No Matter How Long the Winter, Spring is Sure to Follow

It was an unseasonably long Winter.  Thank goodness Spring is inevitable.  It being the season of new beginnings is fitting now because we have several new things we are eager to share with you and even more updates still to come.  While "new" also means change, I am choosing to look at the new as pathways to growth.  

Atychiphobia (n. irrational and persistent fear of failing) Many of you probably already knew this word.  I just learned it more than 20 years after a mentor told me "If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough."  Oof.  While I may not meet the clinical definition, I confess that a genuine fear of failure keeps me from trying new things or even chokes out my ability to grow.  But "not trying hard enough" struck a nerve grating against my scrappy hard working sensibilities.  Since then, I have determined to push past my fear and move into doing.   
Whether I like it or not, change is the only constant, and as much as I might spend a lot of energy pretending I can keep things the same, I know the energy is better spent working to embrace change and respect the lessons that come from failure.  Here at PAVIR, we are working hard to adopt a culture that is open to the changes in our environment and not just continue in old patterns that no longer fit.

Throughout this newsletter, you will read about a lot of changes - things we are trying on for size and things we're looking forward to.  Your feedback is so important and we hope you will keep sharing with us as we continue to evolve and grow.   

You Spoke, We Listened
Over the past year, PAVIR has been collecting data about what matters to our PIs through casual conversation, formal interviews, and surveys. THANK YOU to those who have already shared feedback.  We hope to reach more of you and engage.  We are here to serve YOU


In This Issue

NEW Names and Faces: PAVIR Admin

We're pleased to introduce you to some of our newest members of the PAVIR Administrative Staff!  Feel free to connect with them directly by clicking on their links below.

Jenni Schmidt: Contract & Grant Analyst (Post-Award Trainee)
Tu Ngo: Staff Accountant
Emma D'Ambra: HR Recruiter
Dani Wetherell: Contract & Grant Generalist

Jenni was initially hired as our first generalist in the Contracts & Grants (C&G) Department and joined us remotely from Georgia.  She is now in training to become a Post-Award C&G Analyst.  Tu is local and amidst her many duties, she has been hard at work processing your payments and reimbursements, while Emma who also joined us remotely from Georgia, has been industriously recruiting and onboarding new employees.  Dani is our newest C&G Generalist and joined us remotely from Michigan at the beginning of May.

We are also pleased to welcome Christy Broadwater back to C&G Pre-Award.  She is working part-time remotely from the state of Washington. Her impeccable timing and organizational skills could not have been better suited to support the deluge of proposal submissions due this month.  Keep them coming!
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It's official!  We are in the process of relocating.  The PAVIR Administrative Staff have been hard at work packing, archiving, and disposing.  We look forward to serving you from our homes and our new location.  Stay tuned for more information about where we're headed as well as how you might avail yourselves of supplies and furnishings we will no longer need.

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In response to your feedback, we are increasing our virtual presence.  Got questions about your grants?  We have answers.  Join PAVIR Contract and Grant Analysts live by Zoom every Wednesday afternoon from 1:30 - 3 pm to get your questions answered.  Check your email for the Zoom link or contact

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Are you a Clinical Research Coordinator (CRC) or Clinical Research Assistant (CRA)?  Know one?  We are creating a clinical research workgroup to address issues commonly faced by CRCs and CRAs in the course of their work at VA Palo Alto and especially want to pool resources to reduce the learning curve for anyone new to the VA.  Be a part of developing guidance materials, resolving workflow issues, and creating consistency in your work environment.  To join or refer a colleague, please contact Calvert Lee at  
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There have been some recent changes related to Without Compensation (WOC) and Intergovernment Personnel Act (IPA) appointments that we know have added complexity and in some cases concern.  We get it!  The good news is, there is a path forward for almost every situation, and PAVIR is here to help you navigate the process.  The two main changes regarding WOCs and IPAs are: 
  1. Employees cannot concurrently be on a WOC and IPA.
  2. Employees on an H-1B visa cannot be on a WOC.
They are a mandate from VA Central Office and are a lead-in to the centralization of Human Resources for VA Research through Human Resources Management and Consulting Service (HRMACS).

What This Means
Whether on a WOC or an IPA, new personnel will have to do the same paperwork, background check, health clearance, training, etc. through the Research Admin office. 

If your researcher is on an H-1B visa, PAVIR or Stanford may place them on a $0 IPA in lieu of the WOC.  NOTES:
  • Postdocs on an H-1B visa are not eligible to be on an IPA. 
  • There is a 90 day wait period before employees can be placed on an IPA during which no VA research can be conducted. 
If you have a current employee or potential new hire affected by these changes, contact us at, and we'll be happy to help you navigate the best path forward!
PAVIR and the Research Administration Office meet weekly with local VAHR to discuss individual cases.  We hope to soon publish more information to address most scenarios and to inform the community about workflows.  Local VAHR will be processing WOCs and IPAs until HRMACS is implemented at which time workflows may change.  Stay tuned for more information.
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We have broadened our networking horizons by joining Twitter and have only just begun.  Stay tuned for more updates and follow us as we grow.
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NEW VA Principal Investigators!

If you are a new Principal Investigator at VA Palo Alto and this newsletter is your first interaction with PAVIR, we want to welcome you to our vibrant research community.  We would love to meet you and orient you to how PAVIR fits within the VA Palo Alto research enterprise.  Please email us your availability.  

NEW PAVIR-eenos!

We are so glad you're here and look forward to working with you.  You are an important part of PAVIR and the VA research community.  Please let us know how PAVIR can help you grow while you are here.
Julie Norman Data Analyst  4/3/2023
Stacey Park IT Platform Management and Data Feed Consultant 4/14/2023
Timothy Myles Research Scientist  5/1/2023
Marta D'Ambra Research Assistant 5/5/2023
Shaliza Shorey Counselor 5/5/2023
Dani Wetherell Contract & Grant Generalist I 5/5/2023
Michelle Wong CR  Coordinator  5/5/2023
Swathi Balantrapu CR Coordinator - Exercise Physiologist 5/8/2023
Mandana Mostofi Research Assistant 5/8/2023
Annie Lau Research Assistant –  Study Therapist  5/10/2023
Abhijnya Kanugovi Research Associate  5/22/2023
Edrick Masangkay CR Coordinator 5/22/2023
Kendall Lin Research Assistant 5/25/2023
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Our mailing address is:
Palo Alto Veterans Institute for Research (PAVIR)
3801 Miranda Avenue
P.O. Box V-38
Palo Alto, CA 94304-0038

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