National Capital Region Research Coordinator/Administrator
Ms. Kia Brooks is the contract National Capital Region Research Coordinator/Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the Audiology and Speech Pathology Center (ASPC). Ms. Brooks oversees research activities for the ASPC including, but not limited to, tracking projects, protocol implementation, assisting with collaborative efforts, marketing, grant proposal submission assistance, research portfolio management, and regulatory oversight.
Ms. Brooks received her Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology and Physiology from the University of Maryland. After transitioning from the laboratory as a Molecular Biologist, Ms. Brooks moved to New York City where she spent nine years managing research projects. She is currently seeking a Master of Science degree in Clinical Trial Sciences at Rutgers University.
Kari Buchanan, MA, MPH
Ms. Kari Buchanan is the contract Program Manager for Auditory Fitness for Duty for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence and liaison to the Office of Naval Research Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Program. In this position, Ms. Buchanan manages the programs and projects supporting the Auditory Fitness for Duty work stream, including coordinating the AFFD Working Group and efforts to develop a standard assessment method for auditory situation awareness factors with hearing protective devices, conducting research related to AFFD, and working with DoD and service representatives.
Ms. Buchanan is a retired Navy Industrial Hygiene Officer with 20 years of active duty military experience. During her varied career, Ms. Buchanan served aboard two hospitals, a submarine tender, and an aircraft carrier, and with a Marine Wing, and an environmental and preventive medicine unit. She was a staff officer on the Chief of Naval Operations staff and the Navy Warfare Development Command. In addition, she was the first Navy Medical Service Corps fellow concentrating on chemical, biological, and radiological defense. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Medical Technology from the University of Connecticut, a Masters of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences from Columbia University, and a Masters of Art in National Security and Strategy from the Naval War College.
Elsa Camou, MPH
Regional Research Coordinator
Ms. Elsa Camou currently serves as a contract Regional Research Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. In this position, Ms. Camou supports grantsmanship activities, quality and process improvement initiatives, proper implementation of research-related operating policies and procedures, and coordination of research protocols and outreach activities.
Ms. Camou began her military research support career in 2007 as a Behavioral Research Assistant at the 711th Human Performance Wing at Brooks Air Force Base, Texas. In 2009, Ms. Camou became a Project Director at Brooke Army Medical Center, in the Center for Nursing Science and Clinical Research. During her time at BAMC, Ms. Camou worked on a variety of research studies ranging from nanotechnology to smoking cessation. After completing a Master’s in Public Health in 2012 at the University of the Texas School of Public Health San Antonio Regional Campus, Ms. Camou became a Regional Research Administrator at HCE.
Kathryn E. Marshall, PHD
Pacific Northwest Regional Clinical Research Coordinator/Administrator
Dr. Kathryn Marshall is the contract Pacific Northwest Regional Clinical Research Coordinator/Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence positioned at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. In this position, Dr. Marshall serves as the point of contact for HCE to implement research objectives out to the Pacific Northwest research facilities. In addition, she heads the research program for the ENT and Audiology clinic at MAMC where she manages the pre- and post-award administration for sponsored programs and internal DoD projects.
In 2009, Dr. Marshall completed her PhD in the Cell Biology, Neurobiology, and Anatomy at the Medical College of Wisconsin specializing in Developmental and Molecular Biology. She went on to complete her post-doctoral fellowship with the Department of Energy at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory where she specialized in developing biosensors to detect explosives in marine environments. With her strong background in biomedical research, Dr. Marshall aids in advancing the research objectives at MAMC and the Pacific Northwest region.
Sara Murphy, MPH
Pacific Southwest Regional Clinical Research Coordinator/Administrator
Mrs. Sara Murphy serves as a contract Regional Research Coordinator/Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence. Mrs. Murphy facilitates auditory and vestibular research collaborations in the Pacific Southwest, including grantsmanship activities, protocol development, and study oversight. She oversees a robust clinical research program at Naval Medical Center San Diego, as well as facilitating research in the region.
With a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of San Diego, Mrs. Murphy began her research career with Veteran’s Medical Research Foundation. There she served as a Research Associate on a prospective study examining the psychological, social, and genetic factors related to alcohol dependence. In 2009, she took on the position of Project Coordinator for a related collaborative study investigating the genetics of alcoholism.
After completing a Master of Public Health with a focus in Health Promotion from San Diego State University in 2010, Mrs. Murphy transitioned into the private sector as a Clinical Research Coordinator of pharmaceutical interventions for a wide variety of central nervous system disorders. In 2012, Mrs. Murphy assumed the position of Research Administrator for HCE.
