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Staff Biographies

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Center for Primary Care Research

Director: Helen Burstin, M.D., M.P.H.
Denise Anderson
Joy Basu, Ph.D.
Howard Bauchner, M.D.
Steve Bernstein
John Billings, J.D., A.B.
Frederick Chen, M.D., M.P.H.
Carole Dillard
Peter Gergen, M.D.
Ronda Hughes, Ph.D., R.N.
Lynn Kazemekas, Ed.D., R.N.
David Lanier, M.D.
Kelly Morgan
Eduardo Ortiz, M.D., M.P.H.
Sally Phillips, R.N., Ph.D.
Sari Siegel, M.A.
Robin Weinick, Ph.D.
Gloria Washington


Helen Burstin, M.D., M.P.H. has served as Director of the Center for Primary Care Research (CPCR) at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) since January 2000. AHRQ is the lead Federal agency charged with conducting and sponsoring research to enhance the quality, appropriateness, access, and effectiveness of health care services. CPCR serves as the major Federal source of funding for primary care research and conducts research that seeks to improve access, quality, and effectiveness of primary care services.

Prior to her appointment at AHRQ, Dr. Burstin was an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of Quality Measurement at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Burstin has published over 35 articles and book chapters related to her research interests, including access and quality of care, patient-provider communication, and vulnerable populations. In 1996, she won the Clinician Investigator Award, Society of General Internal Medicine, New England Region. Dr. Burstin served as regional co-chair of the Society for General Internal Medicine. She was the former national president of American Medical Student Association (AMSA) and is currently president of the Board of Directors of the AMSA Foundation. She was the medical director of the Honduras project of Partners in Health. She was selected as a Compassionate Care Scholar at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She currently volunteers as a staff physician at La Clinica del Pueblo in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Burstin is a graduate of the State University of New York at Upstate College of Medicine and the Harvard School of Public Health. After a primary care residency in internal medicine at Boston City Hospital, she was an AHRQ postdoctoral fellow in health services research at Harvard Medical School.


Publications by Helen Burstin


Denise M. Anderson applies knowledge and understanding of AHRQ programs, priorities and office procedures in receiving and handling communications to the Center. Ms. Anderson serves as the timekeeper, prepares travel arrangements and reimbursement, handles all routine out-going grant correspondence and purchases office supplies and equipment. She has worked at AHRQ since 1992 and has served as Keyworker for the Combined Federal Campaign several years in a row.


Steve Bernstein serves as an advisor on Information Technology (IT) in support of Agency Clinical Informatics initiatives. His primary focus is evaluating IT opportunities and establishing an Extranet to improve information sharing, collaboration and knowledge management for the nationwide Practice Based Research Networks (PBRNs). Mr. Bernstein served for four years as the Agency's Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Director of the Division of Information Technology Management. He provided for the upgrade and management of the Agency's state-of-the-art IT infrastructure, information systems, Intranet, Extranets, email, LAN, WAN, secure intramural network, secure data center and information security. Mr. Bernstein served prior to 1997 as the Director of Information Systems for Logistics and Fleet Support for the Naval Air Systems Command in the Department of Navy, and managed the successful development and implementation of some of the worlds largest, state-of-the-art IT programs and information systems.

Mr. Bernstein graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Engineering and Operations Research with a focus on Computer Science, and has taken extensive graduate and post-graduate level courses in information systems and completed senior executive-level management programs and seminars at Harvard, University of Virginia and other organizations.


Joy Basu, Ph.D. is an economist with the Center for Primary Care Research, and is responsible for both intramural and extramural research. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she developed and led several intramural research projects of the center focusing on the access issues in health care services, with a particular emphasis on preventable hospitalization, supply and demand issues in primary care, racial and ethnic disparities, impact of managed care, geographic barrier and distant hospitalization. She is also responsible for administering a large volume of extramural research grants addressing issues related to health care cost, financing, and access. Dr. Basu previously worked in the Office of the Actuary and the Office of Research and Demonstrations in Health Care Financing Administration, and as Assistant Director for Policy Analysis in Maryland Health Planning Commission. She conducted evaluations of various legislation-mandated Medicare and Medicaid demonstrations and led special research studies to address various national and state health policy issues. She also directed the development of statewide need projection methodologies to forecast future demand for health resources throughout Maryland.


