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Our Mission

The mission of the Veterans Research and Education Foundation of St. Louis is to improve the health and well-being of Veterans through research and education conducted within the VA St. Louis Health Care System.

Board Members

VREF is governed by a Board of Directors, four of whom are statutory: The Medical Center’s Director, Chief of Staff, Associate Chief of Staff (ACOS) for Research and Education. The Board of Directors has appointed an Executive Director to develop and implement policy and manage the operations of VREF.

Keith Repko, Board Chair

  • Deputy Director of John Cochran VA Medical Center

 Ziyad Al-Aly, M.D., Member

  •  Dr. Al-Aly, a Nephrologist, has been a dedicated VA researcher for over ten years. Dr. Al-Aly focuses his research on the relationship between kidney disease and clinical outcomes.

Amy Joseph, M.D., Treasurer

  • Dr. Joseph, a Rheumatologist with 13 years of active research at the St. Louis VA, studies diagnosis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, particularly in patients infected with the hepatitis C virus.  

Michael Crittenden, M.D., Member

  • Dr. Crittenden is a thoracic surgeon. He is the Chief of Staff at the St. Louis VA, and he is also affiliated with Washington University. He has been in practice for more than 20 years.

Jay McDonald, M.D., Secretary 

  • Dr. McDonald, Chief, Infectious Diseases, has been actively involved in research at the VA for eight years. Dr. McDonald’s research uses data from national VA databases to address questions related to infectious complications of immunosuppressive medications and bone and joint infections.

April Kirkley, Lawyer

  • April Previously served for several years as an Administrative Officer with the VA. 

Joel Eissenberg, PhD, Community Board Member (not pictured)

  • Dr. Eissenberg is Associate Dean for Research and a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Saint Louis University. Dr. Eissenberg has over 25 years of research experience, focusing on gene transcription by chromatin and by RNA Poymerase II (Pol II) elongation factors.