VHA Chief of Staff Jon Jensen was joined by Dr. Steve Lieberman for this edition of Chats with the Chief.
Lieberman is VA’s acting deputy undersecretary for Health. In this chat, he talks about the 18-hour days of VA frontline staff dealing with the pandemic and the great health care being provided to Veterans.
Lieberman was born in Philadelphia, grew up in New Jersey and spent some time working at National Aeronautics and Space Administration early in his career. That experience is evident when you hear why he enjoys and recommends the book Endurance by astronaut Scott Kelly.
Lieberman’s grandfather’s massive heart attack was a key reason for his switch from space to health care.
He has over 30 years’ experience with VA and shares a wide variety of memories of numerous departmental challenges. He talks about his work process with a reference to the TV program, “The Queen’s Gambit” and explains the connection.
Member of first deployment team
Lieberman remembers being on VA’s first emergency medical personnel deployment ever in Waco, Texas, following hurricanes Katrina and Rita – all part of the lesser known VA Fourth Mission.
Hear him describe why it’s a life changing experience and why he recommends it for all VA employees.
As a senior leader dealing with COVID-19 and the multiple complexities that entails, Lieberman reflects on the numerous impressive efforts by VA staff to make sure all Veterans are being cared for.
Tough but rewarding year
Lieberman believes VA employees have been a “silver lining” in the pandemic and discusses the challenges when “we were all trying to figure our way forward on how do we best communicate and how do we best work together.”
VA’s Office of Diversity is, for him, “an incredibly important topic.” He describes how he has been working on that issue since the 90s.
Hear his thoughts on why we all need to “keep focusing on resiliency and what we can continue doing for our Veterans.”