Donald Trump picks David Shulkin to lead VA

David Shulkin

President-elect Donald Trump has selected current Department of Veterans Affairs Undersecretary for Health David Shulkin to lead the VA, he announced Wednesday at his first postelection press conference.

Shulkin, Trump said, “will do a truly great job” at the agency, which has struggled to bounce back from a scandal over long wait times that jeopardized patient safety.

“One of the commitments that I’ve made is we’re going to straighten out the whole situation for our veterans,” Trump said. “Our veterans have been treated horribly,” he added, citing cases in which veterans “go in and they have a minor, early-stage form of cancer and they can’t see a doctor—by the time they get to the doctor, they’re terminal.”

In his administration’s effort to reform the VA, Trump said, the agency will align with “some of the great hospitals of the world,” including the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic.

He also mentioned that Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, M.D., who dropped out of the running for VA secretary earlier this month, will be “very involved” in the VA overhaul.

Retired Henry Ford Health System CEO Nancy Schlichting was also under consideration for the role. 

Prior to his current role, Shulkin served as president at Morristown Medical Center, Goryeb Children’s Hospital and Atlantic Rehabilitation Institute, and the Atlantic Health System Accountable Care Organization, according to the VA website. He also previously served as President and CEO of Beth Israel Medical Center.