The Advisory Board

The Advisory Board, a group of medical, policy, and administrative professionals, offer key insight into veterans’ health care programs. Advisors provide direction to VHPI's fellows and analysts, recommend areas of study, and connect our research team to experts and resources.


H. Westley Clark

Dr. H. Westley Clark is currently the Dean’s Executive Professor of Public Health at Santa Clara University. He is formerly the Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he led the agency’s national effort to provide effective and accessible treatment to all Americans with addictive disorders. Clark was also the former chief of the Associated Substance Abuse Programs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco, California and a former associate clinical professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). Clark served as a senior program consultant to the Robert Wood Johnson, Substance Abuse Policy Program, a co-investigator on a number of the National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded research grants. He worked for Sen. Edward Kennedy (MA) as a health counsel on the U.S. Senate Committee of Labor and Human Resources.

He recently contributed to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Health as a Section Editor for Treatment. He is a member of the National Advisory Council of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the non-profit Felton Institute, a family service agency in San Francisco. He is on the Board of Directors of Faces and Voices of Recovery, a group that advocates for the needs of people in recovery from addiction. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

He has received numerous awards for his contributions to the field of substance abuse treatment, including: the 2015 Lisa Mojer-Torres Award from Faces and Voices of Recovery; the 2015 James Ralph Memorial Award for Outstanding Public Service from the Black Psychiatrist of America; the 2015 Annual Award, American Society of Addiction Medicine; a 2013 Friend of the Field Award from AATOD; a 2013 Life Time Achievement Award, American Public Health Association, ATOD section; the 2013 Public Policy Award, American Society of Addiction Medicine; the 2011 Gold Key Award, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence; a 2008 President Rank of Distinguished Executive Award; and a 2003 President Rank of Meritorious Executive Award in the Senior Executive Service. He was awarded the 2008 John P. McGovern Award from the American Society of Addiction Medicine for his contributions toward increased understanding of the relationship between addiction and society. Other awards include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service; Vernelle Fox Award from the California Society of Addiction Medicine for excellence in Addiction Medicine, Education and Public Service, 2000.

Clark received a B.A. in Chemistry from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan; he holds a Medical Degree and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he completed a Psychiatric Residency at University Hospital, Neuropsychiatric Institute. He obtained his Juris Doctorate from Harvard University Law School and completed a two-year Substance Abuse Fellowship at the DVAMC-SF. Clark received his board certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. He is ABAM certified in Addiction Medicine. Clark is licensed to practice medicine in California, Maryland, Massachusetts and Michigan. He is also a member of the Washington, D.C., Bar.

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Larry Cohen

Larry Cohen currently chairs the board of Our Revolution, the successor organization to Bernie 2016. Cohen served as President of the 600,000 member Communications Workers of America from 2005-2015, and spent nearly all of his adult life as a member, organizer, and officer.

Cohen was the founding chair of Jobs with Justice believing that workersʼ rights is a community issue. Larry was also the founding chair of the Democracy Initiative, a coalition of more than 50 membership organizations working together on voting rights and to get big money out of politics.

Cohen is a member of the Democratic National Committee, and was appointed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) as vice-chair of the Unity Reform Commission whose mandate is to democratize the party structures and presidential nominating process.


Charlene Harrington

Charlene Harrington, Ph.D., RN has been a professor of sociology and nursing at the University of California San Francisco since 1980. She was elected to the American Academy of Nursing and the Institute of Medicine (now the Academies of Medicine). Her research has included designing and managing a model California long-term care consumer information system website (2002-2016); studying state Medicaid home and community-based service programs and policies (1994 to 2016); directing the National Center for Personal Assistance Services (2003-2013), and assisting with a new Community Living Policy Center funding (2013-2017). She has testified before the U.S. Congress on long term care research and policy, written many articles and books on nursing homes and long term care, and lectured widely in the U.S. and internationally.

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Mark Jwayad

Mark Jwayad is a writer and filmmaker living in Los Angeles and working around the world. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Jwayad attended the University of San Francisco and studied Performing Arts & Social Justice. He continued with a Masters in Film Directing from Chapman University. Jwayad spent several years working with actors in the commercial casting world. Today, his work ranges from short-form to film and television development. He writes and directs comedic, dramatic, and documentary content for various brands and non-profits. His work documenting veterans’ stories has led him to a deep concern for veterans’ health care. 


