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 has been appointed Director of HSR&D, effective February 24, 2013. In the role of HSR&D Director, he will oversee the more than $90 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 served as Acting Director of HSR&D since October 2012. Prior to that, Dr. Atkins served as Director of VA/HSR&D's Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) that focuses on implementation of evidence-based innovations to improve healthcare for Veterans. He has also served as Acting Deputy Director of HSR&D.

Before becoming Director of QUERI, Dr. Atkins spent more than a decade at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). In his last role at AHRQ, he was the Chief Medical Officer at the Center for Outcomes and Evidence, where he oversaw the scientific activities of AHRQ's Effective Healthcare Program and research on improving care of chronic disease. Prior to that, he was the Coordinator for Clinical Preventive Services at AHRQ's Center for Practice Technology Assessment. In that role, he directed an array of programs and research activities relating to clinical preventive services and health promotion. Board certified in Internal Medicine, Dr. Atkins also has a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology. Prior to joining AHRQ, he split his time between the two by conducting epidemiologic research on cardiovascular disease prevention and providing primary care in the ambulatory setting.

In addition to several faculty appointments, Dr. Atkins has served on national committees that include the Armed Forces Epidemiology Board, American College of Preventive Medicine's Practice Guidelines Committee, and the American Cancer Society's Detection and Treatment Advisory Group. Dr. Atkins also is a member of the editorial board for the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and he has authored nearly 40 articles and/or book chapters and given more than 50 presentations on topics such as improving cancer screening in the primary care setting, assessing outcomes of health promotion and disease prevention, and the science of practice guidelines.

Dr. Atkins has been intricately involved in guiding an innovative transformation within HSR&D that focuses on collaborative research through the CREATE (Collaborative Research to Enhance and Advance Transformation and Excellence) initiative and the new Centers of Innovation (COINs). CREATEs are a group of coordinated research projects conducted in a focused research area by collaborating investigators that coordinate with one or more VA partners. Currently funded CREATEs address high-priority issues for Veterans and the VA healthcare system, such as evidence-based therapies for PTSD, improving quality and safety through PACTs, long-term care, pain management and patient-aligned care, promoting value and access in substance use disorder services, and women Veterans' healthcare. COINs are the new evolution of the HSR&D Centers of Excellence, and will also emphasize collaborative research.