Joel Kupersmith
Learn more about Joel Kupersmith

Joel Kupersmith, MD is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University and the CEO of Kupersmith Associates, a medical research and healthcare consulting firm. Until May 2013, he was the Chief Research and Development Officer of the Veterans Health Administration, where he oversaw the VA’s extensive medical research program for 8 years, the longest tenure ever. He has over 170 publications, including two books, to his name, most recently publishing on health policy issues including comparative effectiveness research, genomic databases and privacy.


Kupersmith is a graduate of New York Medical College and completed a cardiology fellowship at Beth Israel Medical Center/Harvard Medical School. In his vast professional achievements, Dr. Kupersmith was a professor and director of clinical pharmacology at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine; chief of cardiology at the University of Louisville; chair of Michigan State University’s Department of Medicine; and dean of Texas Tech University’s School of Medicine and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the university’s vice president for clinical affairs and CEO of faculty practice. Dr. Kupersmith was a scholar-in-residence at both the Institute of Medicine and the Association of American Medical Colleges. He is is a member of many academic societies including the American Society for Clinical Investigation and is listed in Who’s Who in America and several others.


Under Dr. Kupersmith’s leadership as VA Chief Research and Development Officer, there have been many advances initiatives including been a much enhanced research portfolio especially on issues related to returning Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans; a new major Genomics Program with initiation of The Million Veteran Program mega-database; Central Institutional Review Board; Evidence Synthesis Program; recruitment of an entirely new, accomplished leadership team; development of a sophisticated, rapid response Communications Section for all media; many IT improvements; on line grants submission process; considerably enhanced relationships with stakeholders; a new Health Services Research approach which will considerably enhance translation potential; other innovative, new research methods; many new collaborative efforts with the Department of Defense, NIH and others; many improvements in CSP (clinical trials program) in new research approaches and administration with ISO 9001 registration. In addition, a component of the Office of Research and Development, the Cooperative Studies Program Pharmacy Coordinating Center won a 2010 Presidential Baldrige Award for quality and performance.


Recent Posts by Joel Kupersmith

The VA Post-Scandal: New Law And New Leadership

Editor's note: For more on this topic, see the Health Affairs Blog posts from Theodore Stefos and James Burgess and Jonathan Bush.  In the wake of the recent scandals in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), new leadership was installed with former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald...

Thoughts On The VA Scandal And The Future

For eight years, until May 2013, I directed the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical research program from its Central Office and became familiar with the operations of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). It was my only VA job and I felt honored to be part of the VA’s vital...

Applying Comparative Effectiveness Research To Individuals: Problems And Approaches

A Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) study shows that surgery is better than medical treatment for a particular cardiac condition. My patient is 78 years old and has complicated diabetes. – does the study apply? Another patient 48 years old and otherwise healthy. Does it apply...

October 29, 2013Health IT, Population Health, Quality

The Privacy Conundrum And Genomic Research: Re-Identification And Other Concerns

No matter what the arena -- finance, health care, or national security -- questions surrounding the provision of personal data are always the same: how much benefit vs. how much risk? Who handles these data, and can those individuals be trusted? How do organizations guard against data...

September 11, 2013Public Health

Seven Ways For Health Services Research To Lead Health System Change

With ACA implementation now at hand -- and with it, the formation of accountable care organizations (ACOs) -- health services research (HSR) has an especially important role to play. As ACOs take steps that will substantially change health care delivery, the ability to measure and improve...

May 30, 2013Costs and Spending, Quality

Reforming the Research Regulatory System

There is a growing consensus that the regulatory system for research is in need of reform. Established 21 years ago by the Common Rule, it has functioned via a rigorous environment to assure that risk in research is dealt with and transparency maintained. The trigger for these regulations is...

April 24, 2013Hospitals, Quality

New Approaches To Learning In The Learning Healthcare System

A goal of Twenty-First Century Healthcare is to establish and enhance the Learning Healthcare System (LHS). As discussed in numerous forums, journals, and social media, the LHS is viewed as critical to improving healthcare. Fundamentally, the LHS converts data about care and operations into...

January 14, 2013Health IT, Health Professionals, Hospitals

The Million Veteran Program: Building VA’s Mega-Database for Genomic Medicine

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Watson and Crick (and Wilkins) being named Nobel Prize recipients for discovering DNA, the genetic code. In the half century since, there has been an exponential growth of knowledge and accomplishment based on their findings. More recently, a...

November 19, 2012Health IT