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Media Roundtable: Making A Difference in the Health of Women Veterans

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

Patricia Hayes, PhD is the Chief Consultant for the Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group in the VA Office of Patient Care Services. In this role, she oversees the delivery of VA health care services for the more than 337,000 women Veteran health care users. Dr. Hayes is a 29-year VA employee, having started in the early 1980's as a clinical psychologist seeing Vietnam-era Veterans with PTSD. As the women Veterans program was expanded, she became the Women Veteran Program Manager for VA Pittsburgh, and later was the Lead for VA Healthcare - VISN 4. She has collaborated with VA researchers on topics including organization of care delivery, satisfaction with care, and evaluation of quality disparity. Recently, Dr. Hayes has successfully worked to expand initiatives for women Veterans' health care into a broad range of areas of importance, including cardiac health, reproductive health, birth defect prevention, and a comprehensive evaluation of care provision to women Veterans. She chaired the Under Secretary for Health Workgroup on the Enhancement of Primary Care to Women Veterans, a plan to organize women's health primary care at every VA access point. Currently, her office is implementing patient-aligned care teams as an integral part of health care services for women Veterans. Dr. Hayes is also frequently called to testify on the needs of women Veterans before Congress.

Patricia Hayes, PhD

Elizabeth M. Yano, PhD, MSPH is the Co-Director and Research Career Scientist for the VA Health Services Research and Development Service (HSR&D) Center of Excellence for the Study of Healthcare Provider Behavior and the Deputy Associate Chief of Staff for Health Services Research, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Dr. Yano is also the recipient of the 2012 Under Secretary's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research, which is the highest honor for a VA health services researcher. She is trained in health care epidemiology, biostatistics, and health policy at UCLA and the RAND Corporation. Dr. Yano has over 26 years of experience in health services research and is an internationally recognized expert on organizational influences on quality of care and implementation of evidence-based practice. She is nationally recognized for her leadership in establishing the VA women's health research agenda first in 2004 and again in 2010, developing the foundations necessary for systematically improving women Veterans' health and health care. Additionally, Dr. Yano is a Principal Investigator of the VA Women's Health Research Network and directs a series of studies evaluating VA implementation of patient-centered medical homes, clinical genetics services, and other new care models. Dr. Yano is also an Adjunct Professor, Department of Health Services, UCLA School of Public Health.

Elizabeth M. Yano, PhD, MSPH

Susan M. Frayne, MD, MPH is Associate Director of the Women's Health Center, VA Palo Alto Health Care System. She has 20 years of experience in research, VA medical care, and women's health issues. Dr. Frayne's research examines the interface of medicine and mental health, with particular focus on delivery of high quality, integrated primary care for patients with mental illness. Her work also includes studies on women Veterans' VA health care utilization, and on the burden of medical illness in women Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Additionally, she directs the VA Women's Health Practice Based Research Network (PBRN), which provides infrastructure for multi-site women's health research in VA, and the Women's Health Evaluation Initiative (WHEI), which conducts program evaluation work for VA's national women's health program. Dr. Frayne is also an Associate Professor of Medicine, Stanford University.

Susan M. Frayne, MD, MPH

Donna L. Washington, MD, MPH is a Staff Physician at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, the Women's Health and Equity Strategic Program Area Lead at the VA Greater Los Angeles HSR&D Center of Excellence for the Study of Healthcare Provider Behavior, and Co-director of the VA Greater Los Angeles - UCLA Women's Health Fellowship. Dr. Washington's research focuses on access to healthcare, quality of care, and healthcare disparities for women and racial/ethnic minorities. Dr. Washington has worked extensively on understanding access and quality issues in VA, is a nationally recognized expert in women Veterans' health care, and was the recipient of VA HSR&D Research Career Development Award. Dr. Washington was the guest editor for the Journal of General Internal Medicine's Special Issue on VA Women's Health Research that was published in 2006. She is a member of the steering committee for VA Women's Health Research Network and is a member of the Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health minority women's health panel of experts. Dr. Washington is also a Professor of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine.

Donna L. Washington, MD, MPH

Media Toolkit & Resources

Roundtable Materials

* All files below are in PDF format.

For Dr. Yano's presentation:

For Dr. Frayne's presentation:

For Dr. Washington'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.

For more information, please visit

VA Research in Women's Health

Women's Health icon Women's Health

Information on Women's Health Services for Veterans

Media RoundtablePress Coverage

  • "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

February 16, 2012 Roundtable: "Translating Mental Health Research into Health Care Excellence"

Questions about the R&D website? Email the Web Team.

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.