Dr. Kirchner is the daughter of a highly decorated WWII Veteran, a board-certified Staff Psychiatrist with Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, and a Professor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). The primary focus of her research has been in developing strategies that support the implementation of evidence-based practices in the primary care setting. She has had the extraordinary opportunity to see clinical programs that she evaluated early in her career in efficacy and effectiveness trials become the national standard of care within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These care delivery models are becoming a standard of care in non-VA settings as well. Coincidental with the emerging evidence that supported primary care-based mental health programs, Implementation Science was recognized as a critical area of health services research. Thus, she was able to further facilitate the implementation of primary care-based mental health programs by studying their implementation and ultimately developing and evaluating an evidence-based implementation facilitation (IF) strategy. This implementation facilitation strategy has been transferred to the VA Office of Mental Health Operations (OMHO). OMHO is using IF to provide operational support for the implementation of primary care mental health programs as well as evidence-based psychotherapies.
Dr. Kirchner has led VA Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI) programs since 2009 and has been recognized for the degree to which these QUERI programs collaborate closely with operational and clinical partners. Thus, the work that is generated by the QUERI programs is frequently translated directly into VA policy. Her most recent implementation science research has been with the Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change (ERIC) project. This project convened an expert panel of implementation scientists and mental health clinical managers to establish consensus on a common nomenclature for implementation strategy terms, definitions and categories.