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Charlynn johns

Charlynn Johns is the Executive Director of Sunshine After Rain Ministries, faith-based non-profit founded over 20 years ago. For the past ten years she has worked with military families and veterans, developing a website, Battle Buddy Info, a collection of resources to help veterans find assistance when they need it. She is the advisor to Texas Vets Cares for Health Care, a group of stakeholders, veterans and concerned patriots who are working to ensure veterans know legislative information that will have long-term consequences. She is considered by many to be an expert when it comes to current efforts and issues on privatizing the VA. She was awarded the 2017 Honoree of the Year by Greater Dallas Veterans Council for her work.

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Phil Longman

Phil Longman is a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University and a senior editor at Washington Monthly. He is also the policy director at the Open Markets Institute, where he is currently researching the effects of concentration in health care. Mr. Longman was appointed by Senate President Harry Reid to serve on the Commission on Care, a federal panel charged with creating a strategic plan for the future of veterans’ health care. He has written extensively on VA health care, including his book Best Care Anywhere: Why VA healthcare would be Better for Everyone, now it its third edition. Mr. Longman lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, Sandy, and son, Sam.


Edward Machtinger

Edward Machtinger, M.D., is a Professor of Medicine and Director of the Women’s HIV Program (WHP) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He is a national thought leader and advocate for using trauma-informed approaches to more effectively address complex health and behavioral conditions, and to improve the resiliency and joy of care providers. The specific focus of Dr. Machtinger’s research and innovation has been to develop and evaluate a scalable model of trauma-informed primary care suitable for any population. He has consulted about trauma-informed care for multiple federal agencies and foundations and is currently a consultant for the Substance Use and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), co-authoring federal guidance on trauma-informed primary care. He is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and performed his residency in internal medicine at UCSF.

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Andrew pomerantz

Dr. Andrew Pomerantz is the National Mental Health Director for Integrated Services in the Veterans Health Administration and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He was a primary care physician in Chelsea, Vermont from 1972-1984, prior to training in psychiatry. He joined the White River Junction, Vermont VA and Dartmouth faculty in 1987 and served as the VA Chief of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences from 1992 until 2010 and was Associate Director of Residency Training at Dartmouth for over a decade during that time. During his tenure as service chief, he was widely recognized for many innovations, including provision of mental health care in community-based outpatient clinics in the 1990s, developing partnerships with state and other non-VA agencies, a partnership with the National Guard, telehealth and integrating mental health services into primary care. He has served as a consultant to several Vermont state agencies and projects, including the Robert Wood Johnson Depression in Primary Care project and the Agency of Human Services Trauma initiative. Pomerantz began the White River Junction VA’s first integrated care clinic in 1989 and led the development of a Co-located Collaborative care clinic in 2004. The clinic design has since become the gold standard for integrated care in the VA. With the support of the VA Office of Rural Health, he piloted a telemedicine-based, integrated care program for veterans treated in Community Health Centers in the most rural areas of northern Vermont and New Hampshire. Since beginning his current position in VA Central Office in 2011 he has led the national development and implementation of mental health services in the VA Patient Aligned Care Team (the VA patient centered medical home. More recently he has played a key role in advancing patient centered care, pain management and treatment of substance use disorders in primary care.

Pomerantz was the recipient of the 2005 Gold Achievement Award for innovation from the American Psychiatric Association and the VA 2006 Advanced Clinical Access national champion team award. He has twice been recipient of the Dartmouth Psychiatry Teacher of the Year award. In 2005 he was honored as federal employee and federal manager of the year by the Vermont Federal Executives Association. He is a distinguished life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Outside of his professional life he has served on many community boards and in town government, serving as chair of both the school board and selectboard.

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Joe Ruzek

Dr. Josef Ruzek retired as Director of the VA National Center for PTSD Dissemination and Training Division in April 2018, after helping improve PTSD services in VA for over 26 years. Ruzek is an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Co-Director of the Center for m2 Health at Palo Alto University. He has been a member of the VHA Undersecretary's Special Committee on PTSD and served as psychotherapy champion for the joint VA-DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for Management of Traumatic Stress. He edited several volumes on treatment of PTSD, including Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies for Trauma and Caring for Veterans with Deployment-Related Stress Disorders: Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Ruzek specializes in early intervention to prevent the development of PTSD, dissemination of evidence-based treatments for PTSD, and development and evaluation of internet and smartphone-based interventions for trauma survivors. His team at the National Center for PTSD developed widely used apps for veterans, including PTSD Coach and PTSD Family Coach.

