Health Services Research & Development

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Under Secretary's Award in Health Services Research

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Nelda Wray, M.D., M.P.H.Nelda P. Wray, M.D., M.P.H., an active clinician, pre-eminent researcher, respected mentor, and vigorous contributor to VA's Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D), is this year's recipient of the Under Secretary's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research. This award recognizes and honors the very highest level of achievement in health services research.

The Under Secretary's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research recognizes an individual who has: (1) conducted research that significantly enhances our understanding of factors affecting the health of veterans or that has led to a major improvement in the quality of veterans' health care; (2) made a substantive contribution to the future by inspiring a new generation of investigators through excellence in training and mentorship; and (3) enhanced the visibility and reputation of VA research through national leadership. In more than two decades of service to the Houston VA Medical Center, Dr. Wray has excelled in all these areas.

Dr. Wray has done, and continues to do important research in the use of large health care databases for quality assessment, risk adjustment, and understanding patients' preferences for treatment and outcomes. She was a pioneer in developing strategies to perform case-mix adjustment using administrative databases, a critical strategy when making inferences about cost, quality and effectiveness of health care. Additionally, Dr. Wray has conducted validity and reliability studies for outcomes commonly used by health services researchers. Dr. Wray has applied these methodological advances when conducting research on conditions of particular importance to veterans, including heart failure, prostate cancer, and others.

In her roles as teacher and mentor, Dr. Wray has helped to develop the careers of many of VA's most productive health services researchers. At the Houston VA Center of Excellence she is credited for creating an environment and infrastructure that fosters interdisciplinary health services research, assuring current and future progress in understanding the health services needs of America's veterans.

Dr. Wray's vita reflects numerous examples of national service, including current appointments to the National Advisory Committee for HSR&D as well as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Dr. Wray has served on the National Council and the Editorial Board of the Journal of General Internal Medicine and was appointed to the Texas Health Care Information Council by Governor Bush. Both within and outside of VA she is recognized for her extensive knowledge of health care issues and her commitment to excellence.

In recognition of her distinguished accomplishments in the field of health services research, and her exceptional career, it is with great honor that VHA presents the prestigious Under Secretary's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research to Dr. Nelda P. Wray.