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The National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans
"…to promote recovery-oriented care for Veterans who are homeless or at-risk for homelessness."
The National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans is staffed by VA leadership located in both Philadelphia and Tampa, as well as researchers affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, University of South Florida, Yale University, and University of Massachusetts.
Vince Kane, MSW
In addition to directing the National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans, Mr. Kane is the Director of the Housing and Urban Development - VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program and the Low Income at Risk Initiative, which includes Prevention, the Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration (VHPD) Program and the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) Program. Mr. Kane is the former Administrative Officer for the Office of Mental Health Services (OMHS), where he assisted in the implementation of Veterans Health Administration Directive 1160.01 of The Mental Health Uniform Services Handbook. He has also served as the administrator for the Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers (MIRECC), Centers of Excellence, and Evaluation Centers for the Office of Mental Health Services and as Coordinator of the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) Mental Health and Homeless Programs. Mr. Kane has more than 20 years of experience as a clinician, educator, and administrator. He has been a site Principal Investigator on several national research projects, including the VA’s Homeless After-Care Study and the Federal Partners Initiative for Chronic Homeless Veterans. He is a graduate of Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research.
Roger Casey, PhD, LCSW
Dr. Casey is the Director of the VA’s National Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program. Dr. Casey holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work, a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration, and a doctorate in Public Health. Prior to establishing the Center, he worked with the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop and provide guidance and administrative oversight for the VA component of the Collaborative Initiative to end Chronic Homelessness (CICH), served as Principal Investigator for the VA Homeless After-Care Study, initiated actions to create the Council of Network Homeless Coordinators, and developed administrative procedures to enhance contract residential treatment under the Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program. Dr. Casey’s research interests include homelessness, residential treatment models, and development and implementation of community-based practices that address the needs of individuals diagnosed with mental illness.
John Kuhn, MSW, MPH
Mr. Kuhn is the VA National CHALENG Coordinator and the newly appointed National Director of VA Homeless Prevention Services. As the co-author of the CHALENG report, Mr. Kuhn is responsible for developing and assessing the VA national assessment on the needs of homeless Veterans. As a Center Investigator, Mr. Kuhn will be involved in efforts to develop strategies to meet these needs. Mr. Kuhn has a BA in Psychology from Brown University, a MSW from Columbia University, and an MPH from Rutgers University. He has been working with the homeless for over 20 years and has developed a broad range of services addressing housing, vocational, legal, health, and mental health needs, including the use of “positive” addictions in the treatment of substance use disorders. Mr. Kuhn has made extensive use of community partnerships to create Veteran run businesses, peer services, and housing programs.
Dennis Culhane, PhD
Dr. Culhane’s primary areas of research are homelessness, assisted housing policy, and policy analysis research methods. His current work includes studies of the dynamics of homelessness among families and adults and the impact of homelessness on the utilization of health, education, and social services. In addition to serving as the Director of Research for the Center, Dr. Culhane is also working with several states and cities to develop preventative approaches to homelessness, including “rapid exit” and community-based housing stabilization programs.
Robert Rosenheck, MD
Dr. Robert Rosenheck is Professor of Psychiatry, Public Health and at the Child Study Center at Yale Medical School where he is also Director of the Division of Mental Health Services and Outcomes Research in the Department of Psychiatry. He is an internationally known mental health service researcher who has studied homelessness among Veterans for 20 years and is a leader in cost-effectiveness studies of behavioral health interventions. As founding Director of the VA Northeast Program Evaluation Center (NEPEC), he spent 22 years developing evaluating, and monitoring all VA programs providing outreach, rehabilitation and supported housing to homeless Veterans with mental illness. He was the prime architect of national VA collaborative programs with both the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Social Security Administration. He directed the client-level evaluation of the ACCESS program for homeless mentally ill Americans for the Department of Health and Human Services, and more recently, the joint HUD-HHS-VA Collaborative Initiative on Chronic Homelessness. He has published more than 500 scientific papers on programs for homeless Americans and other topics in mental health services research. As Associate Director of the Center he is involved in research, education and program development.
