Current Fellows - Durham Center of Innovation to ADAPT
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Durham Center of Innovation to ADAPT


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Current Fellows

Veterans Affairs Quality Scholars Fellows:

Lindsay Ballengee, PT, DPT, Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Geriatric Physical Therapy – (VAQS 2019-2021) Dr. Ballengee has a passion for education and implementation, specifically in the area of best practice for non-pharmacological pain treatments. Her clinical expertise is in self-care management for patients with high-impact persistent pain. Dr. Ballengee’s research focuses on implementation of psychologically informed physical therapy (PIPT) for the treatment of persistent pain conditions. As a VA Quality Scholars Fellow, she is involved with various quality improvement initiatives to improve pain care in the VA. Specific projects include improving interdisciplinary communication about veteran preferences for pain treatment, improving provider confidence and prescribing behavior for pain care, and improving veteran satisfaction with virtual non-pharmacological pain management.

Thomasena Moore, DNP, MSN, MHA, BSN – (VAQS 2019-2021)
 Dr. Thomasena Moore has been with the VA since 2002. She has extensive background in peri-operative surgical nursing with a focus in quality management, patient safety, and risk management among surgical patients. Thomasena came to the VA as a fellow because she wanted to explore more ways to improve care among the Veteran population. Her research interests include the development and use of standardized guidelines for evaluating requests to add, delete, or modify components of the electronic health record and decreasing the documentation burden among nurses and other healthcare professionals. As a VAQS fellow, she is interested in pursuing projects that aim to improve the quality of care for the geriatric Veteran population, such as helping with the development and testing of performance indicators for care of Veterans with dementia.  She also notes she would also like to use this VAQS experience to gain more expertise in informatics and data visualization to help add value to the use of electronic health record data to enhance care quality and safety.


Colleen Burke, DPT, PT –
 (VAQS 2020-2022) Dr.  Burke is a clinical physical therapist and first year VA Quality Scholar at the Durham VA Medical Center. She obtained her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Duke University in 2018. Following graduation, she worked in an outpatient clinic focused on orthopedic injuries and functional impairments. Her research interests are centered on improving functional outcomes for patients suffering from chronic pain, especially veterans with low back pain. Additionally, she is focused on how to improve access to appropriate healthcare services for patients with chronic pain, with a specific concentration on health seeking behaviors and how pain drives utilization of care.

Tammy Linton, DNP, MSN-Ed, BSN –
 (VAQS 2020-2022) Dr. Tammy Linton is originally from North Carolina, but during her travel nurse experiences she lived in Arizona, California, and Hawaii. She quickly became flexible and learned to adjust to her surroundings. Working at various organizations has allowed her to identify the best practices in each facility and glean strategies for Highly Reliable Organizations. She loves the unique population she serves and is always seeking opportunities to improve our current system. Tammy considers herself to be a lifelong learner, therefore the VAQS is another method to gain knowledge and enhance her existing skill set. Her research interests include o
ptimizing patient flow throughout the healthcare system and improving patient outcomes through management of chronic illnesses.

Jason Sharpe, PT, PhD
  (VAQS 2020-2022) Dr. Sharpe is a physical therapist health services researcher focused on improving care for patients with musculoskeletal conditions by understanding how patients choose and access the care of physical therapists. By understanding how patients access care with qualitative and quantitative methods, he hopes to better direct physical therapy care to the right patient at the right time. He completed his Doctor of Physical Therapy at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA in 2014 and an Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Residency at Drexel University in 2015. Jason completed his PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Utah in the summer of 2020. Dr. Sharpe is working with Drs. Kelli Allen and Adam Goode to understand how Veteran’s access physical therapy for lower back pain and knee osteoarthritis after referral during his time as VAQS fellow.

Conor Walsh, MD – (VAQS 
2020-2022) Dr. Conor Walsh is an internist and current fellow within the VA Quality Scholar’s program in Durham. He attended medical school at Tufts and completed residency at Rush University Medical Center. His interests include quality improvement, implementation science, and using telehealth to improve access to care for rural and underserved populations. He says the VA Quality Scholars program has been a great match for his interests by allowing him to gain additional skills and experience in quality improvement, implementation science, and healthcare services research and analytics.

Health Services Research Fellows (sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs):


Jessica Ma, MD – (OAA 2019-2021) Jessica Ma, MD is a second year VA Health Services Research and Development fellow at the Durham VA Health System. She graduated from Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and residency training in internal medicine at Barnes Jewish Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine. She was a Chief Resident for Quality and Safety at the John Cochran St Louis VA Health System and completed hospice and palliative medicine fellowship at Duke University. Dr. Ma has an interest in palliative care, predictive analytics, and electronic health record innovation. She has an interest in how predictive analytics facilitate clinical decision making in patients with serious illnesses and clinician perspectives, use, and adoption of advance care planning interventions. As a HSR&D fellow, she is involved in projects examining the use of notifications within the electronic health record to increase advance care planning conversations and the VA Life-Sustaining Treatment Decision Initiative.


