WASHINGTON, D.C. — This year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) commemorates 75 years of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).
Originally established in 1946 as the Department of Medicine & Surgery to care for Veterans returning from World War II, VHA has evolved to meet the unique challenges and care needs of Veterans from every era and at every stage of their lives.
“As we celebrate this historic milestone, we are presented with an opportunity to share VHA’s rich history while looking toward our next chapter as a learning organization that is committed to continuous improvement,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “It is also a fitting occasion to recognize the extraordinary efforts of VHA staff and volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is just the latest example of VHA’s long-standing commitment to providing care to Veterans whenever and however they need it.”
Over the past 75 years, VHA has made vast and wide-reaching contributions to improve the health of Veterans and the entire nation by providing services and technologies that have changed the way health care providers across the country practice medicine:
- Almost 70% of the country’s health care providers receive medical training at a VHA facility. The skills and knowledge they learn from VHA are implemented in hospitals and clinics across the country.
- VHA performed the first successful liver transplant, developed the nicotine patch and Hepatitis C medication, invented the first cardiac pacemaker, and paved the way in the field of pain management.
- VHA leads the nation in telehealth services, with over 900,000 Veterans using these services in FY19, and increasing telehealth by 1,180% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- More than 60% of VA researchers also provide direct patient care. Their work has resulted in three Nobel prizes, seven Lasker awards, and numerous other national and international honors. VA currently has more than 7,000 active research projects focused on improving the lives of Veterans.
To celebrate throughout this year, VA is hosting various events and campaigns to highlight VHA’s long-standing commitment to putting Veterans at the center of the care experience, its world-class, mission-driven health care professionals, and its contributions to medical science.
Learn more information about VHA’s 75th anniversary.
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