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Center for Care Delivery and Outcomes Research


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CCDOR Fellows


Rebecca Brown, PhD, MEd, RN
VAQS Fellow

 Rebecca BRown

Rebecca Brown is a nurse scientist. The focus of her dissertation research was to expand recognition of peripheral artery disease (PAD) symptoms with the ultimate goal of improving detection and treatment of individuals with PAD. In her work, she uses quantitative and qualitative research methods to generate new knowledge and works with interdisciplinary teams to comprehensively translate science into practice. Her next area of research focuses on screening, clinical decision support, and symptom management for Veterans with PAD.


Research Interests:

  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Policy
  • Disease detection
  • Clinical decision support
  • Interdisciplinary approaches to care delivery
  • Healthy aging
  • Exercise therapy
  • Symptom management
  • Translational Science


  • BS, Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • MEd, Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • MN, RN, Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • PhD, Nursing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Check out a full publication list on Google Scholar.

Collin Calvert, PhD, MPH
HSR Fellow

Calvert headshot

Collin Calvert is a social epidemiologist and methodologist. His research interests include policy outcome evaluation, substance use, cancer, violence and injuries, and chronic pain. He has assisted with and led studies on a variety of topics, including interventions to prevent cognitive decline, awareness of alcohol as a cause of cancer, the effects of marijuana legalization on traffic crashes, and methods for preventing gun violence. Having employed and taught both quantitative and qualitative research methods, Collin strives to explain complex concepts clearly to a broad audience.


  • BA, Anthropology, Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN
  • MPH, Community Health Promotion, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • PhD, Epidemiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Check out a full publication list on Google Scholar.


Renee Colsch, PhD, RN, SCRN, CQ
VAQS Fellow

 Renee Colsch

Renee is a nurse scientist, associate professor, and OIF Air Force veteran. Her research interests are in women’s health, quality of life, sex differences, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Specifically, she aims to reduce health inequities among stroke and disenfranchised minority women and veteran women through symptomatology health promotion and prevention. Renee is an active member in the American Heart and Stroke Association and an active community member for the Combat Veterans Association.


Research Interests:

  • Women’s health
  • Veteran’s health
  • Stroke and cardiovascular disease
  • Sex differences
  • Symptomology


  • A.S., Nursing, Ridgewater College, Willmar, MN
  • B.S., Nursing, Excelsior College, Albany, NY
  • M.S. Nursing Education, Excelsior College, Albany, NY
  • Ph.D. Nursing, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND

Check out a full publication list on Google Scholar.

Patrick Cruitt, PhD
VAQS Fellow


Patrick is a VA Quality Scholar (VAQS) Fellow and clinical psychologist. He is interested in interprofessional collaboration and improving mental health care in integrated settings. His research focuses on personality assessment, personality functioning in later life, and the interaction between personality and stressful life events (e.g., unemployment) in predicting health outcomes.


Research Interests:

  • Personality assessment
  • Personality functioning and healthy aging
  • Unemployment, personality, and health
  • Quality improvement


  • BA, Psychology and Theology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
  • PhD, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
  • Psychology Internship, Minneapolis VA Health Care System, Minneapolis, MN

 Check out a full publication list on Google Scholar.

Jillian Fish, PhD
HSR Fellow

Jill Fish, PhD is a counseling psychologist. The focus of her research and clinical practice is transforming social institutions to be more just and equitable for Native American and Indigenous peoples. Towards this end, she strives to integrate science, practice, and culture in her work, in which she uses innovative story-based strategies, traditional medicines, and cultural modalities of healing to promote the health and well-being of Native American and Indigenous peoples. She is a member of the Tuscarora Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

Research Interests:
  • Indigenous well-being
  • Science-practice-culture integration
  • Story-based data gathering strategies
  • Community-based research
  • Systemic change to promote equity


  • BA, Psychology and Philosophy, Niagara University, Lewiston, NY
  • MS, Mental Health Counseling, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
  • PhD, Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Check out a full publication list on Google Scholar.

