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Meet Our Staff

Center Investigators

Kathy Bowles, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI – Vice President & Director of Research, VNSNY and vanAmeringen Chair in Nursing Excellence & Professor of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Dr. Kathy Bowles, vanAmeringen Chair in Nursing Excellence & Professor of Nursing at University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, joined the VNSNY Center for Home Care Policy & Research as Director and Vice President in the summer of 2014. Dr. Bowles leads the Center to advance knowledge that will promote the delivery of high-quality, cost-effective care in the home and community, and support informed decision making by policy makers, managers, practitioners, and consumers of home- and community-based services.

Dr. Bowles has a 20-year career with a record of continuous funding from the NIH and other sources for her program of research using information technology to improve care for older adults, and has been nationally and internationally recognized for her research achievements in decision science and telehealth. She has served on the National Quality Forum Care Coordination Steering Committee and consulted for The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on its initiative to identify the key data elements essential to safe patient transitions. She has served on CMS’ Technical Expert Panel on the development of the CARE tool and was a member of the Heath Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP) Care Coordination Committee to identify standards for the electronic health record. She co-founded a software company, RightCare Solutions in 2011 that was recently acquired by NaviHealth and provides an end-to-end solution for discharge planning and post-acute care management. Most recently she was appointed to the National Advisory Council of the National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institute of Health.

Dr. Bowles holds a BSN from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, an MSN from Villanova University, and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bowles is a Senior Fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute, and Director of the Health Informatics Minor at Penn Nursing. She is an elected fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) and the American College of Medical Informatics and a member of the American Nurses Association (ANA), the Gerontological Society of America, the American Medical Informatics Association, and Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society.

Kathryn Bowles CV

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Tim Peng, PhD – Vice President of Data Science & Strategy Analytics


Timothy Peng, PhD,Vice President of Data Science and Strategic Analytics for VNSNY at large, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research in July of 1998 as a Research Scientist. At the Center, he was responsible for conducting research on the quality and outcomes of home healthcare, and the effects of public policy on long term care. His research also examined potential disparities in access to care and health outcomes of chronically disabled elders from different ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic groups. In his current role as Vice President of Data Science and Analytics, Tim manages the VNSNY Outcomes team, who supply VNSNY leadership and clinical teams with healthcare provision analytics, while contributing data analytic and infrastructure support and expertise, as well as Outcomes staff, to Research Center projects.

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Margaret McDonald, MSW – Associate Director

Margaret McDonald

Margaret McDonald, MSW, Associate Director, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research in 1998. At the Center, she is responsible for developing, conducting, and disseminating results of NIH-funded and other research studies evaluating the quality, comparative effectiveness, and outcomes of home healthcare interventions, as well as  managing project & Center staff. In January 2018, Margaret assumed the position of Associate Director of the Center and oversees the management of the Center’s internal finances and grant-funding, legal affairs, and took on the roles of Data Security and Compliance Officer for Research and Administrator of the VNSNY Institutional Review Board.

Margaret has extensive experience in helping multi-institution collaborative investigative teams develop, apply for, implement, and disseminate the results of research studies ranging from small pilot studies to large, federally funded randomized controlled trials. Ms. McDonald has been the Project Director on a number of large Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and foundation-sponsored projects.

Margaret is a graduate of New York University’s Stern School of Business and received a Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in research from Fordham University. Before joining VNSNY, Ms. McDonald worked with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Psychiatry and Pain Service and the Oncology Symptom Control Research Group at Community Cancer Care of Indiana. The research that she was involved in focused on symptom management in cancer and AIDS patients.

Margaret McDonald CV

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Penny Hollander Feldman, PhD – Senior Research Scientist and Director Emerita

PENNY HOLLANDER FELDMAN, PhD, is Senior Research Scientist and Director Emerita at the VNSNY Center for Home Care Policy & Research. Dr. Feldman served as Center Director from 1993–2014 and as VNSNY Senior Vice President, Research and Evaluation, from 2009-2014. In her current position, she leads research focused on improving the quality, outcomes, and cost-effectiveness of home-based care for an aging and racially diverse population characterized by functional impairment, multiple co-morbidities, and complex care needs. She is the principal investigator of several grants testing home-based interventions for individuals facing the challenges of uncontrolled hypertension, post-stroke limitations, and chronic illness, compounded by socio-economic, racial, and linguistic barriers to effective self-care management. She is also co-investigator on several comparative effectiveness studies designed to assess the impact of early home nursing visits and early physician follow-up on selected patient populations.

