VA reflects American history

The VA health system—the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs—has provided care since the mid-1940s for those who’ve served in the U.S. military. As such, the VA is a “living reflection” of the nation’s history, according to Ashish Jha of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Jha, an internist at the VA and K.T. Li Professor of International Health at Harvard Chan School, wrote about the VA in a Veterans’ Day article in STAT. He described working with World War II veterans, the so-called “Greatest Generation,” praised after they returned home from war; with Vietnam vets, often shunned by their country after an unpopular war and too often plagued with both physical and emotional wounds; and with vets from Iraq and Afghanistan, struggling with bomb-related injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Each generation of veterans is different,” Jha wrote. “The impact of their service is different, and the way we as a country treat them has shaped them in different ways.” But they all “embody important parts of our history,” he said.

Read Ashish Jha’s STAT article: VA health system is a ‘living reflection’ of our history