Jessica Friedman, PhD, MPH, MSc
HSR Fellow

Friedman headshot

Jessica Friedman is an Epidemiologist and Health Services Researcher. Her research focuses on reproductive health and the intersections of chronic pain management and mental health. She is currently developing a portfolio of research focused on reproductive autonomy and gendered dimensions of trauma and chronic pain. In addition to her research, she is actively engaged in several quality improvement and evaluation initiatives to improve health outcomes for Veterans.

Research Interests:

  • Reproductive health (contraception, reproduction)
  • Multimodal Care for Chronic Pain
  • Trauma
  • Design and systems thinking
  • Shared decision-making


  • BA, Politics & Law & Society, Oberlin College, OH
  • MSc, International Environmental Planning and Regulation, Roskilde University, Denmark
  • MPH, Community Health Promotion, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • PhD, Epidemiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Adam Kaplan, PhD
HSR Fellow

 Adam Kaplan

Adam is a Biostatistician. His focus is developing and encouraging the use of Bayesian methods that make use of VA context to enable estimation of difficult parameters of interest, such as therapist effects and the influence of missingness on the intervention effect in smoking cessation studies.

Research Interests:

  • Supplementing Phase III trials sample size estimation with Phase II and Pilot study data
  • Bayesian Hierarchical modeling


  • B.A., Mathematics, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
  • M.S., Biostatistics, University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN
  • Ph.D., Biostatistics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Check out a full publication list on Google Scholar.

Wendy Miller, MD
HSR Fellow

Dr. Miller is a general internist with an interest in in addiction research, specifically access to medication for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Her current research focus areas are addiction treatment implementation and reducing harms.

Areas of interest

  • Addiction treatment
  • Healthcare access and disparities
  • Chronic pain treatment 


  • BS, Biology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • MD, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • Residency, Internal Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare, Minneapolis, MN



Alexander Thompson, DNP, PMHNP-BC
VAQS Fellow 

Alex Thompson

Alex is psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. His primary practice experience is with patients who have severe mental illness. Prior to completion of his DNP degree at the University of Minnesota he worked as an inpatient psychiatric nurse on a high-acuity unit. Primary areas of interest for research and quality improvement including psychiatric care delivery, methods for patient engagement and activation for patients with severe acute psychiatric symptoms and innovations in psychiatric nursing practice.


Areas of Interest

  • Care of patients with severe mental illness
  • Psychiatric nursing care delivery
  • Innovations in procedures for staff and patient safety
  • Patient and staff engagement


  • BSN, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN
  • DNP, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis MN


Past CCDOR Fellow (last 5 years)

  Fellowship Years / Type Position after CCDOR Website
Amanda Christensen, BS, RN, DNP 2020-2022/ VAQS    
Allison Gustavson, PhD 2019-2021 / HSR Investigator, CCDOR NIH
Joyce Brettner, DNP, MAHS, RN-BC 2019-2021 / VAQS Assistant Professor in Nursing, St. Catherine University  
Noah Venables, PhD 2019-2020 / VAQS Investigator, CCDOR Google Scholar
Patrick Hammett, MA, PhD 2018-2020 / HSR Statistician, CCDOR Google Scholar Page
Lauren Mitchell, PhD 2018-2020 / HSR Assistant Professor, Emmanuel College, Boston MA Google Scholar Page
Kerry Sheets, MD 2018-2020 / HSR Geriatrics Faculty at Hennepin Healthcare Google Scholar Page
Elizabeth Goldsmith, MD, MS 2017-2019 / HSR Investigator, CCDOR Google Scholar Page
Helen Valensten-Mah, PhD 2017-2018 / HSR Primary Care Mental Health Integration (PCMHI) Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow, Minneapolis VA Health Care System Google Scholar Page
Erika Pinsker, PhD, MPH 2016-2018 / HSR Research Scientist III, California Tobacco Control Program, California Department of Public Health Google Scholar Page