JoAnn Kirchner, M.D.



Principal Investigator, Quality Enhancement Research Initiative for Team-Based Behavioral Health, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System (CAVHS)
Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)
Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, College of Public Health, UAMS
Research Associate, HSR&D Center for Mental Healthcare & Outcomes Research (CeMHOR)
Affiliate Investigator, VA South Central Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC)


VA Phone: (501) 257-1719
UAMS email:
VA email:

Research Expertise

Dr. Kirchner is a psychiatrist whose research focuses on the implementation of evidence-based practices into routine clinical settings. The daughter of a highly decorated WWII veteran, over the past several years she has concentrated her research activities on the improvement of care for veterans, specifically those returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Her work blending clinical and research activities as the VA South Central MIRECC Associate Director, where she served as the MIRECC liaison on the Network’s Mental Health Advisory Council (MH PLAC) as well as the leader of network-wide clinical initiatives, allowed her to develop innovative implementation interventions which she evaluates in implementation research studies.

Dr. Kirchner directs the Mental Health Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (MH QUERI). The Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) is a quality improvement program that has become a central component of VA’s commitment to improving the quality of Veterans’ healthcare. Created in 1998, QUERI utilizes a six-step process to diagnose gaps in performance and to identify and implement interventions. QUERI researchers strive to improve healthcare for Veterans by studying and facilitating the adoption of new treatments, tests, and models of care into routine clinical practice.

QUERI focuses on diseases and conditions that are common among Veterans and that place a high burden on patients, family members, and the VA healthcare system (i.e., high cost and resource utilization).

Research Interests: implementation science research, primary care mental health, quality improvement, depression, alcohol use disorders, OEF/OIF veterans, rural health, and clinical-research partnerships

