VA researchers honored with Presidential Award for Early Career Scientists
WASHINGTON— Shortly before the end of his term, President Obama honored three Department of Veterans Affairs researchers with The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The award is considered to be the highest honor given by the United States government for investigators in the beginning of their research careers. This year, 102 scientists and researchers from 13 federal departments and agencies were named recipients of the award.
"I congratulate these outstanding scientists and engineers on their impactful work," President Obama said in a Jan. 9, 2017, White House statement. "These innovators are working to help keep the United States on the cutting edge, showing that federal investments in science lead to advancements that expand our knowledge of the world around us and contribute to our economy."
Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology. The VA awardees are: Dr. Adam Rose, who was with the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts, at the time of the award, and is now with RAND; Dr. Nasia Safdar, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin; and Dr. Joshua F. Yarrow, North Florida/South Georgia VA Health Care System.
Rose was recognized for his work on improving outpatient oral anticoagulation therapy. His studies have addressed how providers manage their patients on warfarin, a blood thinner used widely to help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Rose’s group developed a new composite measure that helps providers track the potential risks of the therapy more effectively than with existing measures, thus improving patient care. The new tool, known as the warfarin composite measure, also helps in comparing the performance of different facilities—for example, across the VA system—in terms of how well they manage their warfarin patients.
Safdar was cited for achievements in the prevention and management of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), along with related implementation research that bridges gaps between research and clinical practice. Her work examines work-system barriers to infection control in the hospital and identifies best practices to reduce the overall incidence of HAIs. In one ongoing study, her group is looking at the impact of a specific probiotic to reduce staph infections.
Yarrow received the honor for cutting-edge research regarding the musculoskeletal changes that occur after central nervous system injury. His work focuses on developing safe, effective, cost-efficient therapies to improve musculoskeletal and metabolic health in Veterans with spinal cord
injury and other wasting conditions. In one current clinical trial, he is examining the benefits and risks of treating men with spinal cord injury who are low in testosterone with testosterone plus the drug finasteride, which is used to treat enlarged prostate, a possible side effect of testosterone replacement therapy.