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Dorothy Salmon

Dorothy Salmon known affectionately as “Auntie Dorothy,” is a civic and business leader in Napa County. Salmon was a key fundraiser for Measure A, which brought about a renaissance in Napa County and, in particular, the City of Napa. 

Salmon was the first woman President of the Napa Rotary Club, and a proactive leader during the crucial organizational and developmental phases of The Napa Valley Opera House, the Napa Chamber of Commerce, The Napa Valley Community Foundation, The Napa Valley Expo, If Given A Chance Foundation, The Napa Land Trust, Friends of the River, COPIA, Queen of the Valley Hospital Foundation, Napa County Workforce Investment Board, NapaLearns, and currently, President of the Board of The Pathway Home Inc.

Salmon and her husband, John, host a 150-plus member Napa Valley Leadership Council Informative Lunch Group consisting of a cross-section of Napa Valley business and community leaders. For 22 years, The Council Lunch group has met monthly with the goal of informing and creating common ground regarding major social and economic challenges facing Napa County. 

Salmon hosts a weekly KVON Monday morning radio show, writes Napa County restaurant reviews with her husband for the Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine and makes sure she stays involved in the lives of her ten grandchildren.

Salmon believes in partnerships and community building, bringing people together to create what might seem impossible, possible. Salmon is dedicated to ensuring that our returning veterans to California are truly welcomed home by their communities and The Pathway Home becomes Napa County’s gift and model for how robust partnerships can make that happen with a template for how to do it step-by-step.

Salmon was named Tulare County Woman of the Year, California State Senate in 1988; is the past president of the Napa Rotary Club; Napa Chamber of Citizen of the Year, 2005; Napa Chamber of Commerce North Bay Business Journal’s 2006 Woman of the Year for Economic Development; and Queen of the Valley Hospital’s 2011 President’s Award for Excellence.

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KenNeth w. Watterson

Kenneth W. Watterson joined the United States Marine Corps in January 1965 and took basic training in San Diego, California. After basic training he received orders to Vietnam and arrived there in July 1965. After thirteen months, he was re-assigned to Camp Pendleton, California. Watterson volunteered to go back to Vietnam for his second tour in July 1967. During that time he received wounds on his 21st birthday while out on operations. Again, after 13 months of duty in Vietnam he was assigned back to Camp Pendleton, California.

Watterson has been involved with many different military organizations including eight years serving on the Board of Trustees as National Vice Commandant of the Southern Division of the Marine Corps League. He was awarded National Marine of the Year 2007-2008 from the Marine Corps League and was recipient of the 2007 Presidential Call to Service Award, Life Time Achievement. Watterson served as Vice Chairman of the Texas National Cemetery Foundation for four years and served as the chairman of the All Veterans Faces of Freedom Memorial committee.

Other committees included veterans’ memorials in Kaufman, Terrell and Rockwall, Texas, as well as a memorial statue for the 5th Marine Divison at the Marine Museum at Quantico, Virginia. He is also the Past President of the Fifth Marine Division Association. He is also the Chairman and founder of The Dallas Fort Worth (D/FW) Honor Guard and serves on numerous committees including, but not limited to, the Homeless Veterans Services of Dallas. The D/FW Honor Guard provides funeral honors and transportation of OIF and OEF veterans to area medical centers for rehabilitation appointments. He continually assists combat wounded warriors of Operation Iraq Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, especially those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Trauma Brain Injury (TBI). Watterson also serves as President of Homeless Veterans Services of Dallas and currently chairs the committee for the Veterans Resource Center and the Veterans Homeless Day Center. All of these activities and positions play a significant role in Watterson’s heart and spirit, which is why he dedicates 100 percent to each cause. Ken has been a stakeholder at the Dallas VA Medical Center for the past 10 years, and has been on the Dallas Veterans Day Parade committee for the past 20 years.

Watterson is a life member of the Marine Corps League, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Disabled Veterans of America (DAV), Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), Military Order of the Purple Hearts, AMVETS, 1st Marine Division Association, 3rd Marine Division Association & 5th Marine Division Association.

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Jay YOungdahl

Jay Youngdahl is presently a Visiting Research Scholar at the Murphy Institute at City University of New York (CUNY). Prior to this he was a Fellow at Harvard University in Ethics as well as in Responsible Investment. A lawyer, he is a partner in The Youngdahl Law Firm in Houston, Texas where he represented workers and unions. Youngdahl served with the Third Armored Division in the U.S. Army. He was honorably discharged in 1974 as a Private First Class.