 Recent Publications

Current publications, 2009-2016

  1. Bauer MS, Miller C, Kim B, Lew R, Weaver K, Coldwell C, Henderson K, Holmes S, Nealon Seibert M, Stolzmann K, Elwy R, Kirchner J. Partnering with Health Systems Operations Leadership to Develop a Controlled Implementation Trial. Implementation Science 2016, 11:22 doi: 10.1186/s13012-016-0385-7
  1. Waliski A, Matthieu MM, Townsend JC, Castro M, *Kirchner J. Training as a Recruitment Strategy for Building Military and Community Partnerships with Faith-Based Organizations: The Partners in Care Program. Journal of Military and Government Counseling. (in press)
  1. Matthieu MM, Hart N, Larkin-Perkins B, Pitcock JA, Henderson KL, Swensen AB, *Kirchner JE: Stakeholder Council: How to Involve Veterans and Partners in Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services Research in VA. Military Behavioral Health, doi:10.1080/21635781.2015.1093975
  1. Waltz TJ, Powell BJ, Matthieu MM, Damschroder LJ, Chinman MJ, Smith JS, Proctor EK, *Kirchner JE. Use of concept mapping to characterize relationships among implementation strategies and assess their feasibility and importance: Results from the Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change (ERIC) study. Implementation Science 2015 Aug 7;10:109. doi: 10.1186/s13012-015-0295-0
  1. Garner KK, Lefler LL, McSweeney JC, Dubbert PM, Sullivan DH, *Kirchner JE. Hospital Executives’ Perceptions of End-of-Life. Sage, April – June 2015; 1-6. doi: 10.1177/2158244015590610
  1. Powell BJ, Waltz TJ, Chiman MJ, Damschroder LJ, Smith JL, Matthieu MM, Proctor EK, *Kirchner JE. “A refined compilation of implementation strategies: Results from the expert recommendations for implementing change (ERIC) project.” Implementation Science, 2015 Feb 12;10:21. doi: 10.1186/s13012-015-0209-1
  1. Kirchner JE, Ritchie MJ, Pitcock JA, Parker LE, Curran GM, Fortney JC. “Outcomes of a Partnered Facilitation Strategy to Implement Primary Care–Mental Health.” Journal of General Internal Medicine, 30 Oct 2014. doi:10.1007/s11606-014-3027-2
  1. Kilbourne AM, Almirall D, Eisenberg D, Waxmonsky J, Goodrich DE, Fortney JC, Kirchner JE, Solberg LI, Main D, Bauer MS, Kyle J, Murphy SA, Nord KM, Thomas MR. Protocol: Adaptive Implementation of Effective Programs (ADEPT): Cluster Randomized SMART Trial Comparing a Standard Versus Enhanced Implementation Strategy to Improve Update and Outcomes of a Mood Disorders Program. Implementation Science 2014, 9:132 doi:10.1186/s13012-014-0132-x.
  1. Waltz TJ, Campbell DG, *Kirchner JE, Lombardero A, Bolkan C, Zivin K, Lanto A, Chaney EF, Rubenstein LV. “Veterans with depression in primary care: provider preferences, matching, and care satisfaction.” Family, Systems, & Health. 05 June 2014.
  1. Waltz TJ, Powell BJ, Chinman MJ, Smith JL, Matthieu MM, Proctor EK, Damschroder LJ, *Kirchner JE. “Expert recommendations for implementing change (ERIC): protocol for a mixed methods study.” Implementation Science, 2014 Mar 26; 9(1):39.
  1. Ritchie, MJ, Dollar, KM, Kearney, LK, Kirchner, JE. “Research and Services Partnerships: Responding to Needs of Clinical Operations Partners: Transferring Implementation Facilitation Knowledge and Skills.” Psychiatric Services doi:10.1176/
  1. Kirchner JK, Dollar K, Ritchie MJ, Schohn M: Lessons Learned Through a National Partnership Between Clinical Leaders and Researchers. Psychiatric Services. 2014 January.
  1. Waliski A, *Kirchner JE: Joining Forces: Counselors Collaborating to Serve Military Families. Journal of Military and Government Counseling, 2013: 1 (1) 19-25.
  1. Garner K, Dennis R, Lefler L, Padala P, Padala K, Dubbert P, Bopp M, Sullivan DH, *Kirchner J: Opt-out as a recruitment method of enhancing participation in research with chronically and seriously ill patients. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management. 2013 February. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2012.10.141
  1. Waliski A, *Kirchner JE, Shue VM, Bokony PA: Psychological Traumas of War: Training School Counselors as Home-Front Responders, The Journal of Rural Health, 2012 Fall; 28(4):348-55. PMID 23083081
  1. Ford JH, Krahn D, Oliver K, Kirchner J: Sustainability in Primary Care and Mental Health Integration Projects in Veterans Health Administration, Quality Management in Health Care, 2012 Oct-Dec;21(4):240-5. PMID 23011071
  1. Waliski A, Bokony PA, Edlund C, *Kirchner, JE: Combat Related Parental Deployment: Identifying the impact on Families with Preschool-age Children, Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 22 (6):653-670, 2012.
  1. Garner, KK, Goodwin JA, McSweeney JC, *Kirchner JE: Nurse Executives Perceptions of End-of-Life Care Provided in Hospitals. J Pain Sympt Manage, 2012 Aug 24 [Epub ahead of print]. PMID 22926091
  1. Garner KK, Henager AA, *Kirchner JE, Sullivan DH: The Elephant in the Room: Facilitating Communication at the End of Life. Family Medicine 2011: 43 (4): 277-278.
  1. Durai N, Chopra M, Coakley E, Llorente MD, Kirchner JE, Cook, JM, Levkoff, S: Exposure to Trauma and PTSD Symptoms in Older Veterans Attending Primary Care: Co-morbid Conditions and Self-Rated Health Status, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
  1. Kirchner JE, Farmer M, Shue V, Blevins D, Sullivan G: Partnering with Communities to Address the Mental Health Needs of Rural Veterans. Journal of Rural Health, 11 Feb 2011,  DOI: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2011.00362.x.
  1. Tai-Seale M, Kunik M, Kirchner JE, Shepherd A, Gottumukkala A: A Case Study of Early Experience with Implementation of Collaborative Care in the VA. Population Health Management 2010 Dec; 13(6): 331-7.
  1. Blevins D, Farmer MS, Edlund C, Sullivan G, Kirchner JE: Collaborative Research between Clinicians and Researchers: Barriers and Facilitators in the Clinical Partnership Program. Implementation Science 2010, 5:77 (14 October 2010).
  1. Kirchner JE, Parker LE, Bonner LM, Fickel JJ, Yano EM, Ritchie MJ:  Roles of managers, frontline staff, and local champions in implementing quality improvement:  Stakeholders’ perspectives. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2753.2010.01518.x
  1. Bonner LM, Simons CE, Parker LE, Yano EM, Kirchner JE: To take care of the patients: Qualitative Analysis of Veterans Health Administration personnel experiences with a clinical informatics system.  Implementation Science 2010, 5:63 doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-63.
  1. Kirchner JE, Edlund C, Henderson K, Daily L, Parker LE, Fortney JC:  Using a multi-level approach to implement PCMH. Families, Systems and Health, 28, No. 2, 161–174, 2010.
  1. Garner KK, Lefler L, *Kirchner JE, Sullivan DH: Surrogate Decision Making: Medical and Legal Implications for Healthcare Providers. Clinical Geriatrics, online July/August 2010.
  1. Parker LE, Ritchie MJ, Kirchner JE, Owen RR:  Balancing health care evidence and art to meet clinical needs: Policy makers’ perspectives.  Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 15(6), 972-975, 2009.
  1. Luck J, Hagigi FA, Parker LE, Yano EM, Kirchner JE:  A social marketing approach to implementing evidence-based practice:  The TIDES Depression Collaborative Care Model in the Veterans Health Administration Quality Enhancement Research Initiative.  Implementation Science, 4:64, 2009,
  1. Schutte K, Yano EM, Kilbourne AM, Wickrama B, Kirchner JE, Humphreys K:  Organizational context of primary care approaches for managing problem drinking.  Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 36(4), 435-445, 2009.
  1. Liu CF, Rubenstein L, Kirchner JE, Fortney, J, Perkins M, Ober S, Pyne J, Chaney E:  Organizational Cost of Quality Improvement for Depression Care. Health Services Research, 44(1), 225-244, 2009.
  1. Parker LE, Kirchner JE, Bonner LM, Yano EM, Fickel JJ, Ritchie MJ, Simons CE. Creating a quality improvement dialogue: Utilizing knowledge from frontline staff, managers, and experts to foster health care quality improvement. Qualitative Health Research, 19(2), 229-242, 2009.