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VA, NAACP partner to promote culturally competent workforce

VA and the NAACP recently announced an agreement to advance and improve the quality of life for Veterans by working together to increase the number of Black Veterans enrolled in VA health care and increase awareness of VA benefits and services among Black Veterans.

Through this partnership, we will continue to eliminate barriers and inequalities for Veterans who have historically been underserved, and provide world-class care and benefits to all Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors.

Bring your unique experiences to VA and ensure that more of our Veterans feel welcome.

Unity of purpose

This new partnership will be critical to VA’s goals to eliminate barriers and inequalities for Veterans who have historically been underserved, and to provide care and support to all Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors.

In turn, we also know that diversity on our team is a strength, and our workforce should be an accurate representation of the Veterans we serve. Caring for the most diverse group of Veterans in history requires the assurance that everyone—employees and Veterans alike—feel included in the work that we do.

“At VA, it’s our mission to serve all Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors as well as they’ve served our country,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “This historic partnership with the NAACP will help us deliver on that promise, enhancing our outreach to Black Veterans and helping ensure that we provide every Veteran with the world-class care and benefits they deserve.”

Embracing diversity and improving care

These efforts are not new. With an eye towards creating opportunities and positive health care experiences, the Orlando VA Healthcare System piloted the VA Diversity and Inclusion Advocate Program (VADIAP), creating a culture of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access for employees and Veterans alike.

Since being introduced in 2021, VADIAP has been adopted throughout other VA locations in Florida, teaching our staff how to better advocate for the Veteran and educate others on how to better serve Veterans, encouraging trust in VA’s capabilities.

Because studies show that Veterans who receive treatment at VA experience superior outcomes compared to those who seek treatment elsewhere. For example, when Black Veterans come to VA for their prostate cancer screening and care, they have significantly better outcomes than those using private health care services.

“At the end of the day, we know that when Veterans come to VA for their health care, their outcomes are better,” VA Press Secretary Terrance Hayes told “All Things Considered.” “So, what we want to do is ensure that our staff, our frontline clinicians, and our frontline workers at our hospitals represent everything that our Veterans represent.”

A place for you

All Veterans are unique, and by the diversity of the very people we serve, we know that health care is not one-size-fits-all. Embracing that diversity in our patients—and those who join our team—ensures that we will be successful in fulfilling our mission.

“I’m in a position to really make a difference in my patients’ lives. Especially my Black patients, because they might have never seen a doctor that looks like them before,” said Dr. Preston Igwe, who once learned that he was the first Black physician that a Black Veteran patient had seen in his 50 years coming to VA for medical care.

“We each bring a different strength to the table,” said Darren Sherrard, associate director of recruitment marketing at VA. “Your strength may offset my weakness, or my strength compliments another’s strength. And, like the military, VA encourages our staff to be as diverse as our Veterans.”

Work at VA

Bring your diverse experiences to VA, and make a difference by ensuring that more of our Veterans feel welcome.

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