While Director of the Center, Dr. Feldman established a robust research enterprise with rigorously trained methodological staff and state-of-the-art informatics capacity to address two goals: 1) support quality of care, quality improvement and program planning at VNSNY, and 2) maintain a portfolio of externally funded research to advance the home care knowledge base worldwide. Among other projects, Dr. Feldman served as principal investigator on a series of comparative effectiveness grants funded by AHRQ and NHLBI—most of them focused on helping clinicians and patients improve outcomes through more effective self-management support for high-risk, complex patients, many with heart disease, hypertension, and/or other cardiovascular risk factors.

Dr. Feldman has served on a variety of advisory committees and technical expert panels sponsored by nonprofit and governmental organizations in both the U.S. and abroad. Currently, these include the national advisory committee of the U.S. State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities and Family Caregivers; and the Steering Committee of the Swiss National Science Foundation National Research Programme for Smarter Health Care. Since 2005, Dr. Feldman is Associate Professor (Courtesy) of Public Health at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Previously she served on the faculties of the Harvard University Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and of the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Penny Feldman CV

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Gavin Hougham, PhD – Senior Research Scientist

Gavin Hougham, researcherGavin W. Hougham, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research in March 2020. Dr. Hougham is a sociologist with expertise in clinical research methodology and aging. Building on work that uses novel statistical approaches to understanding clinical events over time, Dr. Hougham is currently revising an NIH R21 proposal to use Medicare claims data to model trajectories of clinical events leading to important outcomes such as rehospitalization or admission to long term care.

With over 150 professional papers and presentations to date, Dr. Hougham’s latest publications review the promise of advanced technologies and the risks of social isolation in the service of better population health: “Artificial Intelligence and its Potential to Improve Health of Older Adults,” “Current Major Challenges in Aging and Targets for Technology,” “Sequence Patterns in the Resolution of Clinical Instabilities in Community-Acquired Pneumonia,” and “Risk of Social Isolation among Older Patients.”

He has led programs in the training and development of undergraduates, medical students, faculty and post-doctoral trainees, and has conducted health services, clinical, policy, and evaluation research in areas including aging, health outcomes, bioinformatics, health information technology, cross-cultural Japanese gerontology, social support, health workforce, research ethics, informed consent, and others. Prior to joining the Center, Dr. Hougham was Director of the Battelle Seattle Research Center, a federal contractor, where he was responsible for strategic and operational leadership of a team of health care researchers, program evaluators, clinicians, social workers, nurses, and other scientists. Previously Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Chicago, Dr. Hougham was also Deputy Director of the University’s Center for Health and the Social Sciences. Prior to that experience, Dr. Hougham was a foundation executive with the John A. Hartford Foundation in New York City, where he directed a portfolio of grantmaking in aging and health care workforce development. He completed undergraduate studies at SUNY Brockport, received MA and PhD degrees (Sociology) from The University of Chicago, and completed an NSF fellowship at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology.

Gavin Hougham CV

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Christopher Murtaugh, PhD – Senior Research Scientist

Christopher Murtaugh - VNSNY ResearchChristopher Murtaugh, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research in October of 1996. At the Center, Dr. Murtaugh is responsible for directing studies of access to and the cost, quality, and outcomes of home-and-community-based care (HCBC). Currently, he is conducting real-world comparative effectiveness research on HCBC practices and how they impact elders’ use of healthcare services and care outcomes. He also conducts research aimed at developing standardized measures and better methods for assessing the quality of post-acute care and programs providing long-term services and supports. Prior research has focused on the transition of elders from one care setting to another, and on the use of technology to improve home-care provider performance and patient safety. Dr. Murtaugh’s research has involved the analysis of Medicare claims and administrative data as well as several large national surveys including the National Long Term Care Survey, the National Nursing Home Survey, the National Mortality Followback Survey, and the National Medical Expenditure Survey. He has received funding for his research from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute for Nursing Research, the US Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, and the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation.