Greg Schmidt, CMSGT (RET)
Senior Program Manager, PMP
Southeast Regional Research Coordinator/Administrator
Mr. JR Stefanson is the contract Southeast Regional Research Coordinator/Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence, as well as an Associate Investigator for the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory. Mr. Stefanson serves as HCE’s administrative contact for coordination and collaboration initiatives concerning auditory and vestibular projects for DoD within the Southeastern US. He also serves as an administrative lead for the Pharmaceutical Interventions for Hearing Loss working group, and is a member of a number of DoD working groups including the Collaborative Auditory and Vestibular Research Network Allied Neurosensory Warrior Related Research working group, and the Auditory Fitness for Duty working group.
While serving the HCE’s mission, he also serves the Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory’s mission by developing and conducting studies in the areas of auditory protection, hearing protection device attenuation analyses in field and laboratory environments, hearing conservation, and auditory localization and situational awareness. Mr. Stefanson recently took on the role of Research Program Coordinator for the USAARL Auditory Protection and Performance Division, in which he works closely with the division director to assist in the project management of all ongoing studies for the division.
Prior to working for HCE, Mr. Stefanson worked as a contract research investigator for General Dynamics Information Technology at the Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory.
Victoria Tepe, PHD
Dr. Victoria Tepe
supports the Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence as its contract
Neuroscientist to advance scientific and technical objectives in the clinical
care and prevention of hearing and balance injuries. Dr. Tepe works closely
with interdisciplinary teams on various projects, facilitates coordination with
other agencies, and supports the development of high-quality knowledge products
to address critical knowledge gaps and problems in hearing, balance, and
neurosensory function that challenge health and performance in military
Dr. Tepe has over 30 years of experience in academic, medical,
and military research settings. She holds a PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience from
Northwestern University. Dr. Tepe began her career in military medicine as a
graduate research fellow at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine,
and performed her postdoctoral research as a National Research Council fellow
at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. Prior to joining the Hearing Center,
Dr. Tepe led projects in support of numerous other military medical programs
and agencies, including the U.S. Army Military Operational Medicine Research
Program, the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, and the
Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain
Dr. Tepe’s published works address problems in cognitive
psychophysiology, human factors, stress and resilience, human performance, and
traumatic brain injury. Dr. Tepe has edited several books, including A
Warrior’s Guide to Psychology and Performance (Potomac Books, 2010). She is
also interested in military women’s health concerns, including brain and
Quintin Hecht, AUD
Dr. Quintin Hecht is a Research Audiologist for the Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence. He is currently leading the Characterization of Acute or Short-term-acquired Military Population Auditory Shifts (CHASMPAS) research program in partnership with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Lincoln Labs (MIT-LL). Previously, he served as a research audiologist for “The Noise Study” at Joint-Base San Antonio, in collaboration with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research (NCRAR). Dr. Hecht also reviews, composes and consults research protocols for future studies alongside our research coordinators and collaborating organizations.
Dr. Hecht earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Disorders as well as a Clinical Doctorate Degree in Audiology from Illinois State University. He is a graduate of the San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium and has served as a staff audiologist and as the Chief of Audiology Services during his assignment at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Lackland AFB, TX. Immediately preceding his work at the Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence, Dr. Hecht served as the Air Force Hearing Conservation Program Manager, located at USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. Currently, Dr. Hecht is an audiologist (72C) for the U.S. Army Reserve.
Dr. Hecht is a licensed and board certified audiologist as well as a CAOHC certified Course Director and Professional Supervisor of the Audiometric Monitoring Program. He has presented at numerous professional conferences and meetings, to include AMSUS, NHCA, JDVAC and CAVRN. Dr. Hecht’s research interests include noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus, ototoxicity, musician hearing care and hearing protection device fit-testing.
Natasha Gorrell, MSPH, CPH
Ms. Natasha Gorrell serves as a contract Research Administrator for the Hearing Center of Excellence at Joint Base San Antonio Lackland, Texas. Ms. Gorrell provides research project management to various ongoing studies, administrates the Collaborative Auditory/Vestibular Research Network, and provides general research and scientific inputs.
Ms. Gorrell earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from Rice University, and a Master of Science in Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Gorrell has twelve years’ experience working in the research field, in topics including cytogenetics, protein engineering, cell biology, vaccines, occupational epidemiology, and health communication and injury prevention.