Caroline Sloan, MD – (OAA 2019-2021) Dr. Sloan completed her medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania and then came to Duke for her Internal Medicine residency and Chief Residency. She is now a clinical HSR&D fellow at the Durham VA. Dr. Sloan is interested in understanding the role that financial incentives and out-of-pocket costs play in the decisions that organizations, providers and patients make in healthcare.

Kate Sheahan, PhD – (OAA 2020-2022)
Dr. Kate Sheahan joined HSR&D in July, where she’ll be working closely with Drs. Karen Goldstein and Jennifer Gierisch. Her research interests include women’s health, integration and coordination of care, and primary healthcare management. Kate has a solid foundation in quantitative and qualitative methods, grant writing, project management, and learning agenda development. During this fellowship, she plans to build new skills in qualitative and mixed methods research, evidence synthesis, and implementation science while expanding her knowledge of women’s health services delivery. Kate Sheahan completed her PhD in UNC’s Department of Health Policy and Management in 2018. She brings fifteen years of experience as a global health advisor and manager to her new research career. Fun facts: Kate has an identical twin and dreams of owning a Rhodesian Ridgeback!


Julie Schexnayder, DNP, PhD, ACNP-BC – (OAA 2020-2022) Dr. Julie Schexnayder joined HSR&D in November 2020. She completed her clinical doctorate from the University of Virginia (2014) and her research doctorate from Case Western Reserve University (2021). She is an HIV/AIDS certified nurse practitioner and maintains an active clinical practice at the Durham VA. She is an alumna of the VA Quality Scholars Fellowship Program (2015-2018), where she completed advanced training in operational quality improvement and evidence-based practice implementation at the Birmingham and Northeast Ohio VA Healthcare Systems. She is interested in mixed method approaches to support intervention adaptation and implementation, with an overarching goal of improving management of multi-morbid conditions in adults aging with HIV.

National Clinician Scholars Program Fellows:


Gillian Adynski, PhD, RN – (NCSP 2020-2022)
Dr. Gillian Adynski is a first year National Clinician Scholars Program (NCSP) Scholar. Before coming to Duke for the NCSP, she completed her PhD in Nursing at UNC Chapel Hill. She was part of the Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation which is a national program aiming to develop the next generation of nurse scholars early in their career by funding and providing research mentoring starting the junior year of undergraduate nursing education until the end of the PhD. Her primary research interests are the global health nursing workforce and her dissertation focused on nurse staffing, nurses’ attitudes and HIV outcomes in Namibia. To complete her dissertation, she partnered with Chapel Hill based global health organization IntraHealth International. In addition to her research during her PhD, she also completed an internship with the Nursing Now campaign helping to write the report Investing in the Power of Nurse Leadership: What Will It Take? and completed a scholarly concentration at UNC School of Medicine in Clinical Leadership in Quality and Safety. In her free time, she is a competitive fencer, volunteers with UNC’s Fencing Team as a Volunteer Assistant Coach and maintains a clinical position in emergency nursing.

Sallie Allgood, PhD, RN – (NCSP 2019-2021)

Research Focus Area: Examining how the integration of community health workers into primary care systems affects patients’ health outcomes and primary care utilization as well as population level health disparities and chronic disease risks


Marcelo Cerullo, MD, MPH – (NCSP 2019-2021)

Research Focus Area: Investigating lung cancer screening guidelines and surgical referrals, imaging in oncologic decision-making, and insurance market expansion and consolidation



Rachele Lipsky, MSN, PMHNP-BC – (NCSP 2020-2022)

Research Focus Area: Investigating gene-environment interactions that increase one’s susceptibility to psychopathology, and identifying targeted pharmacotherapies to treat such illnesses

Justine Seidenfeld, MD – (NCSP 2020-2022)

Research Focus Area: Identifying and characterizing frequent users of the emergency department, and developing tools to better meet their complex health and health-related social needs in the emergency department setting

Yuqi Zhang, MD – (NCSP 2020-2022)
 Dr. Yuqi Zhang is a first year National Clinician Scholar at Duke and a surgery resident from Yale. She is particularly interested in rural surgical care and exploring surgeon/hospital factors that enable high quality provision of care. She is currently working on a project surrounding rural surgical bypass rates and hopes to tie the findings to policy work that can optimize the rural surgery workforce.