Dr. Murtaugh also is an Associate Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research at Weill Medical College at Cornell University, and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Prior to joining the Center, Dr. Murtaugh was the Director of Long Term and Subacute Care Research at the Medical Technology and Practice Patterns Institute (MTPPI) in Washington, DC. At MTPPI, he was the principal investigator for a study comparing the use of Medicaid-covered services by disabled and non-disabled adults. Before that, Dr. Murtaugh worked for over seven years for the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (now, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), US Department of Health and Human Services. He was the principal or co-principal investigator for numerous studies of elderly persons with disabilities and the use, cost, and financing of long-term care.

Dr. Murtaugh received his doctorate from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale University. He also has a Master of Public Administration from New York University with a specialty in health policy, planning, and administration.

Christopher Murtaugh CV

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David Russell, PhD – Research Scientist, VNSNY, and Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Appalachian State University

David RussellDavid Russell, PhD, is a Research Scientist in the Center for Home Care Policy & Research at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. Dr. Russell transitioned to a part-time role at the Center in June 2017 upon accepting a position as Assistant Professor of Sociology at Appalachian State University.

Dr. Russell is a medical sociologist with interests in social disparities in long-term and end-of-life healthcare outcomes, workforce initiatives, and healthcare technology. He has substantial experience evaluating new programs and initiatives at the agency, as well as in using secondary electronic clinical data sources (e.g. medical records, clinical assessments, service utilization information) to identify patterns in healthcare outcomes among VNSNY patients and VNSNY CHOICE Health Plan members. His recent work includes an examination of continuity in visiting nurse personnel and its implications for the patient experience, an evaluation of a workforce initiative to prepare home health aides as health coaches, and an investigation into the frequency and correlates of distinct live discharge outcomes among hospice patients.

Dr. Russell has published widely in the fields of health services, gerontology, and medical sociology. He was twice awarded the Impact Article of the Year in 2011 and 2012 by the National Association for Healthcare Quality. Prior to joining the Center, Dr. Russell was an NIMH Postdoctoral Trainee at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research (Rutgers University). His work at the Institute focused on the ways in which community and household integration shape risk for physical and mental health problems among older adults. Dr. Russell received his PhD in Sociology from Florida State University in 2007.

David Russell CV

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Mia Oberlink, MA –Senior Research Associate

mia-oberlinkMia Oberlink, MA, Senior Research Associate, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research (CHCPR) in June 1999. Ms. Oberlink is currently managing the AdvantAge Initiative, a data-driven community development project that helps communities measure their elder-friendliness and develop strategies to sustain older residents’ independence and allow them to age in place. To date, over 60 communities around the US have participated in the AdvantAge Initiative.

Past projects include the Rockaways Wellness Partnership, a New York State Department of Health–funded health coaching initiative; Community Innovations for Aging in Place (; a national US Administration on Aging–funded project for which CHCPR served as the technical assistance provider; Health Indicators in NORC Programs, a collaborative project with the United Hospital Fund; and the Robert Wood Johnson–funded project, Home Care Research Initiative (HCRI), among others. She has also researched and written reports on livable communities for the National Council on Disability, Grantmakers in Aging, and AARP.

Prior to joining the Center, Ms. Oberlink spent 13 years writing about biomedical and social issues in aging, first at the Department of Geriatrics and Adult Development at the Mount Sinai Medical Center and at the International Longevity Center, where she was Director of Communications.

