Dr. Kathy Bowles 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.
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.
Christopher Murtaugh, PhD, Associate Director, 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.
While Director of the Center, Dr. Feldman established a robust research enterprise with rigorously trained methodological staff and state-of-the-art informatics capacity that continues to support research and inform quality improvement and program planning for VNSNY’s aging and racially diverse patient population, a population characterized by functional impairment, multiple co-morbidities, and complex care needs. Under Dr. Feldman’s leadership, the Center developed and continues to maintain a portfolio of externally funded research designed to assess the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions designed to improve the quality of care and health outcomes of low income disparity populations, who comprise over half of VNSNY’s patient population. Among other projects, Dr. Feldman served as PI on a series of comparative effectiveness (CE) 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 (HTN), and/or other cardiovascular risk factors. Since 2005, Dr. Feldman has also served as Associate Professor (Courtesy) of Public Health at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Feldman, and additionally, previously served on the faculty at Harvard University in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health and at the John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Margaret McDonald, MSW, Associate Director, Research Studies, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research in 1998. At the Center, she is responsible for developing, conducting, and disseminating results of research studies evaluating the quality, comparative effectiveness, and outcomes of home healthcare interventions. 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.
Ms. McDonald 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.
David Russell, PhD, is a Senior Evaluation Scientist in the Center for Home Care Policy & Research at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York. 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.
Dawn Dowding, PhD, RN, Professor of Nursing, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research in September 2013. She holds a joint appointment with Columbia University School of Nursing. Dr. Dowding is a nurse and health services researcher by background, and has spent her academic career carrying out research into how clinicians (particularly nurses) make decisions, developing and evaluating clinical decision support interventions, and more recently the evaluation of technology and how it affects decision making. Her research program at VNSNY focuses on the role of evidence-based practice in improving care delivery and achieving optimal outcomes for our patients. Prior to joining the Center and Columbia University, Dr. Dowding was Professor of Applied Health Research at the University of Leeds, UK, where she led the decision making research group. Prior to this she was a Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice from 2009–2010, working at Kaiser Permanente, Oakland CA. Previous appointments include Senior Lecturer in Clinical Decision Making, the Hull York Medical School, UK, and Program Leader at the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit, University of Stirling, Scotland.
She is currently the PI for an AHRQ-funded study designing dashboards to provide feedback on care quality outcomes for heart failure patients that can be used by home care nurses at the point of care. She is also leading a study exploring evidence-based prevention and treatment interventions for patients with pressure ulcers in nursing homes, and a Co-I on an AHRQ-funded study exploring infection control practices in home care settings. Recently completed projects include a study to develop decision support to assist clinicians with the assessment and management of pain in patients with dementia in acute care settings, and a realist evaluation of the use of robots in colorectal surgery, and its impact on team work and decision making. She has received funding for her research from AHRQ in the USA and the National Institute for Health Research in the UK.
Dr. Dowding received her doctorate in Nursing and Psychology from the University of Surrey, Guildford, UK, and has a BSc(Hons) in Psychology and Nursing Studies from City University, London. She completed her registered nurse training at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London.
Mia 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 (www.ciaip.org); 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.
Miriam 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.
Alexis 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.
Lori 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.
MaryGrace 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 with degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Communication & Media Studies. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from CUNY Hunter College. Her thesis explores the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of non-vaccinating parents seeking healthcare in New York City.
Melissa Trachtenberg, Research Project Manager, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research in 2010. At the Center, Melissa works with investigators studying a variety of topics important to home healthcare, 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.
Ms. Trachtenberg is working towards her Clinical Psychology PhD with a concentration in chronic disease management at Yeshiva University and is expected to graduate in 2021. Her previous work includes 2½ 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.
Nicole Onorato, BS, Research Assistant, 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.
Pavel Chibisov MS, Business Intelligence Analyst, joined VNSNY Center for Home Care Policy & Research in August 2011. Pavel’s duties are to implement a reporting process in the Outcomes department and develop standards for interactive reports, analytical dashboards with advanced data visualization using MicroStrategy Business Intelligence platform.
Pavel is an expert in Business Intelligence (BI)—a set of processes, methodologies, and technologies used to transform data into meaningful, useful, and action-oriented enterprise information. His specialties include designing multi-dimensional data models and data architecture. He is also a subject matter expert in all aspects of MicroStrategy platform, such as project design, architecture, administration, implementation, maintenance, mobile reporting, etc.
Prior to joining the center, Pavel worked as a Senior Report Developer / Analyst for AllianceBernstein LP – Mutual Fund Management firm where he was responsible for designing and developing reports and analytical dashboards for retail and private client senior management and sales force.
Pavel holds a Masters Degree in Oil Geology from Moscow State University, Russia. He is also MicroStrategy Certified Project Designer and Report /Dashboard Developer.
Sam Jackson, BA, Administrative Coordinator, 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.
Shivani Shah, MPH, Research Analyst II, joined the Center for Home Care Policy & Research in February of 2008. Mrs. Shah is currently coordinating two projects at the Research Center. The first focuses on the vulnerable sepsis patient population: Sepsis Survivors’ Post-Acute Outcomes: Impact of Early Home Health and MD Visits (co-PI Murtaugh and Bowles, National Institute of Nursing Research). The study aims to identify most effective combination of home health nursing visits and physician follow-up reducing rehospitalization and improve functional outcomes. In addition it will contribute to the body of research by producing longitudinal, comprehensive view of patient, hospital, home care agency, and physician services and their relationship with other patient outcomes. The second study is Comparative Effectiveness of Home Health Therapies after Joint Replacement (co-PI: Chris Murtaugh at VNSNY and Dr Albert Siu at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, National Institute of Aging). The newly funded study will analyze national Medicare data to address a major gap in knowledge concerning variation in home health rehabilitation therapy intensity and patient outcomes following a total hip replacement or total knee replacement.
At the Center for Home Care Policy & Research, Mrs. Shah has worked on Health Related Quality of Life: Elders in Long Term Care (PI: Naylor, National Institute on Aging), a collaborative effort with University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. The study focused on the differences in quality of life between new enrollees in three different long-term care settings: home and community based services, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. The Post-Acute Care Payment Demonstration (PI: Gage, CMS), an effort to standardize reimbursement across various post-acute settings. An intervention initiative launched with the University of Rochester School of Nursing, Self-Management of Urine Flow in Long-term Urinary Catheter Users (PI: Wilde, National Institute of Health). The randomized intervention study enrolled participants with indwelling catheters to study the effects of self-management on decreased adverse outcomes. A study analyzing national Medicare data Comparative Effectiveness of Intensive Home Health and MD visits in Heart Failure (PI: Murtaugh, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), an initiative to improve heart failure patient outcomes by identifying the most effective combination of home health nursing visits and physician follow-up in reducing rehospitalization and to determine where some patients benefit more than others. A policy driven project funded by a foundation, Promoting Integrated Care for Dual Eligibles (PRIDE, PI: Feldman, Commonwealth Fund), which convened a nationally represented advisory board as well as a consortium of community based nonprofit health plans, and selected by experts in key states. Facilitated community based assessments of elder with local organizations through the AdvantAge Initiative (Oberlink). Rockaway Wellness Partnership (PI: Oberlink, New York State Social Services Block Grant) A health coach and wellness worker led outreach in the Far Rockaway, a community devastated by Hurricane Sandy. The project partnered with providers who had long left the damaged area and brought them back to support vulnerable and forgotten community. The outreach gave hope and built morale while connecting those in need to the right providers, and acted as much needed advocates for those in need.
Sridevi Sridharan, MS, Statistical Analyst, 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.
Yolanda 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).