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VA Research Virtual Media Roundtable: Diabetes/Obesity

Virtual media roundtables provide reporters with an opportunity for direct discussion with leading VA researchers on key research topics and portfolio areas. Each hour-long session includes brief remarks by researchers on a designated topic followed by a question and answer session. Reporters may participate in-person at VA headquarters in Washington, DC, or by teleconference. For more information, including a call-in number, please contact Laurie Tranter, VA Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, at


Joel Kupersmith, MD: As Chief Research and Development Officer of the VA, Dr. Kupersmith has completed projects and published papers on a number of health and research policy projects including how to fund, oversee and promote comparative effectiveness research, how Academic Medical Centers should be accountable, quality of care in teaching hospitals, regional IRBs, medical manpower and other issues.

Joel Kupersmith, MD

David Aron, M.D., M.S., is Associate Chief of Staff/Education and Co-Director of the VA Quality Scholars Program at the Cleveland VA Medical Center. He is also an Associate Director of the VA's Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) Center for Implementation Practice and Research Support, which works to improve linkages and partnerships between VA implementation researchers and VA clinical practice and policy leaders. Additionally, Dr. Aron is a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and a Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Weatherhead School of Management.

David Aron, M.D., M.S.

Michele Heisler, M.D., M.P.A., is a Staff Physician at the VA Ann Arbor Health Care System and is the Director of the Community Outreach and Engagement Core, at the Michigan Center for Diabetes Translation Research (MCDTR). Her research focuses on patient self-management, treatment decision-making, and patient activation. She is currently conducting four studies that seek to lower the rate of diabetes through a variety of programs such as: increasing education in at-risk populations; assisting in the treatment decision making process through a coaching program; and measuring the effectiveness of peer-to-peer support programs. Dr. Heisler is also an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan .

Michele Heisler, M.D., M.P.A.

William Yancy, M.D., M.H.Sc. is a Senior Physician in the Ambulatory Care Service as well as a Senior Investigator for the Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care at the Durham VA Medical Center . Dr. Yancy is currently focusing on research surrounding a variety of interventions that affect a person's weight, such as blood sugar, diet, medications, and lifestyle counseling. His interventions can reduce medications needed for comorbid disease and his team is currently working on ways to quantify this reduction. Once this is determined, medication changes can be made when analyzing health outcomes associated with weight loss. Dr. Yancy is also an Associate Professor of Medicine at Duke University.

William Yancy, M.D., M.H.Sc.

Media Toolkit & Resources

Roundtable Materials

For Dr. Aron's presentation: For Dr. Heisler's presentation: For Dr. Yancy's presentation:

About VA Research

How is VA research different from research sponsored by other federal research agencies?

  • VA Research is the only research program focused entirely on Veterans' needs.
  • VA Research is intramural, meaning only VA employees can conduct research under VA's sponsorship. Typically, VA researchers collaborate with academic institutions. We feel that this is an exceptional benefit because it allows us to identify the direct needs of patients at chair and bed side, and to find discoveries and innovations directly in-step with these needs-keeping the Veteran at the center of health care from the very beginning.
  • More than 60 percent of VA researchers are also clinicians who provide direct patient care, which is important because it allows VA Research to quickly move scientific discovery from the research setting to advancements in health care and to recruit the best and brightest healthcare professionals.

For more information, please visit

VA Research on Diabetes and Obesity:



Information on Obesity and Diabetes for Veterans

Media RoundtablePress Coverage

VA Press Release, March 31, 2012, "Research Roundtable Caps VA Celebration of Women's History Month"

Can writing exercises for veterans help cure PTSD?" in Stars and Stripes on March 16, 2012

"VA touts research department's newest efforts" in Stars and Stripes on November 15, 2012

Previous Roundtables

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Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.