Mia Oberlink CV

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Miriam Ryvicker , PhD – Senior Research Scientist

miriamryvickerMiriam Ryvicker, PhD, is a Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Home Care Policy & Research (CHCPR), Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY). Her primary research focus is on racial/ethnic and socio-economic disparities in access to and quality of healthcare for older adults with chronic illness. She is the recipient of a Career Development Award from the National Institute on Aging / National Institutes of Health for her current research, Built Environment and Healthcare Use: Disparities among Chronically Ill Elders. This research examines the role of neighborhood characteristics in access to healthcare for older adults living in New York City. Dr. Ryvicker has conducted research on improving the ability of home care patients to manage their health and healthcare, including analysis of patient outcomes and service use data from randomized trials of organizational interventions. She has played a lead role in conducting both quantitative analysis and qualitative evaluation for several studies on the quality of care in home- and community-based services for patients with chronic illness and functional disability.

Dr. Ryvicker’s work also includes research on the management of advanced chronic illness. She is currently the Principal Investigator of a pilot study examining the use of implantable cardiac devices for home health patients with advanced heart failure. The study uses Medicare administrative, claims, and home health patient assessment data from a national sample of Medicare beneficiaries in order to identify predictors and assess outcomes of receiving a left ventricular assist device (LVAD).

Dr. Ryvicker received her PhD in sociology from New York University in 2007. Her dissertation research was a qualitative study of nursing home organizational culture and quality of life, funded by a Health Services Dissertation Grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), US Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Ryvicker also has a BA in urban studies from Brown University.

Miriam Ryvicker CV

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Max Topaz, PhD, RN, MA – Associate Professor of Nursing

Dr. Maxim (Max) Topaz PhD, RN, MA joined VNSNY’s Center for Home Care Policy & Research in 2018 as Associate Professor of Nursing under a joint-appointment with the Columbia University Medical Center and the Columbia University Data Science Institute, where he is the Elizabeth Standish Gill Associate Professor of Nursing. Dr. Topaz’s clinical experience is in internal and urgent medicine. His research primarily involves leveraging technological and computer science breakthroughs to develop and utilize informatics methodologies, like text and data mining, to evaluate and inform health and home care provision practices and policy, as well as the fields of data science and health informatics methods science generally. Dr. Topaz has authored more than fifty articles on topics related to health informatics and received numerous prestigious awards for his work. His current work focuses on developing natural language processing solutions for big data in healthcare.

Dr. Topaz’s roles at the Center include collaborating with Center Leadership and staff to determine critical research and practice issues, providing leadership, expertise and efforts in the conceptualization, design, conduct, dissemination, and translation of the Center’s research, and generally, supporting and advancing the research mission and goals of the Center. Dr. Topaz is also responsible for obtaining external funding for and leading nationally-significant, high- quality, practice and/or policy-relevant research in areas at the intersection of nursing, home health care, informatics, technology, and the larger health care system.

Prior to joining the Center, Dr. Topaz was involved with health policy (national and international levels), leadership (e.g. Chair of the Emerging Professionals Working Group of the International Medical Informatics Association) and health entrepreneurship. He served as a Senior Lecturer at the School of Nursing, University of Haifa (Israel) where he led the Health Information Technology Lab.

Dr. Topaz earned his PhD degree in Nursing as a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and his Masters (Cum Laude) and Bachelors degrees from the University of Haifa, Israel. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and Brigham Women’s Hospital.

Maxim Topaz CV

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Carlin Brickner , DrPH – Director of Analytics


Carlin Brickner, DrPH, currently Director of Analytics for the VNSNY Outcomes Department, joined the staff of the Center for Home Care Policy and Research as a Statistical Analyst in April of 2006, and was promoted to Senior Statistical Analyst in 2010. During this time, Dr. Brickner worked closely with quality management staff and other researchers on NIH-funded projects to analyze and interpret clinical data, to identify and resolve data, and to evaluate the reliability of source information and organize results into reports. In addition, he assisted in the design and implementation of internal and externally-funded evaluation studies.

Prior to joining the Center, Dr. Brickner graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Mathematics and a minor in Statistics. In addition, he received a M.S. in Statistics from the University of Akron. While completing his M.S., Dr. Brickner taught several sections of statistical computer application classes to undergraduate students and worked as a Statistician Consultant for a Marketing Research firm specializing in Corporate Reputation.

