PECASE, established in 1996 to "recognize and nurture some of the finest scientist and engineers" is given annually to researchers early in their research
careers. The PECASE is the "highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists." On July 2, 2019, President Trump announced the 2015-2017 PECASE Awardees. The full list is on the WhiteHouse.gov web site.
PECASE Awardees from BLR&D and CSR&D
Eric Chang, M.D. - San Diego VA Healthcare System, Department of Veterans Affairs
Jason Wertheim, M.D, Ph.D. - Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, Department of Veterans Affairs
Panagiotis Roussos, M.D, Ph.D. - James J. Peters VA Medical Center
Erika Wolf, Ph.D., VA Boston Healthcare System
Brian Head, M.S., Ph.D. - VA San Diego Healthcare System (San Diego, CA)
K. Luan Phan, M.D. - Jesse Brown VA Medical Center (Chicago, IL)
Kristina M. Utzschneider, M.D. - VA Puget Sound Health Care System (Seattle, WA)
Christine Basmajian, Ph.D. - VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System (Ann Arbor, MI)
Melina R. Kibbe, M.D. - Jesse Brown VA Medical Center (Chicago, IL)
Mary Beth Humphrey, M.D., Ph.D. - Oklahoma City VA Medical Center (Oklahoma City, OK)
Sterling C. Johnson, Ph.D. - William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital (Madison, WI)
Jennifer L. Gooch, Ph.D. - Atlanta VA Medical Center (Decatur, GA)
William Grady, M.D. - VA Puget Sound Health Care System (Seattle, WA)
Richard Z. Lin, M.D. - Northport VA Medical Center (Northport, NY)
Jeffrey R. Smith, M.D., Ph.D. - Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (Nashville, TN)
Eric J. Huang, M.D., Ph.D. - San Francisco VA Medical Center (San Francisco, CA)
Mary C. Nakamura, M.D. - San Francisco VA Medical Center (San Francisco, CA)
Alan E. Mast, M.D., Ph.D. - Memphis VA Medical Center (Memphis, TN)
Richard N. Pierson, M.D. - Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (Nashville, TN)
Michael J. Gaziano, M.D., M.P.H. - VA Boston Healthcare System (Boston, MA)
Martin R. Gluck, M.D., Ph.D. - James J. Peters VA Medical Center (Bronx, NY)
Melissa P. Clark, M.D. - Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (Nashville TN)
Joseph F. Cubells, M.D., Ph.D. - VA Connecticut Healthcare System (West Haven, CT)
Eric Chang, M.D., of the San Diego VA Healthcare System, was named as a recipient of the 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Dr. Chang is a clinician specializing in diagnostic and interventional musculoskeletal (MSK) radiology and is a nationally recognized researcher. Dr. Chang’s work specifically involves development, optimization, and validation of clinically translatable techniques for assessment of musculoskeletal tissues, such as the Achilles or rotator cuff tendons. This is particularly relevant to a globally aging population and the Veteran population with tendinopathy resulting from injuries incurred during active duty. Since 2014, he has been active in the development of performance measures, quality measures, and clinical guidelines serving as a Panel Chair of the American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria (AC) in MSK Imaging. The ACR AC are evidence-based guidelines to assist referring physicians and other providers in making the most appropriate imaging or treatment decision for a specific clinical condition. Employing these guidelines helps providers enhance quality of care and contribute to the most efficacious use of radiology. Dr. Chang’s contributions to science and his commitment to the VA mission make an excellent choice to receive this award.
Jason Wertheim, M.D, Ph.D., of the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center (Chicago, IL), was named as a recipient of the 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Dr. Wertheim’s research focuses on developing new tissues using biomaterials called scaffolds, a substance critical in holding cells together and gives tissue their structure. Dr. Wertheim’s focus on finding strategies to use these structures to repair damaged tissues, and to create new tissue for transplantation could benefit patients awaiting organ transplant and patients suffering from chronic kidney disease. Dr. Wertheim Chairs the Cellular Transplantation Committee of the American Society of Transplant surgeons and is co-Chair of the Section on Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials for the Alliance for regenerative Medicine. Dr. Wertheim is an innovative researcher working to address the critical health issue of organ shortages that impact the Veteran population and the broader society.
The John Blair Barnwell Award (Barnwell Award) for outstanding achievement in clinical science is the Clinical Science Research and Development's
(CSR&D) highest honor for scientific achievement. The award aims to recognize senior VHA investigators who have achieved international acclaim for
clinical research accomplishments in areas of prime importance to VA's research mission and who have also demonstrated a high level of clinical commitment
to the patient population.
