VA Boston Healthcare System
Michael E. Charness, M.D., Chief of Staff
Dr. Charness earned his B.Sc. in Psychology from McGill University and his M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He served as resident in Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was resident and Chief Resident in Neurology and postdoctoral fellow in Neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Neurology.
Dr. Charness came to the VA as a staff neurologist in 1989 and served as Chief of Neurology at the Brockton-West-Roxbury VA and the VA Boston Healthcare System (1996-2003). He became Chief of Staff in 2003. He is Professor of Neurology and Faculty Associate Dean at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Neurology and Associate Dean at Boston University School of Medicine. He serves on the Chief of Staff Advisory Committee to the VA Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health and is VA's representative on the Chief Medical Officer Group Steering Committee of the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Dr. Charness served as a member of the National Advisory Council of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH, served as president of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), and chaired the Alcohol-Toxicology 3 Study Section. He was awarded the Frank Seixas Award of RSA, a MERIT Award from NIAAA, the Excellence Award from NOFAS, and the Henry Rosett Award from the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Study Group of RSA. His laboratory, with support from NIH and the VA, studies the mechanisms of alcohol toxicity in the nervous system and the development of drugs that block alcohol toxicity. He is scientific director of the NIAAA-funded Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and chairs the external advisory board for the NIH-funded Adolescent Brain and Cognitive Development (ABCD) study. He has cared for patients with neurological complications of alcoholism and peripheral nerve disorders throughout his career.