Who: Dr. David Shulkin, 55
Nominated for: Undersecretary for health, U.S. Veterans Affairs Department. His nomination, made earlier this spring, is pending before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, where he testified on May 5.
Background: Shulkin has served as president of Morristown (N.J.) Medical Center since 2010, as well as VP of Atlantic Health, the hospital's parent company. He also served as CEO of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York.
A troubled organization: “The VA needs more doctors, more nurses and greater efficiency from its current systems,” Shulkin said in prepared testimony to the committee. “It needs to advance its culture of accountability and eliminate those from the system who have lost their commitment to doing what is right for our veterans.”
Military in his blood: Shulkin was born on an Army base in Illinois where his father, a psychiatrist, provided care to soldiers on the base as a captain. Shulkin told senators that early training and engagements at VA hospitals throughout his career gave him a sense of responsibility to the organization. “It was difficult for me to have watched from the sidelines last year, as the failings of the system came to light,” he said.
A pledge for change: “I hear the disappointment and frustration that so many feel about the VA,” Shulkin told senators. “We all agree: The status quo is simply not acceptable.”