Truman VA Celebrates 75th Anniversary of Veterans Health Administration

January 13, 2021

COLUMBIA, Mo. ― This year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Staff from Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital will join VA employees across the country, beginning, Jan. 12, 2021, as part of a year-long celebration to recognize VHA’s commitment to our nation’s heroes.

Originally established in 1946 as the Department of Medicine and Surgery, VHA has evolved to meet the unique challenges and care needs of Veterans from every era and at every stage of their lives. For 75 years now, VHA’s mission has been to deliver quality health care, train future medical professionals and contribute to medical science through research discoveries.

“This celebration isn’t just about recognizing the depth and breadth of the services that we provide,” said Patricia Hall, PhD, FACHE, medical center director of Truman VA. “It’s also important that we recognize the extraordinary efforts of our staff and volunteers, especially during this global pandemic. Their commitment to our Veterans and to their families is second to none and serves as a testament to the quality of care that we provide every day.”

Since Truman VA opened its doors in 1972 and became mid-Missouri’s premiere Veterans hospital, health professionals have made wide-reaching contributions to the medical community. Additionally, VA staff from across the country have worked to improve the health and quality of life not only for Veterans, but also for the entire nation. Services and technologies developed by VA have changed the way health care providers across the country practice medicine.

“Each year, we care for approximately 40,000 Veterans from 43 counties in Missouri and one county in Illinois,” Hall said. “However, what you may not know is that more than 70 percent of all U.S. physicians receive training through the VA. Here in central Missouri, we provide educational opportunities for approximately 900 students from the medical field each year to include physicians, nurses and other health professionals.”

In addition to providing excellent health care and medical education, Truman VA also has a recognized research department, with a core mission of improving the lives of Veterans and all Americans through health discoveries and innovation. Nationally, VA-funded research investigators have engaged in significant breakthroughs in the treatments of cancer and heart disease, developed new diagnostic tools such as computerized tomography – better known as a CT scan – and have received international acclaim through Nobel Prize awards.

“Whenever you hear about a physician telling someone to take an aspirin each day for heart health, or you see a barcode used for medication tracking and disbursement, or someone you know receives a shingles vaccination — these examples also are the result of VA research,” Hall said. “Other significant historical VA achievements include the first implantable cardiac pacemaker, the first successful liver transplant, the development of the thermal nicotine patch, and leading-edge care for post-traumatic stress disorder.”

“One of our most recent developments is a radiopharmaceutical used to diagnose recurrent prostate cancer, which was extremely difficult to detect before,” Hall said. “This new diagnostic tool, which greatly improves patient outcomes, was developed right here in Columbia, Missouri. All of us here at Truman VA are very proud to be part of VHA, and we hope that others join us in celebrating this extremely important milestone.”

For more information about Truman VA, visit https://www.columbiamo.va.gov/.



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