Publications by Joy Basu

Carole D. Dillard serves as Project Officer on research grants and contracts related to rural health research; health care disparities; bioterrorism; methodology development; access to care issues; telehealth; primary components care practice and cultural competency issues serves as the Report Clearance Officer for the agency for many years. A former high school teacher, she received her degree in Mathematics from Hampton (Institute) University and has done further study at John's Hopkins University, George Washington University and University of Maryland. Currently serving on the agency's Extramural Research Committee and as a reviewer of Small Conference Grants on the Small Conference Grants Review Panel. Committee activities has included work on the minority health ad hoc Advisory Committee. Work also includes serving as the Rural Health Research contact for AHRQ.

Peter Gergen, M.D. graduated from medical school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Completed Pediatric Internship at McGill University, Montreal's Children's Hospital, Montreal Quebec. Completed Pediatric residency at University of Washington, Seattle. Received Master of Public Health Degree from Columbia University in New York City. Board Certified in Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine. Areas of interest include: child health, respiratory diseases, disparities in health and staffing issues.


Publications by Peter Gergen

Ronda Hughes, Ph.D., R.N. Ms. Hughes recently joined the Agency, where she will be conducting intramural research and will also serve as a project officer for projects related to evidence-based practice. Prior to joining the Agency, she worked in HRSA's Bureau of Primary Health Care where she focused on improving access to care for the underserved. Ms. Hughes received a B.S. in nursing from Boston University, a M.H.S. from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Health Policy, with a concentration in Health Services Research from Johns Hopkins University. Areas of interest include: Preventive and primary health care, healthcare disparities, vulnerable populations, implementation of clinical guidelines, and current health policy issues.


Lynn Kazemekas, Ed.D., R.N. Program areas: primary care and clinical decision making, workforce policy, continuing/professional education, self-care. Bio: Dr. Kazemekas has been with the Agency since 1991, initially involved with projects in dissemination research and publications/media communications. Presently she is a health scientist administrator in CPCR where she provides technical assistance and monitors primary care research grants/cooperative agreements, serves on task forces and committees, and presents agency-related information at meetings/conferences/workshops. She has conducted qualitative research in clinical education, has extensive experience in design/development of professional and continuing education, and ongoing interest in workforce policy related to quality and cost of primary health care services. Dr. Kazemekas received a diploma in nursing from Waterbury Hospital, B.S.Ed. from Columbia University Teachers College, M.M.S. in Biomedical Communication from Tulane School of Medicine, and Ed.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Publications by Lynn Kazemekas

David Lanier, M.D., is a family physician who heads CPCR's extramural research program. A graduate of the medical school of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he completed residency training in family medicine in the University of Rochester (NY)/Highland Hospital program and later completed fellowship training in academic family medicine at Baylor University. Prior to joining AHRQ (then named the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research) in 1993, Dr. Lanier was on the family practice faculty of the University of California at Irvine and then was named residency director and chief of the division of family medicine at Georgetown University. From 1993 to 1995 he worked in the agency's Forum for Quality and Effectiveness in Health Care before joining the staff of the Center for Primary Care Research. In CPCR, he has led research initiatives on referrals from primary to specialty care and on primary care practice-based research networks (PBRNs). From September, 1998 to January, 2000, he served as CPCR's acting director. He has completed research and published articles on numerous subjects, including low back pain and familial alcoholism. Dr. Lanier provides medical care to HIV-infected patients one half-day per week as a volunteer physician at the Whitman-Walker Clinic.


Publications by David Lanier

Kelly M. Morgan coordinates the Center's proposed and funded research projects, including publications disseminating research findings. As part of the Center's goal to develop capacity in primary care research, Ms. Morgan manages the Center's concept review process. In addition to serving as a Project Officer, Ms. Morgan serves as a resource on grant policy and procedures. She designs and prepares reports and manages the planning and follow through of CPCR meetings to assist in identifying important issues in primary care. Ms. Morgan has been with the Agency since 1991 and has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Frostburg State University.


Eduardo Ortiz, M.D., M.P.H. (M.D., Medical College of Georgia; M.P.H., University of Utah) is a board-certified Internist with advanced training in medical informatics, health care delivery research, and continuous quality improvement. He is currently a Senior Service Fellow at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in the Center for Primary Care Research. Most recently, he was Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, Staff Physician at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, an investigator with the VA-RAND Health Sciences Program, and site coordinator for the Southern California Evidence-Based Practice Center in San Diego. Previously, he was Associate Director of Outcomes Research and Management in the Division of Medical and Scientific Affairs, Merck & Co., Inc. Dr. Ortiz's work has focused on developing educational programs in medical informatics and evidence-based health care, the application of evidence-based medicine to clinical care, evaluation of practice patterns, use of computerized expert systems and decision support, provider education and behavioral changes, and disease management.