John A. Schinka, PhD
Prior to joining the Center as Director of Research and Implementation in Tampa, Dr. Schinka served as the Director of the VA Neuropsychology and Memory Disorder Clinics at the VAMC in Tampa. Dr. Schinka is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of South Florida and provides consulting services in research methodology and data analysis to federal and state research programs, as well as healthcare and non-profit organizations across the country. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association and a Diplomat of the American Board of Assessment Psychology, he is a five-time recipient of Research Excellence Awards from the American Psychological Association. He has also received the national VA Outstanding Professional Services Award. Dr. Schinka has over 100 publications and his most recent research support has been from NIH-National Institute on Aging. His research has focused primarily in the areas of cognition, aging, and scale development. His current research focuses on measurement of homeless risk and on the aging homeless Veteran.
David Smelson, PsyD
Dr. Smelson is is the Director of Translational Mental Health Research at the Bedford VA and Director of Co-Occurring Disorders at the VA New England Healthcare System. He is also a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Vice-Chair for Clinical Research. Dr. Smelson has extensive clinical and research experience in working with the homeless and individuals with co-occurring disorders. This includes development of a co-occurring mental health and substance use treatment approach designed exclusively for Homeless Veterans. He has received funding from the VA HSR&D program through Merit Review, SDP and RRP mechanisms, the National Institute of Health-National Institute of Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Health-National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the substance use and Mental Health Service Administration-Center for substance use Treatment and the substance use and Mental Health Service Administration-Center for Mental Health Services. Dr. Smelson also serves on the Mental Health and substance use Disorder QUERI Programs.
Stephen Metraux, PhD
Dr. Metraux is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Public Health at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. He received his PhD in Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and is affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research. His research interests focus on urban health, in the context of issues such as homelessness and housing, community mental health, and incarceration and prisoner reentry. His current research addresses service use patterns among persons at risk for homelessness, use of administrative data for evaluation of homeless and related services, and assessment of residential segregation among persons with mental illness.
Colleen Clark, PhD
Dr. Clark is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy at the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI), University of South Florida (USF), and a Licensed Clinical Psychologist. Dr. Clark’s research, clinical, and administrative professional life has focused on improving the lives of people with serious mental illnesses by working with community partners. Dr. Clark has been the Principal Investigator on numerous national initiatives on homelessness, homeless families, Veterans, and the development and evaluation of services for women with histories of abuse and co-occurring disorders. Dr. Clark is a founding board member and coordinator of the National Trauma Consortium and leader of the USF/Community Trauma Research Group. She is Co-Editor of the book Responding to Physical and Sexual Abuse in Women with Alcohol and other Drug and Mental Disorders.
Mitra Eframian, MHA
Ms. Eframian works directly with the Tampa Site Director to manage all aspects of the Tampa Center, including coordination of research activities with the University of South Florida and implementation of national training activities. Ms. Eframian received a BA in Psychology from Indiana University and a Master of Health Administration from the University of Florida. She came to the Center from the VISN 8 office, where she served as the Health Science Specialist for the Mental Health Product Line and helped coordinate the delivery of mental health programs across the largest network of VA healthcare facilities. Ms. Eframian has served as the Administrative Officer (AO) of Mental Health & Behavioral Sciences Service at the Phoenix VAMC and as the AO for Medicine Service at the VAMC in Bay Pines, Florida among other roles, such as Program Analyst and Inpatient Flow Coordinator. She started her VA career in the national Graduate Healthcare Administration Training Program (GHATP) as an Administrative Fellow and Health System Management trainee for the Directors of the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System and Bay Pines VA Healthcare System respectively.
Stephanie George, MSW, LCSW
Ms. Stephanie George is the Clinical Project Coordinator for the Tampa site of the Center, focusing on coordinating the clinical aspects of the program including the Center’s Tampa site research studies, model development programs and integrating those efforts into national trainings under the Education / Dissemination Core. Ms. George received a BSW from The Florida State University and an MSW from University of South Florida. Ms. George came to the Center from James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital Social Work Service where she last served as the Veterans Homeless Prevention Demonstration Project (VHPD) Coordinator. Prior to joining the VA, Ms. George had experience as a Trauma/ER Social Worker, Hospice Counselor, HIV/AIDS Health Educator and Child Welfare Protective Supervision Counselor. Ms. George is actively involved in with the National Association of Social Work (NASW) currently serving on the Florida Board of Directors.