The Barnwell Award is given for outstanding scientific achievements in clinical research that advance the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders
in the Veteran population. Although the award may occasionally recognize a single exceptionally-influential contribution, it is generally expected that
recipients will have made notable sustained contributions that lead to better evaluation and/or treatment of conditions that are particularly important to
Veterans' health care. Clinical research to be recognized by the Barnwell Award needs to reflect efforts leading to clinical implementation of new
diagnostic or treatment strategies. Such research could include prospective interventional clinical trials (drug or device) that provide definitive
evidence on a treatment, development of radiological methods, electrophysiological diagnostics, development and clinical validation of laboratory tests,
application of innovative methodological design, or analytical strategies and similar activities.
Michael Shlipak, MD, MPH - San Francisco VA Health Care System, San Francisco, CA
Frank A. Lederle, M.D. - Minneapolis Veterans Health Care System, Minneapolis, MN
Terence M. Keane, Ph.D. - VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA
Phillip D. Harvey, Ph.D. - Miami VA Healthcare System, Miami, FL.
Michael N. Oxman, M.D. -VA San Diego VA Healthcare System, San Diego, CA.
Steven E. Kahn, M.B., Ch.B. - VA Puget Sound Health Care System (Seattle, WA)
Dennis E. Niewoehner, M.D. - Minneapolis VA Health Care System, Minneapolis, MN
Murray Raskind, M.D. - VA Puget Sound Healthcare System, Seattle, WA
Barry M Massie, M.D. - San Francisco VA Medical Center, San Francisco, CA
William C. Cushman, M.D. - Memphis VA Medical Center, Memphis, TN
William C. Duckworth, M.D. - Phoenix VA Health Care System, Phoenix, AZ
The 2018 John B. Barnwell Award was awarded to Michael Shlipak, MD, MPH., from the San Francisco VA Health Care System.
Michael Shlipak, MD, MPH, of the San Francisco VA Health Care System was the recipient of the 2018 Barnwell Award in recognition of his pivotal work in understanding that patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and kidney failure are at an increased risk of injury and death from heart failure and vascular disease. Dr. Shlipak’s work has led to CKD being recognized as an established risk factor for cardiovascular disease by the American Heart Association (AHA), the National Kidney Foundation, and other leading guidelines. Dr. Shlipak also has made major contributions to the understanding of how CKD impacts heart failure treatment; his systematic review in the Annals of Internal Medicine led directly to changes in the ACC/AHA Heart Failure guidelines. Dr. Shlipak established cystatin C as superior blood test for kidney function over the current standard, serum creatinine. His body of work allowed him to lead a metaanalysis of over 90,000 participants with creatinine and cystatin C measures; this study found that the cystatin C test detects declines in kidney function earlier than the creatinine test. It can also be a more accurate measure of kidney function in elderly patients or patients experiencing muscle loss.
The use of cystatin C is now recommended by international CKD guidelines to improve the diagnosis and classification of CKD and is being widely adopted in Europe for high-risk patients and patients where the traditional creatinine test may be inaccurate. His novel work will continue to impact the care of our Veterans and shape care guidelines around the world.
The 2017 John B. Barnwell Award was awarded to Frank A. Lederle, M.D., from the Minneapolis Veterans Health Care System.
Frank A. Lederle, M.D., of the Minneapolis Veterans Health Care System, was the recipient of the 2017 Barnwell Award in recognition of his landmark scientific and leadership roles on outcomes based clinical trials which have changed the clinical management of patients with aortic abdominal aneurysms (AAAs). Dr. Lederle is acknowledged for his significant contributions in developing prognostic and diagnostic strategies for aortic abdominal aneurysms (AAAs) through his leadership role on eleven clinical trials including Study Chair for Cooperative Studies Program (CSP) #379: The Aneurysm Detection and Management (ADAM) Trial and CSP # 498: Open Versus Endovascular Repair (OVER) Trial for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms. The work and results of the ADAM clinical trial set the worldwide gold standard threshold diameter of 5.5 cm for surgical repair. This trial, together with those of a similar British trial, resulted in major changes in the Society for Vascular Surgery and American Heart Association guidelines, reducing the number of patients for whom elective AAA repair is recommended by about 20%, potentially preventing unnecessary surgery for 8000 patients each year in the United States alone. Dr. Lederle’s work also defined the relationship between AAA, diabetes, and smoking; the management and follow-up interval for patients with small AAAs; and the effectiveness of open versus endovascular repair of AAAs. Dr. Lederle was the lead investigator a novel Point-of-Care Research (POC-R) approach to clinical trials in CSP #597: Diuretic Comparison Project. POC-R involves embedding a clinical trial into regular medical care and uniquely compares two or more approved treatments or diagnostic techniques that are considered to be equivalent. Dr. Lederle’s scientific leadership and his commitment to improving health care for Veterans are clearly reflected in his career in clinical research that has changed clinical practice and influenced researchers dedicated to helping Veterans and patients around the world.