Dr. Brickner completed the Doctorate of Public Health Program in Biostatistics at The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey while working for the Center, and upon earning his degree in 2014, transitioned into a role at VNSNY as Associate Director of Biostatistics, and shortly thereafter, as Director of Analytics, for the VNSNY Outcomes Department. The VNSNY Outcomes Department works closely with the Center for Home Care Policy and Research, but focuses on the design and management of VNSNY’s electronic records and patient data systems, as well as on analytics systems used to provide VNSNY clinical management and leadership with real-time performance and logistics feedback and VNSNY clinicians with real-time patient-tailored e-resources and feedback systems to facilitate data and evidence-driven quality care.

Dr. Brickner has maintained his involvement with the Center in addition to his leadership role within the Outcomes Department, serving currently as an Investigator on the NIH-funded Infection Control project in collaboration with the Columbia University School of Nursing, and providing consultation to other Center staff and project teams on statistical methodology, VNSNY and external data systems, and analytic methods and software.

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Center Staff

Alexis Stern – Research Analyst II

alexis-sternAlexis Stern, Research Analyst II, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research in 1999. She currently works with Mia Oberlink on the AdvantAge Initiative, a data-driven community development project that helps communities measure their elder-friendliness and develop strategies to sustain older residents’ independence and allow them to age in place. During her years at VNSNY, Ms. Stern’s responsibilities have included project management, communications, grant reporting, grant proposal submissions, research, data collection, and research analysis. She has worked on a variety of CHCPR projects and programs, including the CHAMP (Collaboration for Homecare Advances in Management and Practice) program, the Administration on Aging-funded CIAIP (Community Innovations for Aging in Place) project, the Health Indicators in NORC Programs Initiative, the Home Care Research Initiative (HCRI), and the Multi-Regional Model to Increase the Proportion of Baccalaureate Nurses (RIBN) in New York City and North Carolina.

Ms. Stern has also worked for various nonprofit organizations and institutions, including Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health (Senior Project Officer, Office of Sponsored Projects Administration), New York University (Grants Administrator, Institute for Human Development and Social Change, NYU Steinhardt), the International Longevity Center, Food & Hunger Hotline, and as a science teacher in New York City elementary schools.

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Lori King, Research Analyst/ IRB Coordinator

lori-kingLori King, Research Analyst, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research in September of 2000 where she has primarily worked on quality improvement and access to care projects. Ms. King recently finished working on two Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ)–sponsored projects focused on patient safety, Working Conditions and Adverse Events in Home Health Care (WEPS) and Developmental Center for Evaluation and Research in Patient Safety (DCERPS), a collaborative effort with New York University’s Division of Nursing. Prior to this work she worked on a large-scale project sponsored by AHRQ, Translating Research into Practice (TRIP): Evidence-Based ‘Reminders’ in Home Health Care”, which focused on evaluating strategies to promote evidence-based care. Ms. King is currently working on a newly funded grant sponsored by National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), Interventions to Improve Blood Pressure Control in African Americans, which also focuses on evaluating strategies to promote evidence-based care. Ms. King is responsible for coordinating primary data collection activities, conducting literature searches, and contributing to the preparation of research publications and reports.

Ms. King is a graduate of LaSalle University, earning a BA and BS minor. Before joining VNSNY, she worked at The National Board of Medical Examiners in Philadelphia, where she worked on the Standardized Patient Project. She received her Masters in Public Health at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in May 2010.

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MaryGrace Trifilio, MA Research Analyst II

marygrace-trifilioMaryGrace Trifilio joined the Center for Homecare Policy & Research in 2012. She is responsible for coordinating and ensuring the quality of the work of staff collecting primary data in the field. She also provides research and administrative support, particularly assistance with the drafting and submission of IRB research protocols and qualitative analysis, for several senior researchers and the Center’s external collaborators. Additionally, Ms. Trifilio serves as a liaison and translator between the Center and its Spanish-speaking research subjects.

Ms. Trifilio graduated Summa Cum Laude from Fordham University in 2012, and completed a Master’s degree in Cultural & Medical Anthropology at CUNY Hunter College in 2017. Her thesis explores the issue of vaccine refusal in New York City.