Paul Smits, MSW
Mr. Smits is a Policy Analyst for the VA National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans. In this role, he guides model development activities for Low Demand/Safe Haven Programs. During his 37 years of government service, he has served in leadership roles directing the Veterans Health Administration’s Homeless programs. From December of 2005, as Associate Chief Consultant for Homeless and Residential Treatment Programs in VA Central Office, he directed the day-to-day operations of the Veterans Health Administration’s Homeless and Residential Rehabilitation and Treatment Programs. In 2003, while the Director of the VISN 5 Homeless Programs, he received the prestigious Olin E. Teague award.
Ann Elizabeth Montgomery, PhD
Ann Elizabeth Montgomery has conducted research and evaluation activities in a number of settings, with a focus on underserved populations including persons with HIV/AIDS, persons experiencing homelessness, and adults with co-occurring serious mental illness and substance-related disorders. Most recently, Dr. Montgomery’s work has focused on research, evaluation, and planning efforts related to homelessness prevention and supportive housing for special needs populations. She holds Master’s Degrees in Social Work and in Public Administration from Columbia University, as well as a doctorate in Health Education and Health Promotion from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health.
Matthew Chinman, PhD
Dr. Chinman is a Health Science Specialist for the VISN 4 Mental Illness, Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC) at the Pittsburgh VAMC, and a Senior Behavioral Scientist at the RAND Corporation. His overall focus is developing and testing various interventions to improve the recovery of individuals with serious mental illnesses. In his current role at the VA, Dr. Chinman is a Principal Investigator of a HSR&D grant to evaluate the impact of employing Peer Support Technicians (mental health consumers trained to be service providers) on clinical teams within the VA. He is also leading a project assessing the application of the Getting To Outcomes quality improvement model to the Pittsburgh Comprehensive Homelessness Center, funded by the National Center for Homelessness Among Veterans. He is also co-leading a project evaluating application of the Getting To Outcomes model to MISSION-Vet, funded by the Mental Health QUERI. He helped draft the recommendations of the Recovery Transformation Work Group to the Veteran Health Administrations’ Mental Health Steering Committee that is facilitating the VA’s move to a more recovery-oriented system of care and currently sits on the VA’s National Recovery Advisory Committee. Dr. Chinman has published on such topics as mental health provider competencies, professional perceptions of mutual support, mutual support typologies, and various case studies of mutual support programs. His two most recent publications address the early experiences of Peer Support Technicians hired in the VA and a guide to hiring Peer Support Technicians. He received his Ph.D. in Clinical & Community Psychology from the University of South Carolina.
Tom Byrne, MSW
Mr. Byrne is a Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the Center. He received a B.A. in Economics from Boston College and an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently working on his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. His research interests are mainly in the areas of homelessness, housing policy, administrative data analysis, and child welfare. Mr. Byrne also has experience working with refugee groups, doing street outreach work with homeless persons, and working with a housing program for homeless families.
Ms. Munley is a Pre-Doctoral Fellow at the Center and a doctoral student of political science at the City University of New York's Graduate Center. Ellen received a B.A. in History from Bowdoin College and has done social service work with homeless, mentally ill adults and homeless seniors. Her research interests are in housing and homeless policies; her past research has included New York City shelter policy, urban rent laws, and housing subsidies in the European Union. Ms. Munley’s current research focuses on housing subsidies and homelessness prevention.
Mr. Jones has more than 25 years of experience working in leadership and administrative roles for non-governmental organizations. Additionally, he has worked as a policy analyst for public officials, issue campaigns, and community organizations. Mr. Jones did his undergraduate work at Boston University, where he majored in Political Science. He has completed graduate-level coursework at the University of Massachusetts Boston in economics. Mr. Jones has a keen interest in using empirically supported data to inform advocacy campaigns and the crafting and implementation of public policy solutions.
