va director
Dr. Irene Trowell-Harris

VA Appoints Trowell-Harris as Womens' Director
October 2001

WASHINGTON -- The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has named Dr. Irene Trowell-Harris as director of the Center for Women Veterans, based in Washington.

"Her military experience and knowledge of VA health care delivery systems, and work with the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations will ensure that VA programs meet the changing needs of our women veterans," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi.

In her new position, Trowell-Harris will be the primary advisor to Principi on programs and issues related to women veterans.

"I am very excited about working with Secretary Principi to improve services for women veterans," Trowell-Harris said. "Times have changed. Today there are 1.4 million women veterans living in the United States. Women comprise 15 percent of the active-duty military, 16 percent of the reserves and 20 percent of new recruits. I look forward to the challenges ahead, and plan to make sure VA has programs in place that provide benefits and meet their health care needs."

Before her recent appointment, Trowell-Harris served as the VA director of the Washington, D.C., Region of the Office of Healthcare Inspections within the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and directed reviews to improve the economy, effectiveness and efficiency of VA programs. At the same time, Trowell-Harris served in the United States Air Force and Air National Guard (ANG) retiring with 38 years of service as a major general.

Trowell-Harris' VA career includes assignments as Director of Patient Care Inspections and Program Evaluation with OIG in Washington, D.C., where she managed a nationwide program on quality assurance and quality improvement of VA's 163 hospitals, 650 clinics, 130 nursing homes and 40 domiciliaries.

Trowell-Harris served as the Assistant to the Director of the Air National Guard for Human Resources Readiness. She had major responsibilities regarding military force preparedness and was responsible for developing a nation-wide readiness program for mentoring, diversity, and career progression for the 107,000 men and women in the ANG.

While assigned to the Air National Guard as Assistant to the Director for Medical Readiness & Nursing Services within Air Force headquarters, Trowell-Harris worked with five federal nursing chiefs to establish global policy, while developing medical guidance, policies, and procedures to ensure the rapid expansion, mobilization and deployment of medical resources to support Air Force operations worldwide. She designed and conducted a worldwide survey on unmet health needs of women resulting in a 20-percent increase in access to health care. She served six years as military representative on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS).

In 1983, Trowell-Harris earned a doctorate of education in health education from Columbia University. She earned a masters of public health at Yale University in 1973. In 1971, she graduated from Jersey City State College in New Jersey, with a bachelor of arts in health education, graduating cum laude. She received a diploma in nursing as a registered nurse from the Columbia Hospital School of Nursing, Columbia, S.C., in 1959.

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