San Francisco VA Health Care System
Suzanne Gordon Visits SFVAMC
The San Francisco VA Health Care System was proud to welcome award-winning author and journalist Suzanne Gordon, who came to speak to staff and Veterans on April 10.
Suzanne is the author of 18 books and has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic Monthly, the American Prospect and many others. She is the co-editor of the Culture and Politics of Healthcare Work series at Cornell University Press. She has lectured worldwide on health care issues and has appeared frequently on radio and TV. Throughout her career, Suzanne has become an ardent defender and supporter of the Veterans Health Administration and our high quality of care and innovative work we do for our Veterans. Her latest book, The Battle for Veterans’ Healthcare: Dispatches from the Frontlines of Policy Making and Patient Care, focuses heavily on the San Francisco VA Health Care System. We were glad to have her talk about her research process and tell our Veterans and staff why she wanted to write about the VA.
During her talk, Suzanne expressed the appreciation she has for the staff who provide care for Veterans all throughout the VA system. “I see time and time again what dedication to your mission you all have,” says Suzanne. “You are driven by an intrinsic motivation to care for your Veterans. That’s more powerful than any kind of monetary incentive.”
She pointed out that Veterans are always happy to talk to her about their experiences with VA healthcare. On several occasions while sitting in the San Francisco VA Medical Center Canteen, Veterans have approached Suzanne to talk about how SFVAMC providers have helped them overcome their health challenges and improve their quality of life. “When one Veteran starts talking, another one is ready to chime in,” says Suzanne. “The sense of community and camaraderie is incredible. It’s definitely not something you see in patient waiting areas in the private sector.”
Suzanne also admires the truly comprehensive array of services the VA is able to provide Veterans. In the San Francisco VA Health Care System, Veterans have access to an internal referral network that covers everything from audiology and optometry to highly specialized services in our National Centers of Excellence for Epilepsy Treatment, Cardiac Surgery, and more. Veterans even have access to less obvious services like cooking classes and tango lessons. “I definitely don’t have this kind of access as a patient in private sector health care,” says Suzanne.
Suzanne also engaged in a lively Q&A session with the audience and raffled off four copies of her book to lucky attendees. She is currently working on another book about the high quality of VA health care that will also feature the San Francisco VA Health Care System. We thank Suzanne for shining a light on the great work our employees do for our Veterans!