I just returned from the Veterans Administration Leadership Conference, held in San Antonio May 28-31, 2019. The theme of the conference was: “Promoting Quality, Integrated Healthcare for All Veterans”. I was excited about the opportunity to attend the conference for several reasons. In addition to making contact with my VA colleagues, as a psychologist who works with veterans, I was looking forward to learning how the VA works with the veterans; specifically, the mental health services provided. I learned numerous things, such as the history of the conference, the positive occurrences, as well as the challenges.

My visit started with a dinner to celebrate the retirement of Dr. Russell Lemle, a pioneer and principal organizer of the conference. During the evening I learned about the history of the conference and how the Veterans Administration is one of the largest employers of psychologists. I also learned how the VA is managing difficult issues such as suicide among our veterans, the opioid crisis, Integrated Care, or Whole Health Transformation, and Women in Leadership. A challenge they are managing is the relatively low diversity in leadership and staff, and how to utilize Allies in managing microaggressions. I left the conference with the feeling that the Veterans Administration is working hard to ensure that the care of our veterans is in good hands. This is yet another aspect of the profession that is making a difference in people’s lives.