Health Services Research & Development

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HSR&D Scientific Merit Review Board

The HSR&D Scientific Merit Review Board is made up of several panels organized by HSR&D review areas. Please note that review panel membership and assignments may change for each review and will be updated after the most recent review is completed.

See also HSR&D Merit Review Success Rates

August 2017 Review Panel Membership Lists for Health Services Research

  • HSR1 - Medical Care and Clinical Management; Health Professional Behavior
  • HS1A - Medical Care and Clinical Management, Health Professional Behavior - Special Panel
  • HSR2 - Behavioral, Social, and Cultural Determinants of Health and Care
  • HSR3 - Healthcare Informatics
  • HS3A - Healthcare Informatics - Special Panel
  • HSR4 - Mental and Behavioral Health
  • HS4A - Mental and Behavioral Health – Special Panel
  • HSR5 - Health Care System Organization and Delivery
  • HS5A - Health Care System Organization and Delivery - Special Panel
  • HSR6 - Post-acute and Long-term Care
  • HQ8 - QUERI Partnered Evaluation Initiative
  • NRI - Nursing Research Initiative (ORD program, managed by HSR&D)
  • CDA - HSR&D Career Development

March 2017 Review Panel Membership Lists for Health Services Research

  • HSR 1 - Medical Care and Clinical Management; Health Professional Behavior
  • HS1A - Medical Care and Clinical Management, Health Professional Behavior - Special Panel
  • HSR2 - Behavioral, Social, and Cultural Determinants of Health and Care
  • HSR3 - Healthcare Informatics
  • HS3A - Healthcare Informatics - Special Panel
  • HSR4 - Mental and Behavioral Health
  • HSR5 - Health Care System Organization and Delivery
  • HS5A - Health Care System Organization and Delivery - Special Panel
  • HSR6 - Post-acute and Long-term Care
  • NRI - Nursing Research Initiative (ORD program, managed by HSR&D)
  • CDA1 - HSR&D Career Development

IMPORTANT: This list is for information purposes only. Under no circumstances should an investigator communicate directly with any review board member about an application either before or after the review. Please direct all questions about reviews to the Scientific Program Manager who oversees the relevant review committee.


Interpretation of an application's overall score: Reviewers serving on the Scientific Merit Review Board (SMRB) assign each application a single score that reflects their assessment of the overall scientific merit based on consideration of the review criteria. The individual reviewer scores are averaged and then multiplied by 100. Below are the general guidelines currently used by SMRB reviewers. [Note: While all applications are reviewed, not all applications are discussed and scored by the review panel. Only discussed applications receive an overall score; others are "unscored." Applications that are candidates for being unscored include any proposal with an average preliminary score placing it in the lower (least meritorious) 25-30% of applications for review. An unscored application may be very appropriate for resubmission, depending on the comments in the written critiques.] See Guidelines for Scoring HSR&D Proposals.

Scientific Review Administrators (SRAs)


Review Group SRA Phone Email Description
Care of Gulf War Veterans Robert Small (202) 443-5743 robert.small@va.gov Health Services Research on Gulf War-related illnesses.
Career Development Robert Small (202) 443-5743 robert.small@va.gov Research that focuses on health care delivery in clinical and community settings, including nursing and medical care; medical/surgical intervention and management; diagnosis; prognosis; pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics; utilization and patterns of care; outcomes research.
HSR 1 – Health Care and Clinical Management Cathie Plouzek, PhD (202) 443-5753 Cathie.Plouzek@va.gov Health Services Research on personal, patient-health professional interaction, and special population determinants of health and care. Focuses on: health behaviors and health behavior change along the spectrum of health care from health promotion and prevention, to screening and early detection and treatment; special population determinants, including disparities in care and health equity, related to gender, race, ethnicity, culture, and other sociodemographic factors such as rural; and personal, social and cultural factors that influence patient preferences, perceptions, behaviors (including risk and symptom management, engagement, and other self-management), decision making, communication and health care. Interventions will address individual health behavior change including modifying health risk factors such as physical activity, adherence and other aspects of health care management, health decision making, health care communication, and patient-centered care.
HSR 2 – Behavioral, Social and Cultural Determinants of Health and Care Linda Lipson, MA (202) 443-5747 linda.lipson@va.gov Patient preferences, perceptions, and behaviors (including engagement and self management); personal, sociodemographic, and cultural factors affecting health and care (patient/population/provider/community); patient decision-making; focused patient-centered health care improvements and innovations; patient-provider interactions and communication; populations with disparities in health (women, rural, minorities).
HSR 3 – Healthcare Informatics Miho Tanaka, PhD, MPH (202) 443-5759 Miho.Tanaka@va.gov Research in informatics and technology, including design for cognitive and decision support and data/knowledge representation; basic research to develop research methods and models; research to develop surveillance methods including public health, operations, and adverse events.
HSR 4 – Mental and Behavioral Health Robert William O'Brien, PhD, MA (202) 443-5741 robert.obrien7@va.gov Research on assessment, treatment, and prevention for mental health conditions (such as depression, serious mental illness, and PTSD) and behavioral health conditions (such as substance use disorder and addictive disorders); suicide and suicide ideation; mental health - primary care integration (MH-PCI).
HSR 5 – Health Care System Organization and Delivery Cathie Plouzek, PhD (202) 443-5753 Cathie.Plouzek@va.gov Main focus on organizational models affecting delivery of care across systems (different care settings or healthcare systems), quality improvement. value of care, preferences and utilities used in the measurement of the value of care, system efficiency and redesign, cost efficiencies, and, process models and models of care.
HSR 6 – Post-acute and Long-term Care George Fitzelle, PhD (202) 266-4674 george.fitzelle@va.gov Research with main focus on rehabilitation, functional outcomes, and community-based care; also certain research focused on caregiving, long-term care, and end-of-life care.
HSR 8 - Randomized Program Evaluation Melissa M. Braganza, MBBS (202) 443-5818 Melissa.Braganza@va.gov
NRI - Nursing Research Initiative Robert Small (202) 443-5743 robert.small@va.gov NRI (ORD-wide, managed by HSR&D) solicits proposals from VA nurse investigators who are in the early stages of their research careers for a mentored research project, leading to independence in the PI role. Within an interdisciplinary context, VA nursing research focuses on identifying, testing and/or implementing nursing interventions that enhance health and prevent disease in Veterans across the care continuum. Across VHA, these nursing interventions are patient-centered, culturally congruent, cost-effective and outcome-driven. Proposals submitted under this initiative should be designed to maximize the eventual application of findings and conclusions to the care of Veterans.