Roger A. Boothroyd, PhD is the Chair of the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy at the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida. He is also a Professor in the Department and holds a faculty appointment in the College of Public Health. He teaches courses in research methodology, program evaluation, and statistics, as well as conducts trainings on Ethics in Research. Dr. Boothroyd has been conducting mental health services research for the past 20 years. He was formerly a Research Scientist with the New York State Office of Mental Health where he directed various federally-funded research and demonstration projects. He formerly served eight years as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Commission of Graduate Foreign Nursing Schools during which time he chaired their Professional Health Care Standards Committee and is currently a member of their Strategic Planning Committee. He is currently the Principal investigator (PI) of projects funded by the National Institute for Health (NIH) and the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. He is an active member of the American Public Health Association, and has held various elected positions in the Mental Health Section, as well as the American Evaluation Association. He is a Consulting Editor for the Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders and serves as an ad hoc grant reviewer for NIMH, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada) and the NIH Research (England). Dr. Boothroyd received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, specializing in measurement, evaluation, and research design from the University of Albany, State University of New York; his Master of Science from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and his Bachelor of Science from Nasson College. Dr. Boothroyd’s Research Interests are in Managed behavioral healthcare, Welfare reform, Measurement issues in behavioral healthcare research, and Research ethics. He has been involved with several research projects including many with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) and has published frequently in major journals.
Mark Engelhardt, MS, MSW, ACSW
Mr. Engelhardt is a Faculty Research Associate in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy at Florida Mental Health Institute at the University of South Florida, where he provides training, consultation and evaluation to various state agencies, county governments, advocacy groups, and mental health and substance use providers throughout the State of Florida and nationally. Mr. Engelhardt is the Associate Director of Florida's Criminal Justice, Mental Health, and substance use (CJMHSA) Technical Assistance Center. He serves as Florida's "Olmstead Grant Coordinator" to build Statewide Coalitions for Community-based Care for Supportive Housing for Persons with Mental Illnesses in partnership with the Florida Department of Children and Families Mental Health Program Office, where he provides statewide training on the federal Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program. He has served as Principal Investigator for several federal SAMHSA grants, including two Center for substance use Treatment (CSAT) Homeless Treatment projects; a Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) Comprehensive Service Systems Change grant for persons with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders and a CMHS Jail Diversion-Homeless Treatment Evaluation. Mr. Engelhardt holds a MS from the University of Dayton and a MSW from the National Catholic School of Social Sciences at the Catholic University of America.
Jamison Fargo, PhD
In addition to serving as a methodologist and statistician for the Center, Dr. Fargo is a Senior Research Investigator with the Division of Family and Community Health and an Associate Fellow with the Center for Public Health Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania. He was previously an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Utah State University, where he chaired an interdisciplinary doctoral program in Research & Evaluation Methodology and directed the college-wide statistical consulting center. Dr. Fargo has published research on substance use, violence, and injury prevention, as well as on the neurocognitive sequelae of seizure disorders, psychiatric disorders, and brain injury. He holds a PhD in Quantitative/Experimental Psychology, an MA in Clinical Neuropsychology, and MS in Quantitative Epidemiology from the University of Cincinnati.
Leon Sawh, MPH
Mr. Sawh manages the day-to-day activities of several of the Center’s research studies based at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts, where he also directs projects in Translational Research in Mental Health. He received his Master of Public Health in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and a BS in Psychology from The Florida State University. Besides his ongoing direction of several multi-site research projects, he recently co-edited the MISSION-VET Treatment Manual and Consumer Workbook and trains providers on how to implement the model within their existing homeless programs. He regularly works with investigators and treatment providers at both local and national levels, examining the effectiveness of recovery-oriented treatment models for homeless and formerly homeless Veterans who also suffer from co-occurring disorders, focusing on how to use these evidence-based approaches to impact service delivery and health care policy.
Lisa Najavits, PhD
Dr. Najavits is a Professor of Psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine; Lecturer for Harvard Medical School; clinical psychologist at VA Boston; and clinical associate at McLean Hospital. Her major clinical and research interests address vulnerable populations, including homeless, women, Veterans, and community-based care; she specializes on trauma/substance use, development of new psychotherapies, and evaluation/outcome research. Dr. Najavits is author of the books Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and substance use (2002), A Woman's Addiction Workbook (New Harbinger Press; 2002), and the upcoming manual Creating Change, as well as over 135 professional publications.