The 2015 John B. Barnwell Award was awarded to Terence M. Keane, Ph.D., from the VA Boston Healthcare System.
Terence M. Keane, Ph.D., of the VA Boston Healthcare System, was the recipient of the 2016 Barnwell Award in recognition for his landmark contributions to the field of traumatic stress studies, and specifically, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Dr. Keane is credited as a pioneer in the identification of PTSD as a chronic disorder that can be triggered by combat and conducted research that provided the foundation for understanding PTSD as a serious mental health problem experienced in both military and civilian contexts. From the first grant ever awarded by the Veterans Affairs to study PTSD in1980 to his current grant studying the effects of a cognitive behavioral treatment for war traumatized refugees conducted in their native language, Dr. Keane’s research career has been marked by “firsts”. Beginning with the creation of the Mississippi Scale for Combat Related PTSD in the 1980’s, his research has resulted in the development of the gold standard instruments for diagnostic and symptom severity assessment of Veterans with PTSD, the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), and the PTSD Check List (PCL). He was the Principal Investigator of the first VA Cooperative Study on PTSD, a multisite evaluation of psychophysiological assessment. In 1990 was the first investigator to be awarded a Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health Cooperative Study in over 20 years. Dr. Keane was the first behavioral scientist to conceptualize, design, implement and publish studies examining the clinical efficacy of exposure-based treatments for PTSD in Veterans. One of his influential, highly cited studies involved the assessment of the role of physiological reactivity to conditioned combat fear stimuli examined through parasympathetic nervous system activity. Dr. Keane's leadership and scientific contributions have changed clinical care of traumatic stress in Veterans and the population at large.
The 2014 John B. Barnwell Award was awarded to two candidates: Phillip D. Harvey, Ph.D., from the Miami VA Healthcare System and Michael N. Oxman, M.D., from the VA San Diego Healthcare System
Phillip Harvey, Ph.D., from the Miami VA Healthcare System was awarded the 2014 Barnwell Award in recognition of his seminal contributions to our understanding of cognitive and functional deficits in patients with schizophrenia. Dr. Harvey's groundbreaking research demonstrated severe cognitive deficits in older schizophrenia patients was not attributable to concomitant Alzheimer's disease, vascular disease or other known late life neurodegenerative disease. He demonstrated the relationship of various cognitive abilities to functional impairment, thus showing the relevance of targeting these types of abilities for behavioral and drug treatment development. He pioneered new mechanisms of cognitive decline and provided the definitive guidance on valid assessments for clinicians and researchers to use. His subsequent research has translated this discovery into an effective and new treatment for schizophrenia and his leadership role on the largest VA cooperative study effort to demonstrate genetic risk factors for disability in schizophrenia. His research has been described as the most significant advance in schizophrenia research since the introduction of antipsychotic drugs.
Michael Oxman, M.D. from the VA San Diego Healthcare System was awarded the 2014 Barnwell Award in recognition of his seminal contributions to our understanding of the human zoster virus (HZV) and for his leadership role on the landmark VA CSP 403: The Shingle Prevention Study which was the first ever vaccine trial for preventing the reactivation of a Herpes infection involving 38,000 volunteer subjects. Dr. Oxman developed the assays, required for the vaccine trial, that differentiate infection with HZV from the immune response to the vaccine strain and the cross-reactive response to Herpes simplex virus. He developed the telephone interview methodology that was used in the study and he led the first study designed to prevent complications in individuals infected with a virus, as opposed to prevention of initial virus infection. The definitive results from CSP 403 ultimately led the Food and Drug Administration to license the vaccine and following that the Center for Disease Control's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended its routine administration in immunocompetent adults age 60 or older. This vaccine was shown to significantly and substantially decrease both the risk of developing shingles and its worst complication: post-herpetic neuralgia.
