Health Services Research & Development

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David Atkins, M.D., M.P.H., Director of HSR&D; Acting Deputy Chief Research and Development Officer

Dr. David Atkins is Director of VA’s Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) Service, a position he began in 2013. In this role, he oversees a more than $94 million intramural health services research program, with more than 600 funded investigators and 245 ongoing research projects aimed at improving the health and care of Veterans. Dr. Atkins joined VA in 2008, serving until 2012 as Director of VA/HSR&D's Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI), which focuses on implementation of evidence-based innovations to improve healthcare for Veterans. For much of 2016, he served as VHA’s Acting Chief Research and Development Officer, overseeing all four research services in the Office of Research and Development (ORD), a program with a $670 million budget. 

Under Dr. Atkins, HSR&D has moved to a research model that emphasizes close partnership with clinical and policy stakeholders within VA, in addition to a focus on translating research findings into broader implementation in a learning healthcare system. This effort has built on the HSR&D network of Centers of Innovation (COINS) and a funding initiative launched in 2012 known as CREATE (Collaborative Research to Enhance and Advance Transformation and Excellence), in addition to other programs such as Researchers in Residence.

Before joining VA, Dr. Atkins spent more than a decade at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), including serving as Chief Medical Officer at the Center for Outcomes and Evidence, where he oversaw all scientific aspects of the Center’s research and programs. In this role, he also provided oversight for 13 AHRQ-funded Evidence-based Practice Centers. Before AHRQ, Dr. Atkins was a Senior Advisor for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, co-directing a national task force on clinical prevention convened by the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health.

Prior to this, Dr. Atkins split his time between conducting epidemiologic research on cardiovascular disease prevention and providing primary care in the ambulatory setting at Harborview Hospital. He received his MD from Yale University, is Board certified in Internal Medicine, and has a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology from the University of Washington, where he complete a NRSA Fellowship in Primary Medicine.