Nina Pryor, AuD
Dr. Nina Pryor is a contract Regional Research Coordinator/Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence. Located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, Dr. Pryor serves the North Central region of the United States. She facilitates collaborations between DoD, VA, academic, and industry researchers; provides general administrative support for the HCE; and assists with research efforts at the Air Force Research Laboratory under the 711th Human Performance Wing as a Research Audiologist for the Battlespace Acoustics Branch.
Dr. Pryor earned a Doctor of Audiology degree from the University of Utah and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Toledo. Prior to joining the HCE, she was a Doctoral Fellow at the Dayton VAMC in Dayton, Ohio.
Veotria “Veda” Byrd
Ms. Veotria “Veda” Byrd serves as a contract Project Director and provides support for Hearing Fitness for Duty (FFD) developments at the Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence (DoD HCE) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC).
She has over 12 years’ experience in research, and has worked in various healthcare and academia environments. She has worked in several research disciplines and capacities to include oncology, occupational health, general surgery, anesthesiology, pain medicine, substance abuse, and education. Assignments were with Georgetown University Medical Center Lombardi Cancer Center (Washington, DC), Washington Occupational Health Associates (Washington, DC), Westat (in support of) The National Cancer Institute and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Rockville, MD and Hampton Roads, VA), The Geneva Foundation (Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Portsmouth, VA), Duke University Medical Center, and the Durham VA Medical Center (Durham, NC).
Ms. Byrd graduated from Columbia Union College where she earned a B.S. in Healthcare Administration. She earned her Master’s in Public Health from Walden University and is currently completing dissertation requirements for her PhD in Public Health/Epidemiology
Dr. Julieta Scalo is a Biostatistician for the
Hearing Center of Excellence, providing research support that includes study
design, statistical analysis, and interpretation of findings. Dr. Scalo
received a PhD in Translational Science, with a focus on pharmacoeconomics and
pharmacoepidemiology, as well as a doctorate in Pharmacy (PharmD) from The
University of Texas at Austin. Her research experience includes healthcare
economics, health technology assessment, epidemiology, and evaluation of
patient-reported outcomes and survey data. Prior to joining the Hearing Center
of Excellence, Dr. Scalo’s research focused on pharmaceutical interventions for
Erin Cesario serves as a contract Regional Research Coordinator/Administrator for the Defense Hearing Center of Excellence (HCE) Headquarters at Lackland Air Force Base, TX. In this position, Ms. Cesario supports grantsmanship activities, quality and process improvement initiatives, proper implementation of research-related operating policies and procedures, and coordination of research protocols and outreach activities.
Ms. Cesario started working with the HCE in 2015 at Naval Medical Center, San Diego as a Research Coordinator and has since transitioned into her current role after moving to Texas in 2018. Ms. Cesario began her research career in 2008 at the VA Hospital in La Jolla, CA, working for the University of California, San Diego's Psychiatry Department. as a Research Associate and eventual Project Coordinator of studies assessing the genetics of alcoholism and other substance use disorders. She progressed to Military Research in 2012 and has coordinated studies with Anesthesiology/Pain Medicine, the Wounded Warriors, Physical Therapy, and since 2015, Otolaryngology and the HCE.
Nicole Larionova serves as a contract Research Assistant
for the Hearing Center of Excellence (HCE) at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. She currently supports a number of HCE studies by recruiting,
enrolling, and coordinating the participation of research subjects at
BAMC and WHASC sites.
Mrs. Larionova has worked with the HCE since 2017. She began her research career in Behavioral Pharmacology at the UT Health
Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) where she conducted experiments and
trained and supervised fellow research staff, graduate students, and
postdoctoral fellows. Mrs. Larionova also worked with UTHSCSA's department of Lab
Animal Resources where she reviewed study protocols and procedures to
ensure proper adherence to IACUC and AAALAC standards, before joining the HCE
where she now utilizes her six years of combined pre-clinical and clinical
research experience to assist and coordinate hearing research.
Suheily M. Valderrama, MPH
Regional Research Administrator
Ms. Suheily Valderrama serves as a contract Research
Administrator for the Hearing Center of Excellence at Joint Base San Antonio
Lackland, Texas. Ms. Valderrama supports quality and process improvement
initiatives, proper implementation of research-related operating policies and
procedures, and coordination of research protocols and outreach
Ms. Valderrama earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
from the University of Texas at San Antonio, a Master of Philosophy in Health
Psychology degree from Walden University, and is currently a PhD Candidate
completing dissertation requirements for her Doctorate of Philosophy
in Health Psychology. Ms. Valderrama has five years' experience
working in the military medical field, three of which are research
specific, in topics including psychology, neuropsychology, health psychology,
trauma, burn, emergency medicine, epidemiology, and rehabilitation.