma and Blast-Related Injuries QUERI, Minneapolis VAMC. She is an Associate Professor, Department of Medicine and Psychiatry, University of Minnesota and a Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota. Dr. Sayer’s research expertise is in post-deployment health including posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, polytrauma and community reintegration, Veterans disability claims, and health services needs and demands.

Joel Scholten, MD, Director, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, VHA, oversees policy and planning for PM&R throughout VHA which includes the TBI/Polytrauma and Amputation Systems of Care. Dr. Scholten also serves as the  Associate Chief of Staff for Rehabilitation Services for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, DC.  In this role, he provides clinical care in the TBI/Polytrauma Clinics and also serves as the Director of the Polytrauma Research Fellowship for doctoral level physical therapists. He serves on a number of national VA committees including the Post Deployment Interdisciplinary Clinical Initiative - Technical Advisory Team, the National Pain Committee, and the TBI Screening and Evaluation Committee. His research interests include traumatic brain injury, polytrauma, and pain.  Dr. Scholten began his VA career at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, Florida in 1998 and served as the Medical Director of the Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation programs for over ten years.

Kenneth Shay, DDS, MS (Primary VHA Operations Partner), is the Director of Geriatric Programs for VHA's Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care. He was the Section Chief for Dental Geriatrics at the Milwaukee VA from 1986-1993; Chief of the Ann Arbor VA Dental Service from 1993-1999; and the founding director of the VA Geriatrics and Extended Care Service Line for VAs in Michigan, northwestern Ohio, Indiana, and central Illinois from 1999-2005.  In 2005 he was appointed Director of Geriatric Programs for the Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care in VA Central Office.  In that role, he is responsible for the VA’s 19 Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (GRECCs), and national programs in geriatric evaluation, geriatric primary care, and delirium.

Michela Zbogar, MD, MBA, is responsible for the quality of the clinical programs within VISN 8, focusing on the four missions of the VA: patient care, academics, research, and emergency preparedness. She also functions as the VISN 8 Academic Affiliation Officer and Medical Director of the Telecare program. Dr. Zbogar came to VISN 8 from the Lebanon VA Medical Center, where she served as Chief of Staff. She also served as Chief of Medicine/Product Line Manager for Primary Care at the Erie VAMC and was key in their receiving the Carey Award for Health Care in 1993. She started her VA career in 1988 at the Bay Pines VAMC where she served as Section Chief for Internal Medicine. Dr. Zbogar is board certified in internal medicine, and completed a Master's degree in business administration in 2000. She is a graduate of the Wayne State University College of Medicine, and completed her residency in the Medical Center hospitals in Detroit. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.

Executive Committee

Tampa VA Medical Center

Joe D. Battle, Director
Edward P. Cutolo, Jr., MD, Chief of Staff
Robert R. Campbell, Acting Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development

North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System

Thomas Wisnieski, Director
Bradley S. Bender, MD, Chief of Staff
Stephen E. Nadeau, MD, Associate Chief of Staff for Research

Operational Partners

Rehabilitation and Prosthetics
PM&R National Program Office
Geriatrics and Extended Care
Office of Nursing
Office of Rural Health
VISN 8 Network
Office of Occupational Health