Dr. Aram Dobalian is the founding Director of the Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC) in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Public Health. VEMEC's work focuses on cutting-edge policy and operations questions that support VA's public health preparedness and response responsibilities—to ensure continuity of Veterans care during emergencies and disasters, and to support national, state, and local emergency management, public health, safety, and homeland security efforts. As the Director, he oversees all of the Center's activities, including its applied research and evaluation projects. These projects are designed to build an evidence-base to improve both VA's and the Nation's readiness.
Since 2003, his research has focused on public health preparedness and response, including projects on behavioral health, community health resilience, leadership decision making, health care facility evacuation, workforce readiness, critical infrastructure, and the development of performance metrics. In 2008, he set forth a strategic plan to position the VA as a national leader in disaster research by having VA serve as a "laboratory" for developing evidence-based emergency management practices. He brought together researchers, emergency management practitioners, clinicians, and academicians to identify strategic priorities for the first national VA research agenda and propose options for building disaster research capacity within the VA. This work ultimately led to the founding of VEMEC in July 2010.
Dr. Dobalian is a member of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, the Upsilon Phi Delta National Academic Honor Society in Healthcare Administration, and the State Bar of California. He received his Ph.D. in Health Services Research from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Fielding School of Public Health, and his J.D. from Whittier Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Whittier Law Review. He received his M.P.H. from UCLA, and his B.S. in Physics from Vanderbilt University. He holds academic appointments in the UCLA Schools of Public Health and Nursing. He has authored more than 60 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and reports.