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Aram Dobalian

Adjunct Professor


DepartmentsType of Faculty
Health Policy and ManagementPart Time
Contact Information
818.891.7711, ext 7182
Areas of Interest: 
  • Public Health Preparedness and Response
  • Advance Care Planning
  • Nursing Education       

Dr. Aram Dobalian is the founding Director of the Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC), the only national center within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) devoted to the study of cutting-edge operations and policy questions that support VA’s public health preparedness and response responsibilities – to ensure timely access to high-quality care for veterans during disasters, and to support non-VA emergency management and homeland security efforts. As VEMEC's Director, he oversees all of its activities, including its applied research and evaluation projects. VEMEC is based at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.

Since 2003, his research has focused on public health preparedness and response, including the development of performance metrics, community resilience, crisis leadership, facility evacuation and sheltering, workforce readiness and training, and behavioral health. In 2008, he obtained support from senior VA leaders to develop a strategic plan that would position the VA as a national leader in disaster research by having VA serve as a “laboratory” for developing evidence-based emergency management practices that would benefit both VA and the Nation.

He also led the National Program Evaluation of the VA Nursing Academy (VANA), a 5‐year, $60 million program consisting of partnerships between 18 VA facilities and 16 nursing schools. The purpose of VANA, now expanded and renamed the VA Nursing Academic Partnerships (VANAP) program, was to: (1) expand faculty and professional development; (2) increase nursing student enrollment; (3) provide opportunities for educational and practice innovations; and (4) increase recruitment and retention of VA nurses as a result of enhanced roles in nursing education. This project was also supported by funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the national “Conference on Enhancing Nursing Undergraduate Teaching and Learning in the Clinical Setting: What do we know and how do we move forward?”

As of 2016, he has served as PI or co-PI on grants currently totaling more than $17 million. He was the guest editor for a special issue of Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness that commemorated the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. He 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 currently teaches courses on health systems and health policy at UCLA, where he is an Adjunct Professor of Health Policy and Management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and at the UCLA School of Nursing. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine's Standing Committee on Medical and Public Health Research During Large-Scale Emergency Events.

PhD, MPH, University of California, Los Angeles
JD, Whittier Law School
BS, Vanderbilt University
Selected Publications: 
  • Wyte-Lake T, Tran K, Bowman CC, Needleman J, Dobalian A. A Systematic Review of Strategies to Address the Clinical Nursing Faculty Shortage. J Nurs Educ. 2013 Feb 13:1-8. doi: 10.3928/01484834-20130213-02. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Heslin KC, Riopelle D, Gin JL, Ordunez J, Naranjo DE, Dobalian A. Confidence in the Fairness of Local Public Health Systems' Response to Disasters: The US Veterans' Perspective. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2012 Nov 28. [Epub ahead of print]
  • Dobalian A, Stein JA, Heslin KC, Riopelle D, Venkatesh B, Lanto AB, Simon B, Yano EM, Rubenstein LV. Impact of the Northridge earthquake on the mental health of veterans: results from a panel study. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2011 Sep;5 Suppl 2:S220-6. doi: 10.1001/dmp.2011.60.
  • Dobalian A, Callis R, Davey VJ. Evolution of the Veterans Health Administration's role in emergency management since September 11, 2001. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2011 Sep;5 Suppl 2:S182-4. doi: 10.1001/dmp.2011.61.
  • Subbarao I, Dobalian A, James JJ. Reflections on the discipline and profession of disaster medicine and public health preparedness. Disaster Med Public Health Prep. 2011 Sep;5 Suppl 2:S168-9. doi: 10.1001/dmp.2011.55.
  • Bowman CC, Johnson L, Cox M, Rick C, Dougherty M, Alt-White AC, Wyte T, Needleman J, Dobalian A. The Department of Veterans Affairs Nursing Academy (VANA): forging strategic alliances with schools of nursing to address nursing's workforce needs. Nurs Outlook. 2011 Nov-Dec;59(6):299-307. doi: 10.1016/j.outlook.2011.04.006.
  • Dobalian A, Claver ML, Pevnick JM, Stutman HR, Tomines A, Fu P Jr. Organizational challenges in developing one of the Nationwide Health Information Network trial implementation awardees. J Med Syst. 2012 Apr;36(2):933-40. doi: 10.1007/s10916-010-9557-1. Epub 2010 Jul 20.
  • Dobalian A, Claver M, Fickel JJ. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the Department of Veterans Affairs: a conceptual model for understanding the evacuation of nursing homes. Gerontology. 2010;56(6):581-8. doi: 10.1159/000302713. Epub 2010 Mar 24.
  • Dobalian A, Tsao JC, Putzer GJ, Menendez SM. Improving rural community preparedness for the chronic health consequences of bioterrorism and other public health emergencies. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2007 Sep-Oct;13(5):476-80.
  • Tsao JC, Stein JA, Dobalian A. Pain, problem drug use history, and aberrant analgesic use behaviors in persons living with HIV. Pain. 2007 Dec 15;133(1-3):128-37. Epub 2007 Apr 20.
  • Dobalian A. Advance care planning documents in nursing facilities: results from a nationally representative survey. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2006 Sep-Oct;43(2):193-212. Epub 2005 Dec 2.
  • Johnson CE, Dobalian A, Burkhard J, Hedgecock DK, Harman J. Predicting lawsuits against nursing homes in the United States, 1997-2001. Health Serv Res. 2004 Dec;39(6 Pt 1):1713-31.
  • Dobalian A. Nursing facility compliance with do-not-hospitalize orders. Gerontologist. 2004 Apr;44(2):159-65.
  • Dobalian A, Tsao JC, Duncan RP. Pain and the use of outpatient services among persons with HIV: results from a nationally representative survey. Med Care. 2004 Feb;42(2):129-38.