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Melissa Trachtenberg – Research Project Manager

Melissa Trachtenberg, Research Project Manager, joined the Center for Home Care Policy and Research in 2010. At the Center, Melissa works with investigators studying a variety of topics important to home health care including hypertension management, medication management, care transitions, and pain interventions. She has worked on a number of federally-funded grants. Ms. Trachtenberg is responsible for helping develop new grant applications, draft study protocols, facilitate IRB submissions, and prepare reports. As a Project Manager on different studies, Ms. Trachtenberg focuses on primary data collection activities, including the recruitment and retention of study subjects, coordination and monitoring field interviewer performance and data quality assurance.

Melissa’s previous work includes 2-1/2 years at NYU Langone Medical Center, Dept. of Psychiatry, where she worked on several federally funded research projects focused on the use of cannabis in mentally ill patients.


Murtaugh, C., Beissner, K., Barron, Y., Trachtenberg, M. A., Bach, E., Henderson, C., Sridharan, S., Reid, M.C. Pain and Function in Home Care: A Need for Treatment Tailoring to Reduce Disparities? Clinical Journal of Pain; in press.

Feldman, P. H., McDonald, M. V., Trachtenberg, M. A., Schoenthaler, A., Coyne, N., & Teresi, J. (2015). Center for stroke disparities solutions community-based care transition interventions: study protocol of a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 16(1), 32.

Ryvicker, M., McDonald, M. V., Trachtenberg, M., Peng, T. R., Sridharan, S., & Feldman, P. H. (2013). Can the care transitions measure predict re-hospitalization risk or home health nursing use of home healthcare patients? Journal for Healthcare Quality, 35(5), 32-40

Bach, E., Beissner, K., Murtaugh, C., Trachtenberg, M., & Reid, M. C. (2013). Implementing a Cognitive–Behavioral Pain Self-Management Program In Home Health Care Part 2: Feasibility and Acceptability Cohort Study. Journal of geriatric physical therapy (2001), 36(3), 130.

Beissner, K., Bach, E., Murtaugh, C., Parker, S. J., Trachtenberg, M., & Reid, M. C. (2013). Implementing a Cognitive-Behavioral Pain Self-Management Program In Home Health Care Part 1: Program Adaptation. Journal of geriatric physical therapy (2001), 36(3), 123.

Galvez-Buccollini, J. A., Proal, A. C., Tomaselli, V., Trachtenberg, M., Coconcea, C., Chun, J., & Delisi, L. E. (2012). Association between age at onset of psychosis and age at onset of cannabis use in non-affective psychosis. Schizophrenia research, 139(1), 157-160.

Camera, A. A., Tomaselli, V., Fleming, J., Jabbar, G. A., Trachtenberg, M., Galvez-Buccollini, J. A., & DeLisi, L. E. (2012). Correlates to the variable effects of cannabis in young adults: a preliminary study. Harm reduction journal, 9(1), 1-7

Trachtenberg, M., & Ryvicker, M. (2011). Research on transitional care: from hospital to home. Home healthcare nurse, 29(10), 645

Melissa Trachtenberg CV

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Nicole Onorato – Research Analyst II

nicole-onoratoNicole Onorato, BS, Research Analyst II, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research as an intern in 2014, transitioned into a per diem project assistant role in 2015, and began working full time for the Center in 2016 as a Research Assistant. At the Center, she is responsible for recruiting subjects into various research studies, helping to provide training and support to field staff, and for providing administrative and research support to several senior researchers across multiple projects as well as to the Center in general.

Ms. Onorato graduated from CUNY Hunter College with a degree in Public Health. Before joining VNSNY, Ms. Onorato worked as a Nurse’s Assistant from 2008–2011, and then became a Patient Care Technician from 2011–2016 working on a neurorehabilitation unit. Nicole is interested in working with Home Health Aides/ Health Coaches and is interested in a post-stroke population. She has worked on several studies involving Health Coaches, and two stroke studies so far.

