Research seminar: January 27, 2023

Transforming health care for women veterans: embedded research in the VA

January 27, 2023

Elizabeth Yano provides a backdrop on the health and healthcare needs of women Veterans seen in the Veterans Health Administration, the largest integrated healthcare delivery system in the US.

She reviews the development, implementation, and outcomes of transformative research initiatives led by researchers embedded in the system that have had impacts on evidence-based practice, policy, and legislation.


Elizabeth Yano, PhD, MSPH
Elizabeth Yano is an Adjunct Professor of Health Policy & Management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and Director of the VA HSR&D Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation & Policy at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

Trained in health care epidemiology, biostatistics and health policy at UCLA and RAND, she has over 30 years’ experience in health services research and program evaluation.

Yano has received the VA HSR&D Senior Research Career Scientist Award for her research leadership, impacts, mentorship and service (2007-present), the Veterans Health Administration Under Secretary for Health Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Health Services Research (2012), the Breslow Lifetime Achievement Award for the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Alumni Hall of Fame (2017), a Special Recognition Award from Disabled American Veterans for her research impacts on women Veterans’ care (2018), and was named a Woman of Impact in Health Care (2018) (

Yano’s research expertise is in evaluating multilevel factors associated with quality and patient experience as well as the development and testing of evidence-based quality improvement (EBQI) approaches for implementing, tailoring and spreading care models to improve system and practice-level quality and outcomes, with a focus on primary care and women’s health. She has been a national leader in developing the infrastructure, research-clinical partnerships, and research consortium needed to increase the scientific evidence needed to improve care for women Veterans in the VA healthcare system through a national VA Women’s Health Research Network. The Network provides education/training, mentorship, and technical support to increase researcher, clinician and policymaker knowledge and conduct of women Veterans’ research, and includes 60 VA medical centers as members of the Women’s Health Practice-Based Research Network, enabling greater inclusion of women in VA research.

Yano also directs the Women Veterans’ Healthcare CREATE Initiative, a 5-project program designed to use research to accelerate implementation of comprehensive care for women Veterans in VA settings. Within the CREATE, she has led a 12-site cluster randomized trial of an EBQI approach to tailoring medical homes to the needs of women Veterans, and co-led a study of the impacts of variations in comprehensive care on women’s quality of care and patient experience. She also directs the VA Women’s Health Services/Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) Partnered Evaluation Initiative (PEI) focused on evaluating the effectiveness of EBQI for improving comprehensiveness of care in low-performing VA facilities through a 24-site dynamic waitlist control design. She is also a Co-Investigator of the VA Office of Health Equity/QUERI PEI evaluating disparities among Veterans by age, sex, race-ethnicity, urban/rural location, mental health, service-connected disability and sexual minority status.  At UCLA, she teaches Evaluation of Health Services in the Executive MPH Program, where she has been twice awarded Professor of the Year.  She co-directs the VA Women’s Health Fellowship Program and is a Faculty Mentor in the National Clinician Scholars Program, the VA Health Services Research Fellowship Program, and the Los Angeles Area Health Services Research Fellowship Program. She mentors a wide array of VA and UCLA postdoctoral fellows, career development awardees, and other investigators.