Past Fellows - Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC)
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Center to Improve Veteran Involvement in Care (CIVIC)

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Past Fellows

Jason I Chen, PhD

Fellowship Period: 2016 - 2018

Dr. Jason Chen received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of South Florida in 2016 where he focused on mechanisms of suicide risk and the implementation and dissemination of suicide prevention programming. He completed his APA-accredited, pre-doctoral internship at the Denver VA Medical Center.

Professional Interests and Goals: Dr. Chen's research is on improving the translation of suicide research into clinical practice. He is especially interested in developing new interventions informed by Veteran and clinician perspectives. During the fellowship, his focus is on expanding his intervention development and evaluation skills. Following fellowship, Dr. Chen's goal is to become a VA clinical researcher.

                                              Recent Presentations, Publications, and Projects

Why did you apply to the HSR&D Fellowship with CIVIC?

I was excited to continue developing my research skills with a focus on Veteran-specific, applied research. I was also impressed by the collegial atmosphere at CIVIC, and the strong value placed on how better understanding Veteran experiences can enhance quality of care.

What have you gained from the program so far?

I have really enjoyed working with my mentorship team which includes Dr. Denneson, Dr. Dobscha, and Dr. Teo. They have worked with me to consider different project ideas from multiple lenses and within the broader health services context.

What projects are you / will you be working on?

I am currently collaborating with my mentorship team on several secondary data analysis projects including manuscripts focused on enhancing Veteran engagement in care and understanding treatment processes. In addition, I am developing a proposal for an HSR&D career development award focused on bolstering protective factors among Veterans at elevated suicide risk.

Shannon Madore Nugent, PhD

Fellowship Period: 2016 - 2018

Dr. Shannon Nugent completed her PhD in Clinical Health Psychology from the University of Colorado Denver in 2015. During her doctoral training she also completed the Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute TL1 Predoctoral Fellowship program. This fellowship emphasized content and methodologic training in basic science translational research and funded a dissertation research project that examined psychological and neuroendocrine response to caregiving for a significant other with blood cancer.

Professional Interests and Goals: Dr. Nugent's research interests are in the areas of palliative medicine, psychosocial oncology, and improving access to health care for older adults. In addition, Dr. Nugent provides mental health services to oncology patients within the VA. She is also an Instructor at OHSU in the Department of Psychiatry. Her goal is to become an independent investigator with CIVIC and to continue to work on interdisciplinary teams conducting VA health services research.

                                              Recent Presentations, Publications, and Projects

Why did you apply to the HSR&D Fellowship with CIVIC?

I applied to the HSR&D fellowship for many reasons. Primarily, I was excited to be a part of an interdisciplinary HSR&D VA research community, which I believe provides a unique training experience. The investigators at CIVIC have a diverse set of methodologic and content expertise that matched well with my interests and training goals. Specifically, I was seeking to gain methodologic training in evidence synthesis as well as with qualitative and administrative data, all of which would facilitate my HSR&D career trajectory. My husband and I also thought that Portland would be an ideal place to raise our family.

What have you gained from the program so far?

As a result of my participation in this HSR&D fellowship, I am developing strong data analytics skills through working with large administrative data sets (i.e. Corporate Data Warehouse). I continue to build on an already strong working knowledge of both qualitative data analysis methodologies. I served as a co-investigator with the VA Evidence-based Synthesis Program on a recent evidence synthesis project that examined the benefits and harms of cannabis for chronic pain and PTSD. This experience provided me with training in systematic review methodology. Finally, during my fellowship I have had outstanding research and clinical mentorship from numerous investigators from many different disciplines, which has been incredibly valuable to me as an early career psychologist.

What projects are you / will you be working on?

I am currently working on projects related to medical cannabis use among patients with chronic pain, patient-physician communication and treatment decisions among patients with early stage lung cancer, patient/family experiences seeking physician-aid-in-dying under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, and POLST utilization in the VA. I am also working on a clinical quality improvement project that will provide local head and neck cancer patients with cognitive-behavioral techniques to manage cancer pain, fatigue, mood, and sleep disruption. This project will likely serve as foundational work for my career development award application.

Jessica Wyse, PhD

Fellowship Period: 2016 - 2018

Dr. Jessica Wyse received her PhD in Sociology and Public Policy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2011, where she focused broadly on poverty and inequality. In graduate training and during a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan, she conducted extensive research on prisoner reentry and reintegration. Dr. Wyse's current research is focused on medication assisted therapies for opioid use disorders.

Professional Interests and Goals: Dr. Wyse is currently engaged in five projects: 1) An historical review of the prevalence and implementation of medication assisted therapies for opioid use disorders within VA, 2) A project investigating the treatment of acute pain in patients receiving agonist medications for opioid use disorder, 3) A study of clinicians' opioid discontinuation decisions following aberrant urine drug screens, 4) A qualitative study of barriers to Veterans' engagement in VA Supported Employment programs, and 5) A systematic review of Pay for Performance within VA and the Veterans CHOICE Program.
During the fellowship, Dr. Wyse will expand her knowledge of clinical practice through didactic training and ethnographic observation of substance use treatment programs, and continue to build expertise in the treatment of substance use disorders and medication assisted therapies. Following fellowship, Dr. Wyse's goal is to become an independant investigator.

                                              Recent Presentations, Publications, and Projects

Why did you apply to the HSR&D Fellowship with CIVIC?

I was thrilled to learn about the HSR&D Fellowship! In my prior work, I saw how devastating substance use disorders could be for those suffering for them--an estimated 1/2 to 3/4 of justice-involved people struggle with substance use disorders. And in a research collaboration between the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice, CODA (a local treatment provider) and the county jail, I learned about effective medications that could be used to treat opioid use disorders, but that nonetheless remained inaccessible to many who needed them. This inspired me to shift the focus of my research to health services, where I could research the barriers to expanding the usage of these effective medications and design implementation strategies to overcome them. The fellowship presented a great opportunity to make this transition.

What have you gained from the program so far?

From the first day of the fellowship I started learning about the fascinating work that VA investigators are doing, and quickly became involved in that research. VA researchers are a motivated, mission-driven group and it has been fun to join such a dynamic environment. I'm enjoying the many learning opportunities, from Cyberseminars, to group meetings and weekly seminars.

What projects are you / will you be working on?

I am planning to apply for a large grant to study the Integration of Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders into Primary Care. In this project, I will a) determine prevalence of MAT prescribed for opioid use disorder within VA, b) identify disparities in MAT receipt across Veteran socio-demographic categories, and c) conduct longitudinal interviews with practitioners across a diverse sample of facilities as they begin the process of integrating MAT into primary care. I will use this information to identify effective models for integrating pharmacotherapy into primary care for dissemination.

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