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Sam Jackson – Business Manager

Sam Jackson, BA, Business Manager, Research Studies, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research in 2013. At the Center, he provides administrative and research support to the research staff, manages grant submissions and grant and financial administration, and is responsible for ensuring the Center’s internal and external research and administrative compliance. He also serves as coordinator and liaison between the Center and VNSNY’s Legal, IT, Procurement, and HR departments, and is the webmaster for the Center’s website.

Mr. Jackson graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in 2009 with degrees in Psychology and Applied Statistics, and gained experience as a Research Assistant during college working for the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the Judgment & Decision-Making Laboratory at the University of Michigan. Mr. Jackson moved to New York City in 2011 and worked as a Research and Administrative Assistant at The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University until joining VNSNY.

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Shivani Shah, MPH – Research Project Manager

Shivani Shah, MPH, Research Project Manager, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research in February of 2008. Mrs. Shah is currently leading a project with Dr. Sarah Szanton at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing called Reducing Disability Following Hospital Discharge in Vulnerable Older Adults: the CAPABLE intervention, a multi-year randomized controlled intervention trial. This study is testing the effectiveness of the CAPABLE program, which combines evidence-based nursing, occupational therapy, and handyman components to help diverse older adults function at home and save our nation costly nursing home care. The VNSNY team includes Research Analyst, John Gordon, 6 field interviewers for data collection and 8 field clinicians (OT and RN) delivering the intervention. The project has also partnered with Metcouncil to provide home modifications to participants in the intervention group. CAPABLE is a program that leads with participants setting their own goals and getting support to make it happen.

Prior work at the Center for Home Care Policy & Research, includes primary data collection, policy focused and comparative effectiveness studies using national data from CMS.

Primary data collection projects: (1) Health Related Quality of Life: Elders in Long Term Care (PI: Naylor, Penn School of Nursing, National Institute on Aging)

Policy research initiatives: (1) Post-Acute Care Payment Demonstration (PI: Gage, Research Triangle Institute, CMS); (2) PRIDE Promoting Integrated Care for Dual Eligibles (PI: Feldman, VNSNY, Commonwealth Fund)

Intervention studies: (1) Self-Management of Urine Flow in Long-term Urinary Catheter Users (PI: Wilde, University of Rochester School of Nursing, National Institute of Health); (2) Rockaway Wellness Partnership: A health coach and wellness worker led outreach in the Far Rockaway, a community devastated by Hurricane Sandy. (PI: Oberlink, VNSNY, New York State Social Services Block Grant); (3) Home-based Primary Care for Homebound Seniors: a Randomized Controlled Trial (PI; Federman, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, National Institute of Health); (3) Reducing Disability Following Hospital Discharge in Vulnerable Older Adults: the CAPABLE intervention, a multi-year randomized controlled intervention trial (PI: Szanton, John Hopkins School of Nursing, National Institute of Aging).

Facilitated community based assessments of elder with local organizations through the AdvantAge Initiative (PI: Oberlink, VNSNY).

Comparative Effectiveness study using National claims files from Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services: (1) Comparative Effectiveness of Intensive Home Health and MD visits in Heart Failure (PI: Murtaugh, VNSNY, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality); (2) Sepsis Survivors’ Post-Acute Outcomes: Impact of Early Home Health and MD Visits (co-PI: Murtaugh and Bowles, National Institute of Nursing Research); (3) Comparative Effectiveness of Home Health Therapies after Joint Replacement (co-PI: Murtaugh, VNSNY and Siu, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, National Institute of Aging); (4) A Longitudinal Network Study of Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care in Relation to Disparities in Access and Outcomes (co-PI; Ryvicker, VNSNY and Merrill, Columbia School of Nursing, National Institute of Aging)

Sridevi Sridharan, MS – Senior Systems Analyst & Programmer

srideviSridevi Sridharan, MS, Senior Systems Analyst & Programmer, joined VNSNY’s Center for Home Care Policy & Research as a Consultant in August 2008. Soon after, in December 2008, she joined the center as a full-time staff member. She has a BS in Computer Science and MS in Biomedical Engineering. Prior to joining the center, Sridevi worked as a Statistical Programmer for Health Care and Pharmaceutical companies.

