Blinded Veterans Look Forward to New Progress at VA Under Shulkin

Alexandria, VA (January 11, 2017)—Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) Executive Director Al Avina today responded to the appointment of Dr. David J. Shulkin, current Under Secretary for the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as he assumes his role as the newly appointed Secretary of the cabinet-level department.

“Dr. Shulkin has most certainly demonstrated a thorough knowledge of and commitment to the veteran disability community, including that of the full continuum of care through VA services for veterans with vision loss,” Avina said. “BVA looks forward to continuing its already successful relationship with Dr. Shulkin in his new leadership role as we collaborate on additional issues, and on perhaps new levels of understanding, in support of America’s blind and visually impaired veterans.”

The appointment requires confirmation by the United States Senate, which previously confirmed him unanimously as Under Secretary for Health in June 2015. As Under Secretary, Shulkin has directed the work of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the nation’s largest integrated health care system with more than 1,700 sites of care and serving 8.76 million veterans each year.

Prior to being nominated by President Obama for his VHA appointment, Shulkin served in numerous chief executive roles, including that of President of Morristown Medical Center, Goryeb Children’s Hospital, and Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute. He also served as President and CEO of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City and as Chief Medical Officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Temple University Hospital, and the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital.

Shulkin recently addressed members of BVA at the Association’s 71st National Convention during the convention’s traditional Thursday forum August 25, 2016. His presentation described 25 ways in which VA is leading in U.S. health care, emphasizing the well-rounded nature of VA care and the comprehensive definition of the term “health.” He also cited various research studies demonstrating that VA outperforms its private sector counterparts.

Chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1958, BVA is the only Veterans Service Organization exclusively dedicated to serving the needs of the nation’s blinded veterans and their families. The Association was founded in 1945 in Avon, Connecticut, by a group of approximately 100 World War II veterans blinded during their service.