The 2013 Barnwell Award was awarded to Steven E. Kahn, M.B., Ch.B., from the VA Puget Sound Health Care System (Seattle,
Steven E. Kahn
, M.B., Ch.B.,
from the VA Puget Sound Health Care System was awarded the 2013 Barnwell Award for his contributions to our current understanding of clinical disorders of
glucose metabolism and his leadership role on a number of highly regarded large-scale clinical trials in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes,
including the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), A Diabetes Outcome Progression Trial (ADOPT), Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes (GRADE), and the
Restoring Insulin Secretion (RISE) study. Dr. Kahn has worked at the VA for 27 years including 8 years as ACOS for Research. His approach to clinical
trials in diabetes was touted as "the major reason for the phenomenal success of the NIDDK's Diabetes Prevention Program".
The 2012 John B. Barnwell Award was awarded to Dennis E.Niewoehner, M.D., from the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.
Dennis E. Niewoehner
from the Minneapolis VA Health Care System was awarded the 2012 Barnwell Award for his contributions in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which
affects up to 24 million Americans and is a major health issue among VA patients. Niewoehner has published several seminal papers, going back to the 1980s,
on the links between smoking and COPD and on drugs to treat the condition. He has led or co-led several large VA and National Institutes of Health clinical
trials on the topic, the results of which have been incorporated into COPD treatment guidelines used in VA and around the world.
The 2011 Barnwell Award was awarded to two candidates: Barry M. Massie, M.D., from the San Francisco VA Medical Center
and Murray A. Raskind, M.D., from VA Puget Sound Healthcare System (Seattle, WA).
Barry M. Massie,
from the San Francisco VA Medical Center was awarded the 2011 Barnwell Award in recognition of his contributions to the treatment of chronic heart failure.
Massie's research covers the basic mechanisms of exercise intolerance, practice patterns and patient outcomes, and assessments of new drug and devices. He
has helped lead several major VA clinical trials on topics related to heart health, the results of which have helped shape medical care in the U.S. and
beyond. Massie is chief of cardiology and director of the Heart Failure Program at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and helped found the Heart Failure
Society of America. A widely published researcher, he is also a professor at the University of California, San Francisco.
Murray A. Raskind
from VA Puget Sound Healthcare System was awarded the 2011 Barnwell Award in recognition of his work on the biochemical pathways involved in posttraumatic
stress disorder, Alzheimer's disease, and alcoholism. In particular, he was cited for spearheading the use of an inexpensive generic drug called prazosin
to treat PTSD nightmares. A psychiatrist, Raskind has focused his research on treatment-resistant behavioral disorders that cause distress for large
numbers of VA patients. Most notably, his work on prazosin and PTSD has translated to a widely adopted treatment for Veterans and Service members with this
condition. Raskind directs VA's Northwest Network Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center, based at the VA Puget Sound Healthcare System.
The 2009 Barnwell Award was awarded to two candidates: William C. Cushman, M.D., from the Memphis VAMC, and William C. Duckworth, M.D., from the Phoenix VA Health Care System.
William C. Cushman
of the Memphis VAMC was awarded the 2009 Barnwell Award for his contributions and leadership in the field of hypertension research and his clinical trials
evaluating approaches to treatment of hypertension. Dr. Cushman has devoted many years of successful studies promoting evidenced-based clinical guidelines
of a thiazide diuretic in the management and treatment of hypertension. Dr. Cushman's research interests are primarily in drug treatment and lifestyle
changes in the prevention and management of hypertension and lipid abnormalities, prevention of cardiovascular outcomes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD)
epidemiology. His research has proven that, chlorthalidone, a diuretic, remains the best and inexpensive part of the antihypertensive regimen. Dr.
Cushman's work is of high scientific impact in areas that are relevant to Veterans and patients worldwide.
William C. Duckworth
of the Phoenix VA Health Care System was awarded the 2009 Barnwell Award, for his notable contributions to translational and clinical research related to
diabetes. The results of the VA Diabetes Trial (VADT), that Dr. Duckworth co-chaired, impacted approaches to the care of diabetes and its major
complications, including cardiovascular disease, not only in Veterans, but throughout the world. The trial showed that a more intensive therapy of glycemia
in diabetics with macrovascular complications had no added benefit over standard or less intensive therapy. Dr. Duckworth also co-chairs a VA trial on
diabetic nephropathy and an observational study on the diabetes outcomes in the VA. Diabetes is a highly prevalent condition in Veterans and the works of
Dr. Duckworth continue to have a broad impact on the clinical care of Veterans and the population at large.