Publications by Eduardo Ortiz

Sari Siegel, M.A., is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs and is currently a Staff Service Fellow with the Center for Primary Care Research. Prior to her AHRQ appointment, she authored two books, "Primary Health Care and Vulnerable Populations" (2000) and "Access to Primary Health Care: Tracking the States" (1998). Her research interests include access for at-risk communities, health disparities and cultural competency, and Medicaid managed care viability. She holds degrees from Brandeis University and Rutgers University's Eagleton Institute of Politics.


Robin M. Weinick, Ph.D. is a health services researcher who heads CPCR's intramural research program. Her research focuses on the access to and use of health care services in the U.S., with a particular emphasis on racial and ethnic disparities, use of emergency services, children, and the impact of managed care gatekeeping. In addition, she leads the Agency's efforts to build research agendas addressing the health care needs of low-income Americans, and leads an inter-Agency effort to develop a data system for monitoring the status of the health care safety net. Prior to joining the Center, Dr. Weinick was a senior social science analyst in the Center for Cost and Financing Studies at the Agency, where she played an active role in the development of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, a large, nationally-representative survey of health care use and expenditures. Her responsibilities spanned all phases of the survey process, including questionnaire design, pre-testing, interviewer training, evaluation, data editing, and data release activities for the household component of the survey. Dr. Weinick has also been extensively involved in providing technical assistance both within and outside of the Agency, including representing the Agency to the Interagency committee evaluating the Federal Racial and Ethnic Standards. Her research has been published in a variety of journals, including Health Services Research, Medical Care Research and Review, American Journal of Public Health, The Gerontologist, Health Affairs, American Journal of Managed Care, Statistical Bulletin, Demography, and Journal of Marriage and the Family. She holds a Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.

Publications by Robin Weinick

Gloria Washington serves as the assistant to the Director of the Center for Primary Care Research. She receives and handles all incoming communications to the Director, prepares visual presentations and travel arrangements, and serves as the liaison between the Director and CPCR staff. Ms. Washington joined the Agency in 2001.


Visiting Scholars and Fellows

Howard Bauchner, M.D. is a Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center. He is the Director of the Division of General Pediatrics and Associate Vice-Chair of Academic Affairs Currently, he is the Child and Adolescent Health Scholar in Residence at AHRQ. At BUSM, he oversees a research division of 10 faculty and 5 fellows. His research interests include: clinical decision making; evidence-based medicine; practice-based research; randomized clinical trials; and promoting the judicious use of oral antibiotics. While at AHRQ his research activities have focused on disparities and oral antibiotic use in children; summarizing what is known about changing physician behavior; and understanding the relationship between institutional review board approval and publication of child health research reports. He has published over 75 peer-reviewed papers and is on the Editorial Boards of five journals. He is a member of the Society for Pediatric Research and American Pediatric Society.

Additional information about child health services research and AHRQ's Child and Adolescent Health Scholar in Residence program can be found at


John Billings, J.D., A.B., is an Associate Professor of Health Policy and Public Service and the Director of the Center for Health and Public Service Research, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. His most recent work has involved analysis of patterns of hospital admission rates as a mechanism to evaluate access barriers to outpatient care and to assess the performance of the ambulatory care delivery system. Mr. Billings is current co-principal investigator on the Safety Net Assessment Project, an initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to examine the performance of health care safety nets in 70 U.S. cities. Mr. Billings is also the principal investigator on a project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to assess models for delivering primary care to low income populations and is co-principal investigator on an effort with Columbia University and the United Hospital Fund of New York to evaluate the impact of Medicaid managed care in New York City. Professor Billings received his J.D. from the University of California (Berkeley).

Frederick Chen, M.D., M.P.H., is a Kerr White Visiting Scholar in the Center for Primary Care Research at AHRQ. He received his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, while completing his M.P.H. at Berkeley. Afterwards, Dr. Chen trained in family medicine at the University of Washington, where he recently completed the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Washington. His research interests include primary care education policy, primary care referrals, and physician workforce issues. Select for additional information about the Kerr White Visiting Scholar program.


Sally Phillips, R.N., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. Dr. Phillips recently completed the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship Program and is currently assigned to CPCR as a Senior Nursing Scholar. Her research interests include nursing education and practice. Dr. Phillips holds a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio.

Current as of October 2001

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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