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Media Roundtable: Translating Mental Health Research into Health Care Excellence

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, 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

JoAnn E. Kirchner, MD is the Director of the VA Mental Health Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (MH QUERI) and Staff Psychiatrist at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. She is an investigator at both the Center for Mental Healthcare and Outcomes Research (CeMHOR) and the VA South Central Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (MIRECC). She is also Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine and Associate Professor, Department of Maternal and Child Health at the UAMS College of Public Health. Dr. Kirchner's research has focused on the implementation of evidence-based practices into routine clinical settings. Among her additional research areas of interest are mental health disorders in primary care, quality improvement, depression, alcohol use disorders, Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Veterans, rural health, and clinical-research partnerships.

JoAnn E. Kirchner, MD

Ranak Trivedi, PhD is an investigator with the Northwest Health Services Research and Development Center of Excellence, VA Puget Sound Health Care System. She is also a Research Assistant Professor, Health Services at the University of Washington School of Public Health. Dr. Trivedi's research interests include the role of family caregivers in chronic illness management and how psychosocial factors affect chronic disease outcomes. She recently led a systematic review of the literature on the use of psychotherapy in managing treatment resistant depression. Among Dr. Trivedi's current research projects are a career development award to examine how couples cope with congestive heart failure, and determining rate of guideline concordant depression treatment among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Ranak Trivedi, PhD

Nina Sayer, MA, PhD is a clinical psychologist and health services researcher at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center where she also serves as Associate Director for the Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research (CCDOR). Additionally, she is Research Director for VA's Polytrauma and Blast-Related Injuries Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (PT/BRI QUERI). Dr. Sayer's research has focused on postdeployment health, with particularly emphases on service needs and demands among Iraq and Afghanistan war Veterans. Her recent work focuses on reintegration issues. She has a particular interest in testing interventions in the "real world" as opposed to the "pristine" setting of the research lab. Dr. Sayer is also Associate Professor, Department of Medicine and Psychiatry, and Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota.

Nina Sayer, MA, PhD

Marcia Valenstein, MD is the Associate Director for Research Programs, Serious Mental Illness Treatment Research and Evaluation Center (SMITREC) at the Ann Arbor VA Center for Clinical Management Research. She is also the Director of the Depression Health Services Research Evaluation and Management (DREAM) Program, Depression Center, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan and VA Health Services Research and Development program in Ann Arbor. Dr. Valenstein has used health system data to assess care quality and has also developed and evaluated innovative interventions to improve care. She has been principal investigator on multiple federal and foundation funded grants and has over 125 articles or book chapters that are published or in press. Her funded projects have focused on the quality of care for depression and schizophrenia, medication adherence, interventions to improve adherence, suicide among Veterans, peer support for depression, and peer linkage to care for newly returning soldiers.

Marcia Valenstein, MD

Media Toolkit & Resources

Roundtable Materials

For Dr. Kirchner's presentation:

For Dr. Trivedi's presentation:

For Dr. Sayer's presentation:

For Dr. Valenstein'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 the ability to quickly move scientific discovery from the research setting to advancements in health care and to recruit the best and brightest healthcare professionals.

VA Research in Mental Health

Mental Health icon Mental health
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) iconPTSD
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) iconTBI
Afghanistan & Iraq Veterans iconIraq/Afghanistan

Information on Mental Health Services for Veterans

Press Coverage

"VA touts research department's newest efforts" by Leo Shane III in Stars and Stripes

Upcoming Roundtables

Information regarding the next VA Research Virtual Media Roundtable will be posted soon. Please continue to check this site.

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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.