Health Services Research & Development

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David Atkins, MD, MPH, Director of HSR&D

David Atkins, MD, MPH, has been Director of VA’s Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) Service since 2013. In this role, he oversees a $94 million intramural health services research program, comprised of approximately 1,000 funded investigators and more than 300 ongoing research projects aimed at improving the health of and care for our nation’s 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. Prior to his work with 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.

Before his work within federal agencies, 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.