Inclusion equals innovation: How our diverse workforce offers better care

At VA, we know that inclusion equals innovation. By making sure that every Veteran receives care that matters to them and their whole health, VA providers and staff get to know each Veteran personally to better provide care tailored to the patient’s health and wellness goals.

All Veterans are different, and we know that health care is not one-size-fits-all. Diversity in our personnel helps bridge the gap in health care disparities, an attitude that has been adopted at the very top of our organization.

And the more diverse our workforce, the greater success we’ll share.

“To ensure a welcoming environment for Veterans, we must foster fair and inclusive VA workplaces where the experiences and perspectives of our diverse employees are valued,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “The success of our mission depends on everyone being able to contribute their expertise, experience, talents, ideas and perspectives.”

Investing in Inclusion

Our Office of Academic Affiliation (OAA) plays a major role in developing VA’s diverse workforce.

If you’re just starting out in your career, you can take advantage of health professions training and scholarship programs that are designed to increase job opportunities at VA for racial and ethnic minorities, which in turn improve health care experiences and outcomes for these groups.

OAA manages affiliations with more than 1,800 unique colleges and universities, including nearly 200 minority-serving institutions (MSIs). Approximately 20,000 health professions trainees from MSIs come to VA each year.

Additionally, the Veterans Healing Veterans Medical Access & Scholarship Program provides full scholarships to 12 Veteran medical students at Teague-Cranston Act and Historically Black Colleges and Universities in exchange for a four-year service obligation at VA.

Inclusion leads to innovation

Our academic affiliations also put VA in a unique position to mentor and fund researchers from disadvantaged backgrounds who are motivated to make a difference in their communities, which broaden the career opportunities for those looking to join our team.

We recognize that scientists and trainees from diverse backgrounds and life experiences bring different perspectives, creativity, and individual enterprise to address complex health-related problems.

To that end, VA has developed funding opportunities in mentored research for junior VA investigators from underrepresented backgrounds. These research supplements pair early-career investigators with established VA researchers.

The supplements, supported by VA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD), have led to research into virtual reality technology to help Veterans with mild cognitive impairment and repurposing existing drugs to treat substance use disorder, among others.

The road ahead

We understand that supporting diversity, equity and inclusion among our staff is an ongoing effort, and a challenge that will continue in the years to come. As we celebrate our successes, we look ahead to further efforts that support and recruit a diverse workforce.

We’re integrating best practices into all that we do to expand access to our world-class health care services and improving policies and procedures to reflect the diversity of those we serve. We continue to strengthen our efforts toward the goal of a safe and respectful workplace and health care environment.

As we serve the most diverse group of Veterans in history, we reaffirm our commitment to hiring staff that reflects that diversity, ensuring that VA employees feel supported and providing equitable health care access for all.

Work at VA

With a career at VA, you’ll join and organization committed to serving our diverse Veteran population and supporting inclusion for both staff and patients.

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