At the Center, Sridevi works closely with the Research Center Project Managers and assists in the design and implementation of patient enrollment for research studies, produces statistical summaries and quantitative analyses. She is currently working on the following projects: Cognitive-Behavioral Pain Self-Management, Washington Heights / Inwood Informatics Infrastructure for Community-Centered Comparative Effectiveness Research, Home-Based Blood Pressure Interventions for African Americans, Improving Medication Management Practices and Center for Stroke Disparities Solutions.

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Yolanda Barron-Vaya, MS – Senior Statistical Analyst

yoland-barron-vayaYolanda Barrón-Vayá, MS, Senior Statistical Analyst, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research in September 2011. Ms. Barrón is currently working in the analysis of the “Improving Medication Management Practices and Care Transitions through Technology (IMPACT)” project, a randomized trial to examine the effectiveness of a comprehensive information technology (IT) strategy to improve medication management for home health patients at risk of potentially serious medication problems due to the complexity of their medication regimen.

Prior to joining the center, Ms. Barrón worked as a biostatistician at the Pain Research Group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She later became a member of the Biostatistical Consulting Core and the Dana Center for Preventive Ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute in Johns Hopkins, before joining the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as a statistical programmer, where she collaborated with investigators from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a multicenter cohort study of the natural history of HIV-1 infection in women in the United States.

In 2005, Ms. Barrón joined the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Weill Cornell Medical College, where she collaborated with Weill Cornell and VNSNY investigators in the design and analysis of a longitudinal multilevel study on the effect of the Patient Activation Measure on chronic care of patients with hypertension. She later worked with members of the Division of Quality and Medical Informatics at Weill Cornell in the design and analysis of studies to evaluate the effects of health information technology (HIT) and health information exchange (HIE) on quality of care and medication safety through the HEAL NY initiatives. Ms. Barrón was also the co-director of the course “Introduction to Biostatistics in Clinical Research” for the Masters Program in Clinical Investigation, part of the Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Ms. Barrón received a MS in Statistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a BS in Applied Mathematics from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM).

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Lizeyka Jordan, MS – Statistical Analyst

Lizeyka Jordan joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research in 2016 as a Research Interviewer. In this role, she was responsible for collecting primary data in the field by interviewing study subjects. Currently, Ms. Jordan works at the VNSNY Research Center as a Statistical Analyst. In this role, she is responsible for compiling, analyzing and interpreting complex healthcare, clinical and utilization data from a various databases and data sources. She also generates reports summarizing applicable trends and provides research and administrative support, including assistance with the development of research proposals, implementation of research designs for several senior researchers and the Center’s external collaborators.

Ms. Jordan graduated from CUNY school of Public Health at Hunter College in May 2017 with a Master’s degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Her thesis explores an algorithm developed to predict the treatment and cure rates of new highly effective treatment regimens for chronically infected individuals with Hepatitis C in New York City. Her previous working experience includes three years of experience at the NYC department of Health and Mental Hygiene where she’s performed a variety of work for the Bureaus of Immunization, STD and Communicable Disease.

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Brooke Lamere, Administrative & Research Assistant

Brooke Lamere, researchBrooke LaMere, Administrative Assistant I, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research in summer 2019 as an intern on the CAPABLE intervention project, and began working part-time in the Center in 2020 as an Administrative Assistant I.

At the Center, Brooke works in tandem with the Center’s Business Manager to support the administrative, technical, financial, and operational needs of the Center’s staff and projects. This includes provision of on-call staff support, the on-going administration and maintenance of the Center’s information systems, tools, financial & business records, and social media presence, liaising with VNSNY support departments (HR, IT, Compliance, Legal, Procurement) as well as external collaborators and vendors on behalf of Center staff, and coordination and project management assistance for Center events and complex initiatives. Brooke also helps on the CAPABLE Intervention project.
Brooke is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and expects to graduate in May 2020.

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