Robert M. Bossarte, PhD
Dr. Bossarte’s work is focused on the assessment of housing instability and mortality among Veterans, with an emphasis on understanding risk for suicide and the evaluation of housing support programs as a component of a multi-faceted suicide prevention strategy. In addition, Dr. Bossarte is Chief of Epidemiology and Population Intervention Research for the Center of Excellence at Canandaigua (suicide prevention) and is an active member of the VA’s suicide prevention steering committee. Dr. Bossarte has experience in the design and implementation of population-level research and has published extensively in the areas of suicide prevention, etiology of violence, substance use, and research methodology. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame and completed post-doctoral training in applied epidemiology as an officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Jan Kemp, PhD
Dr. Kemp has 23 years experience working with Veterans. She currently is the Associate Director for Education and Training at the VISN 2 Center of Excellence (COE) in Canandaigua NY, having transferred from a similar position at the VISN 19 Mental Illness, Research and Education Clinical Center. She also serves as the VA National Suicide Prevention Coordinator. In her COE role she is responsible for providing provider and patient education in the areas of suicide awareness and prevention, current assessment and treatment strategies and new findings in the area of suicide, and assisting the Center Director in the implementation of Suicide Prevention Programs throughout the VA system. As the National Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Dr. Kemp directs and advises the suicide prevention coordinators at local VAMCs and is the national program manager for the VA Suicide Hotline. Dr. Kemp has done qualitative research in the area of war experiences and effects. Her current projects include suicide attempt and completion database development, as well as studies involving Veteran suicide attempt experiences and the experiences of Veterans with traumatic brain injuries who have attempted suicide. Recent publications and presentations include work on women Veteran experiences and suicide prevention / risk assessment.
Marsha Langer Ellison, PhD
Dr. Ellison is a Health Research Scientist at the Center for Health Quality, Outcomes, and Economic Research at the ENRM VAMC, Bedford MA. She is currently Principal Investigator on two studies on supported education services for returning Veterans with PTSD and co-Investigator for several other related VA studies. As a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Center for Health Policy and Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Dr. Ellison is the Associate Director of the Transitions Research and Training Center on Rehabilitation for Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions. She participated in early research examining the mental health consumer self-help movement, the involvement of peers in the delivery of rehabilitation services, and in the constructs of empowerment and recovery. Dr. Ellison received her doctorate in Sociology and Social Work from Boston University. She brings over 20 years of experience in conducting cutting edge research in psycho-social rehabilitation that aims to promote the community tenure and employment of Veterans and other individuals with serious mental illness.
Emily Clark Muñoz
Ms. Muñoz serves as the Special Assistant for Translational Research in Mental Health at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Administration Medical Center in Bedford, MA. She has extensive experience working with national security and military policy issues, including strategic, capabilities, and force structure planning; Veteran and survivor benefits; family readiness; and casualty support. She has held research and analysis positions at numerous think tanks and defense contracting firms, where she worked primarily on force planning and counterterrorism issues. She received a B.A. cum laude in International Relations at Rhodes College (Memphis, TN) and studied National Security Policy at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University (Washington, DC). Prior to joining the VA, she served as an outreach liaison for U.S. Army Special Forces Command, Ft. Bragg, NC; on the Board of Directors for the United Warrior Survivor Foundation, a non-profit organization for families of fallen special operations soldiers; and as a mental health group leader for the National Good Grief Camp at the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (T.A.P.S.) National Survivor Seminar in Washington, D.C.
Riccardo T. Aiello, MA, MPA
Mr. Riccardo “Rico” Aiello is currently the Project Coordinator for the Philadelphia site of the Center, which includes the Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration Program (VHPD) and Homeless Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACT). Prior to joining the Center, Rico served as the Administrative Officer for Behavioral Health (BH) and the Administrative Officer of Imaging Services at the Philadelphia VAMC where he shared responsibility of a wide range of administrative functions related to healthcare delivery. Rico served in the U.S. Armed Forces as a combat medic before starting his VA career. He received a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh and received the Housing and Urban Development Community Fellowship. He also received a Master's Degree in Counseling, from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. He previously served as an administrator of the National Health Corps-AmeriCorps in Pittsburgh, PA.
Jeffrey Houser, MBA
Jeffrey Houser is the Compliance Officer for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program at the VA National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans. Jeff provides leadership, fiscal and programmatic oversight for the SSVF program to ensure program integrity and accountability. He began his VA career in 1998 as a Budget Analyst and has served in a variety of administrative roles with increasing responsibility over his career. He has served as Vice President for Behavioral Health Services and Vice President for Resource Management and as Director for the Clinic Based Outpatient Clinics at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. He is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a B.S. in Public Administration and Eastern College with an MBA in Management.
Roula “Rita” Antoun