VA Medical Center
Meet the Interim Medical Center Director Adam Walmus, Oklahoma City VA Medical Center
Where is your Hometown? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Brooklyn and raised in a small town on the Connecticut/Massachusetts border. My hometown is wherever my brains of 32 years, my wife, lives (she’s a Texas girl).
Can you tell us about your education?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in History from Trinity College in Hartford, CT, a Master’s degree in Asian Studies from the University of Michigan, and a second Master’s degree in Health Care Administration from Tulane University in New Orleans. I also studied Chinese language at Taiwan Normal University in Taipei.
I am married and we have two married children (Walker and Alicia) and one 18-month old granddaughter. Alicia and her husband are currently residing in Sri Lanka for a summer internship with Oxford College. Walker and his spouse are in Austin, Texas with our granddaughter, Maple.
What do you do in your down time?
I like to garden, read and fix things (working with my hands). I also lead Disciple Bible Study.
What is something about you most people don't know?
I learned Chinese (and I can still speak some)! Also, last year I was named the Preceptor of the Year for the VA’s Graduate Healthcare Administration Training Program.
Which do you use – Blackberry or IPhone or other smartphone and why?
Blackberry. It’s government issue, like me.
What brought you to your current field?
It’s a long story! When I was living abroad in Taiwan, I applied for and received a full scholarship to Tulane. Following that experience I completed a residency with the Bureau of Health Planning, Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC. I left that residency with five job offers, of which I chose the Department of Veterans Affairs because I feel it is my mission.
What is a typical work day like for you?
There is no such thing as a typical work day, but I spend a lot of time coaching and mentoring. My favorite part of my day is meeting with the patients and the staff who care for them.
What is one thing about your organization people might not realize or know?
We do not provide free care. The care we provide has been paid for by our nation’s heroes who have kept us free. It is our mission at the VA Medical Center to pay back part of the debt that a grateful nation owes to its Veterans.
What is the next exciting thing coming up for your organization?
On May 30th we opened our Radiation Oncology Center. This Center houses two linear accelerators, a PET CT and a CT Simulator and now provides state-of-the-art cancer treatment to Oklahoma’s Veterans.
What are the current challenges your organization is facing and what steps are you taking to address these challenges?
One of our biggest challenges is meeting the needs of our aging Veterans as well as our newest heroes. Some of the steps we are taking to address the needs of our returning Veterans include the expansion of MyHealtheVet (www.myhealth.va.gov), VA’s personal health record and increasing mental health staff. The VA recently announced a hiring initiative to increase mental health staff by 1,900, our medical center in Oklahoma City is hiring 26 new staff members in various occupations including psychologists, social workers and administrative support staff.
Where do you see your organization five years from now?
AS Dr. Phillip Longman (Ph.D. in Economics) states in his book, VA provides the Best Care Anywhere. We have to continue to get better to remain #1!