The Veterans Health Administration serves 5.8 million veterans each year. While the VA continues to make progress on access problems and address other needed improvements, these recent challenges shouldn't overshadow the incredible work being done every day on behalf of our nation's heroes.
Watch this video to see examples of the pioneering work the VA has done and learn more below.
The Cardiac Pacemaker
In 1960, the first cardiac pacemaker, developed by a VA team, was successfully implanted.
In 1962, while working at the Denver VA Medical Center and the University of Colorado Medical Center, Dr. Thomas Starzl performed the first long-term successful kidney transplant. Years later, while still on staff at the VA, he conducted the first human liver transplant. In 2011, Dr. Starzl received the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for his career accomplishments.
The Nicotine Patch
In 1984, the nicotine patch was developed by VA researchers Dr. Jed Rose, Dr. Daniel Rose, and Dr. Murray Jarvik.
First Foot-Ankle Prostheses
The VA's Prosthetics and Sensory Aids Service is the largest and most comprehensive provider of prosthetic devices and sensory aids in the world.
In 2007, a team of VA doctors and researchers collaborated with a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brown University to unveil the first powered ankle-foot prosthesis.
Three Nobel Prizes
Dr. Ferid Murad, Dr. Andrew Schally, and Dr. Rosalyn Yalow from the VA have been recognized with three Nobel Prizes for medical discoveries relating to healthy blood vessels; brain hormone production; and blood research and detection, respectively.