Ex-VA Sec. Dr. David Shulkin joins Sanford Health

Former U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, MD, revealed he will be joining Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health, the Argus Leader reports.

The system announced Dr. Shulkin's appointment Sept. 11. He will serve as the health system's chief innovation officer and strategic adviser, where he will oversee research and imagenetics, among other initiatives, and advise on the system's growth and public policy efforts. He will also join the Sanford International Board and serve as the health system's ambassador in both "domestic and international projects."

Dr. Shulkin told the Argus Leader he initially got to know the health system and President and CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft while serving as secretary of the VA. He said he was impressed by the organization's work and team-player attitude.

"It was really an exposure to a type of health system that both intrigued me but also, the more I learned about [Sanford], the more excited I was about the work they were doing," he said. "I think they have an opportunity to have a bigger impact on the country than even they've had in the past."

"Secretary Shulkin is one of the most talented healthcare leaders in the country, and he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Sanford Health," Mr. Krabbenhoft said in the system's Sept. 11 news release. "His unique perspective, clinical expertise and powerful voice will further Sanford Health's continued development and diversification, which is so critical to our ability to bring new treatments and cures to the patients we serve."

Dr. Shulkin previously served as VA secretary and oversaw the nation's veterans healthcare system until March, when he was reportedly fired by President Donald Trump. The White House has maintained Dr. Shulkin resigned from the position.

In a March 28 op-ed for The New York Times, Dr. Shulkin discussed his role at the VA and the criticism he faced while in office.

"I came to government with an understanding that Washington can be ugly, but I assumed that I could avoid all of the ugliness by staying true to my values," he wrote. "I have been falsely accused of things by people who wanted me out of the way. … Despite these politically-based attacks … I am proud of my record and know that I acted with the utmost integrity."

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