In her role at the Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem, Suzanne Shirley has transformed the way the VA engages with both internal and external collaborators to drive and accelerate health care innovation within one of the country’s largest healthcare systems. 


Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, Suzanne and her team navigated a successful shift to virtual patient enrollment. This transition allowed for greater accessibility of enrollment to more medically complex and rural patients who may not be seen frequently in the clinic where traditional program enrollment occurred. She also organized COVID-19 clinical trial matching opportunities by leveraging a strategic partner network to include: Pfizer, Gilead BARDA, GSK, Genentech, Abbott Labs, and Vessel Health. Additionally, in partnership with VA Voluntary Services and NAF, she co-designed a national virtual summer civic engagement program that engaged high school students in designing and testing solutions to Veteran challenges experienced during the pandemic.


Throughout her esteemed career, Suzanne established an AMVETS partnership for women veterans in STEM careers that provide paid job training for women veterans studying technical and manufacturing trades through the VA 3D Printing Network. With the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, she co-designed the COVID-19 Respite Relief Caregiver Support Program, which donated 40,000 hours of home care services to a veteran's family caregivers. 


Leading initiatives focused on remote patient monitoring, support for Veteran caregivers, and competitive challenge models to solve problems quickly, Suzanne is committed to bringing key stakeholders from every sector together in the spirit of solving VA’s toughest challenges in the partnership. Through these efforts, her leadership, creativity, and ability to collaborate across VA departments and with external organizations, have resulted in the transformation of Veteran lives through mission-driven health care innovations that advance care delivery and services.


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Director, Fellowships & Community Engagement,
Department of Veterans Affairs