JoAnn Kirchner, M.D.


Director, Mental Health Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (MH QUERI), 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:

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

Recent Publications

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

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/

Kirchner JK, Dollar K, Ritchie MJ, Schohn M: Lessons Learned Through a National Partnership Between Clinical Leaders and Researchers. Psychiatric Services. 2014 January.

Waliski A, Kirchner JE: Joining Forces: Counselors Collaborating to Serve Military Families. Journal of Military and Government Counseling, 2013: 1 (1) 19-25.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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, no. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2753.2010.01518.x

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, 5:63doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-63.

Kirchner JE, Edlund C, Henderson K, Daily L, Parker LE, Fortney JC: Using a multi-level approach to implement PCMH. Families, Systems and Health, Vol. 28, No. 2, 161–174, 2010.

Garner KK, Lefler L, Kirchner JE, Sullivan DH: Surrogate Decision Making: Medical and Legal Implications for Healthcare Providers. Clinical Geriatrics, online July/August 2010.

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.

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,

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.

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.

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.

Sherman MD, Blevins D, Kirchner J, Ridener LC, Jackson, T: Key factors involved in engaging significant others in the treatment of Vietnam veterans with PTSD. Professional Psych: Research and Practice, 39(4), 443-450, 2008.

Kunik ME, Hudson S, Schubert B, Nasrallah H, Kirchner JE, Sullivan G: Growing on our own: A regional approach to encourage psychiatric residents to enter research. Academic Psychiatry, 32(3), 236-240, 2008.

Kirchner JE, Owen RR, Dockter NE, Kramer TL, Henderson K, Armitage T, Allee E: Equity in veterans’ mental health care: Veterans Affairs Medical Center Clinics vs. Community-Based Outpatient Clinics. American Journal of Medical Quality, 23(2), 128-135, 2008.

Zanjani F, Mavandadi S, TenHave T, Katz I, Durai NB, Krahn D, Llorente M, Kirchner J, Olsen E, Van Stone W, Cooley S, Oslin DW: Longitudinal course of substance treatment benefits in older male veteran at-risk drinkers. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences, 63A(1), 98-106, 2008.

McIntyre J, Cheal K, Bartels S, Durai UN, McDonel Herr B, Ouijano L, Llorente M, Ware JH, Costantino G, Miller C, Kirchner JE, Levkoff SE: Anxiety and Depressive Disorders in Older Primary Care Patients: Defining a Clinical Severity Gradient Corresponding to Differences in Health Status, Functioning, and Health Service Use. Aging International. Published online 06/27/2008.

Curran GM, Booth BM, Kirchner JE, Deneke DE: Recognition and management of depression in a substance use disorder treatment population. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 33, 563-569, 2007.

Campbell DG, Felker BL, Liu CF, Yano EM, Kirchner JE, Chan D, Bonner LM, Rubenstein LV, Chaney EF: Prevalence of depression-PTSD comorbidity: Implications for clinical practice guidelines and primary care-based interventions. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 22(6), 711-718, 2007.

Fickel JJ, Parker LE, Kirchner JE, Yano EM: Primary care-mental health collaboration: Usual practice and potential barriers. Journal of Interprofessional Care, 21(2), 207-216, 2007.

Kirchner JE, Zubritsky C, Cody M, Coakley E, Chen H, Ware J, Sanchez HA, Durai UN, Miles KM, Llorente MD, Oslin DW, Costantino G, Levkoff S: Alcohol consumption among older adults in primary care. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 22(1), 92-97, 2007.

Mavandadi S, Ten Have TR, Katz IR, Durai UNB, Krahn DD, Llorente MD, Kirchner JE, Olsen E J, Van Stone WW, Cooley SL: The effect of treatment on depressive symptoms in older adulthood: The moderating role of pain. Journal of the American Geriatric Society, 55(2), 202-211, 2007.

Kirchner JE, Rule C, Bennett LA, Kramer TL: Blending education, research and service missions: The Arkansas Behavioral Health Model. Academic Medicine, 82(1), 107-112, 2007.

Booth BM, Kirchner JE, Fortney SM, Han X, Thrush CR, French MT: Measuring use of health services for at-risk drinkers: How brief can you get? Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, 33(2), 254-264, 2006.

Kilbourne AM, Pincus HA, Schutte K, Kirchner JE, Haas GL, Yano EM: Management of mental disorders in VA primary care practices. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 33(2), 208-214, 2006.

Sullivan G, Duan N, Mukherjee S, Kirchner J, Perry D, Henderson KL: The role of services researchers in facilitating intervention research. Psychiatric Services, 56(5), 537-542, 2005.

Nietert PJ, French MT, Kirchner JE, Han X, Booth BM: Health services utilization and cost for at-risk drinkers: Rural and urban comparisons. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 65, 353-362, 2004.

Kirchner JE, Curran GM, Aikens J: Datapoints: Detecting of depression in VA primary care clinics. Psychiatric Services, 55(4), 350, 2004.

Kirchner JE, Cody M, Thrush CR, Sullivan G, Rapp CG: Identifying factors critical to implementation of integrated mental health services in rural VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinics. Journal of Behavioral Health Services Research, 31(1), 13-25, 2004.