Trump taps Obama holdover as secretary of veteran affairs


(JTA) — Dr. David Shulkin, the undersecretary for health at the Department of Veterans Affairs, has been appointed secretary of veteran affairs by  President-elect Donald Trump.

Trump announced Shulkin’s Cabinet appointment on Wednesday during a news conference, his first meeting with reporters since July.

Shulkin is the first Trump holdover from the administration of President Barack Obama. He was named undersecretary by Obama in 2015.

“I have no doubt Dr. Shulkin will be able to lead the turnaround our Department of Veterans Affairs needs,” Trump said in a statement. “His sole mandate will be to serve our veterans and restore the level of care we owe to our brave men and women in the military. Sadly our great veterans have not gotten the level of care they deserve, but Dr. Shulkin has the experience and the vision to ensure we will meet the healthcare needs of every veteran.”

Trump called Shulkin “an incredibly gifted doctor.”

Shulkin has served in several chief executive roles, including as president of hospitals, notably Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. He also has held numerous physician leadership roles, including as chief medical officer for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, and academic positions, including as chairman of medicine and vice dean at the Drexel University School of Medicine.

As an entrepreneur, Shulkin founded and served as the chairman and CEO of DoctorQuality, one of the first consumer-oriented sources of information for quality and safety in health care.

The  Department of Veterans Affairs has been under fire for several years for inadequate care, including the failure to provide appointments in a timely fashion.

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