HSR&D Investigator Quarterly

SUMMER 2019 issue:

  • Spotlight: Under Secretary’s Award in Health Services

  • Research News: Highlights and deadlines for grant and paper submissions

  • Recently Published: Papers, briefs, and other work by or featuring HSR&D investigators

  • Awards & Honors: Links to recent recipients of national awards, honors, or significant career achievements

NOTE: HSR&D Investigator Quarterly replaced HSR&D Research Briefs (archived here).
Recommended Reading

Examining Sex/Gender Differences in Veterans Affairs Researcha special supplement to Women’s Health Issues. Sponsored by VA's Cooperative Studies Program and the VA Women's Health Research Network, the supplement features significant contributions from HSR&D investigators.

2018 Under Secretary for Health Award

Steven Asch, MD, MPH

Steven Asch, MD, MPH, has earned the 2018 Under Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research – the highest honor for a VA health services researcher. Dr. Asch has met the major criteria for this award by:

  • Improving our understanding of factors that affect the health of Veterans and the quality of their care,

  • Contributing to the future of VA health services research by inspiring and training a new generation of investigators, and

  • Enhancing the visibility of VA research through national recognition within the research community.

Dr. Asch received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2004, and has been the Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator on 40 funded grants totaling nearly $50 million in direct funds. As part of this work, Dr. Asch applies access/quality measurement techniques and implementation science methods to reduce disparities among vulnerable populations, including those involved in the justice system, or Veterans who have conditions such as HIV, HCV, and/or substance use disorder. For example, his research findings impacted the way VA deploys HIV testing efforts, including:

  • Universal testing is cost effective, which helped motivate a change to offering the test to everyone, both within and outside VA.

  • Streamlining the consent process helps get people tested, informing the decision to remove requirements for written informed consent and specialized counselors in VA.

  • Clinical reminders on testing are effective, leading to near universal use of the reminder across the VA healthcare system.

  • Centralized implementation of reminders, combined with provider activation and streamlined processes led to doubling of HIV screening rates, which resulted in VA’s HIV testing rate remaining higher than the rate for comparable non-Veteran populations.

Dr. Asch has testified on his work before Congressional staff, federal commissions, VA’s Under Secretary for Health, and other governmental bodies, and has received national and international media attention (i.e., CNN, NY Times, Washington Post, ABC, NPR, among others). He also is a prolific author, with more than 380 peer-reviewed publications, including in The New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, and JAMA. His work has been cited more than 23,000 times. Dr. Asch also co-edits the Journal of General Internal Medicine, helping to guide the health services research published therein to a more applied bent.

In recognition of providing remarkable mentoring across his career, Dr. Asch was HSR&D's 2016 recipient of the Daniel Deykin Award for Outstanding Mentor. As stated by one of his mentees, Dr. Karl Lorenz, a former HSR&D Career Development Awardee, Dr. Asch's "appetite for learning, sharp intellect, ability to communicate clearly, and focus on benefiting his mentees continues to make him a highly sought-after mentor. His skills are reflected in the many trainees who seek him out, and in the academic and other signs of productivity that his mentees have achieved."

For an exceptional career and continued dedication to improving the health and care of Veterans, particularly our most vulnerable, HSR&D is proud to present the Under Secretary’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research to Dr. Steven Asch.


Research News
Research news highlights and deadlines for grant and paper submissions
  • Embedded Research. A VA Special Supplement on embedded research will be published in Healthcare: The Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation. The submission deadline is September 27, 2019

  • Implementation & Quality Improvement. The Journal of General Internal Medicine seeks papers that focus on generating knowledge or evidence needed by healthcare delivery systems that apply scientific methods in routine care settings with an eye toward improving patient and population. The submission deadline is September 3, 2019.

  • HSR&D Researchers and Evaluators in Residence. HSR&D has funded five VA researchers to spend time in clinical programs or VISN offices to help with analysis and to bring research knowledge to policy and program planning.


Recently Published
Papers, briefs, and other recent work by or featuring HSR&D investigators
  • HSR&D FORUM. The August 2019 issue of FORUM addresses the range of research necessary to understand and improve upon access efforts in light of the MISSION Act and an increasing call to allow Veterans’ use of community care.



  • QUERI eNEWS. The July 2019 issue of the Quality Enhancement Research Initiative eNews is now available on the QUERI website.  This issue focuses on implementation and strategies to informed evidence-based policy..



  • Management eBriefs. Provide VA senior managers with results from VA Health Services Research in a concise and timely manner. The following briefs have recently been published.


  • HSR&D Monthly Spotlight. The HSR&D website publishes a monthly feature highlighting ongoing and recently concluded HSR&D- and QUERI-funded investigations focused on a single topic. The following topics have been recently featured:


Awards & Honors
Recent recipients of national awards, honors, or significant career achievements
  • Walid Gellad, MD, MPH, was named a 2019 recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering. Learn more…
  • Sarah Krein, PhD, RN, received the 2019 Distinguished Scientist Award from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. Learn more…
  • Society for General Internal Medicine (SGIM) Awards & Honors. HSR&D investigators were well-represented at the SGIM Annual Meeting. Sonya Borrerro, MD, MS, Utibe Essien, MD, MPH, and Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD, were all honored. Learn more…
Walid Gellad, MD, MPH

Walid Gellad, MD, MPH

Sarah Krein, PhD, RN

Sarah Krein, PhD, RN

Sonya Borrerro, MD, MS

Sonya Borrerro, MD, MS

Utibe Essien, MD, MPH

Utibe Essien, MD, MPH

Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD

Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD

To submit an award notice for possible publication on the HSR&D website, be sure that the award is recognized at a national and/or international level. Internal awards, such as departmental awards, are not accepted. The award can be for a Center-wide achievement or for an individual investigator.