Aram Dobalian, PhD, MPH, JD
Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC)
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Aram Dobalian is the founding and current Director of VEMEC, the only national center within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) devoted to the study of cutting-edge operations and policy questions that support VA’s public health preparedness and response (PHPR) responsibilities – to ensure timely access to high-quality care for veterans during disasters, and to support non-VA emergency management and homeland security efforts. As the Director, Dr. Dobalian oversees all of the Center’s activities, including its applied research, evaluation, and education projects.
Since 2003, his research has focused on PHPR, including the development of inpatient and outpatient quality and performance metrics in emergency management; he has led numerous projects on community health resilience, crisis leadership, facility evacuation, workforce readiness and training, and behavioral health, among other areas. In 2008, he obtained support from senior VA leaders to develop a strategic plan that would position the VA as a national leader in disaster research by having VA serve as a “laboratory” for developing evidence-based emergency management practices that would benefit both VA and the Nation.
He also led the National Program Evaluation of the VA Nursing Academy (VANA), a 5‐year, $60 million program consisting of partnerships between 18 VA medical centers and 16 nursing schools. The primary purpose of VANA, now named VA Nursing Academic Partnerships, was to promote innovations in nursing education, practice, and research through academic-practice partnerships. This project was also supported by funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) for the national “Conference on Enhancing Nursing Undergraduate Teaching and Learning in the Clinical Setting: What do we know and how do we move forward?”
As of 2016, he has served as PI or co-PI on grants totaling more than $17 million from AHRQ, HRSA, RWJF, VA, and others, has chaired multiple national conferences on emergency management, and was the guest editor for a special issue of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness that commemorated the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. He is a member of the “Standing Committee on Medical and Public Health Research During Large-Scale Emergency Events” of the Health and Medicine Division (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Dr. Dobalian received his Ph.D. in Health Services Research from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Fielding School of Public Health, and his J.D. from Whittier Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Whittier Law Review. He received his M.P.H. from UCLA, and his B.S. in Physics from Vanderbilt University. He is an Adjunct Professor in both the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Department of Health Policy and Management, and the UCLA School of Nursing. He currently teaches courses on health systems and health policy at UCLA. He is also a member of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, the Upsilon Phi Delta National Academic Honor Society in Healthcare Administration, and the State Bar of California. He has authored more than 75 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and reports.