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Policy Vets

Author: Policy Vets with Dr. David Shulkin and Louis Celli Jr.

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The veteran policy community needed a common, nonpartisan space to discuss current and future policy decisions that affect our nation's military and veteran community. From access to healthcare and earned benefits, to illnesses caused from service related toxic exposure, depression and suicide, transition and educational programs, Policy Vets gathers the top experts in the industry in one place to vet policy for vets.Board Executive Chairmen The Honorable Dr. David Shulkin and Executive Director Louis Celli explain why Policy Vets is needed today.
40 Episodes
Rob Thomas, who is the former Assistant Secretary for Information Technology & Chief Information Officer (SES) for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, talks with Secretary Shulkin and Lou about his time at VA, how the Cerner implementation decision was made, and what VA needs to do in the future to compete.
LtGen Walter Gaskin, Secretary for the North Carolina Department of Military & Veterans Affairs, speaks about how North Carolina is tackling some of the biggest issues for Veterans. Having spent much time in Afghanistan, he also speaks on the U.S. Military's departure from the country, and expresses disappointment in Afghanistan's leadership for abandoning the situation at such a critical time.
Secretary Shulkin and Lou Celli discuss Veterans Day and reflect on the podcast's many guests, as well as the reaction they've received.
Dr. Russell Foster speaks to Lou and Sherman Gillums (guest host) to discuss the importance of sleep on helping people with PTSD and other disorders. He shares amazing and recent studies while Sherman and Lou share their shock at the newness of this information. Dr. Foster is the Head of the Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology and the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute. 
Today, Vincent Chao, the former Director of the Political Division at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States, speaks to Lou Celli and Charlie Malone on behalf of Taiwan.  What are the ramifications of Washington's and Beijing's policies regarding this very important island? 
Professor Renata Gomes joins Secretary Shulkin and Lou to discuss Bravo Victor, a UK-based group dedicated towards focusing the world’s best research scientists to improve the lives of the visually impaired and veterans.  Professor Gomes is the Chief Scientific Officer at BRAVO VICTOR, Blind Veterans UK Group (
Chris Madaio and Will Hubbard join Secretary Shulkin and Lou to discuss the successes of the GI bill. They also discuss those educational institutions, who for profit motive, have acted as predators towards service members and veterans.  Chris and Will both hold Vice President positions at Veterans Education Success (, a non-profit of bipartisan policy experts, academic researchers, lawyers and advocates dedicated to bridging the military-civilian divide to ensure career and education success for military families.
Dr. Phillip Roe, the former Chairman of the House Veteran Affairs Committee, speaks with Secretary Shulkin and Lou about what he's doing now, what should be a priority for congress with regards to veterans, and what he wishes he could have done while in office.
Brian Jenkins, Executive Director of the Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP), discusses how the arts and comedy makes the lives of veterans (and audiences) better.  You'll also get a chance to hear two great comedians, Clyde Thompson and Adam Keys, two veterans who will bust your gut.
Today, Randy Reeves, the former Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs for the VA, and the former Executive Director for Mississippi's Veteran Affairs Board, shares his understanding and experience being responsible for a State Veteran Home network. He explains the problems that occurred with the Holyoke Soldiers' Home in Massachusetts, and still proclaims that he would prefer living in a Veteran home over a privatized home.
Dr. Ben Suitt joins Secretary Shulkin and Lou to talk about his recent study regarding the shockingly high numbers of veteran suicides. He explains that the recent drop in suicides reported by the VA, might just be a numbers game that doesn't reflect reality.
Today, Cherissa Jackson, Chief Medical Executive at AMVETS (American Veterans), a registered nurse, a veteran and PTSD survivor, discusses her perspective on Cannabis and the impact it is having on the veteran community.  Also, Lou puts the Secretary on the spot regarding his policies while he was VA Secretary.
Today, Secretary Shulkin and Lou speak with AnnMarie Halterman, who is the Executive Director of Uniting Us (, which uses art therapy to support the veteran community as they deal with trauma, physical disability, or life in general. 
In today's special episode, Secretary Shulkin and Lou are joined by General David Petraeus. General Petraeus served Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and before retiring from a 37 year Army career, served as the Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander, U.S. Forces – Afghanistan. He speaks to the tragedy that is occurring in Afghanistan, and provides words of encouragement to veterans who are struggling with the U.S. Withdrawal.
Lou Celli and guest host Charlie Malone, stepping in for Secretary Shulkin this week, are joined by Dr. Linda J. Bilmes, Harvard Kennedy School Professor and the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Public Finance.  This week they talk about the true financial costs of war, which according to her research are woefully understated, and neglect to account for taking care of veterans future needs.
Dr. David Shulkin and Executive Director Lou Celli sit down with Cerner Senior Vice President & General Manager Brian Sandager to talk about the electronic health record modernization project.  What's going well, what didn't go well, and how they plan to fix it going forward.
Recent Afghanistan Ambassador to The United States Roya Rahmani sits down with former Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin Executive Director Louis Celli to describe the final days of democratic Afghan rule as the Taliban move into the Presidential Palace. 
Sherman Gillums joins Secretary Shulkin and Lou Celli to talk about Veteran Service Organizations (VSO's) and what they need to do in order to ensure veterans continue to have a voice.  Sherman has served as a veteran, VSO Executive, and now as an advocate.
Barbara Ashe is the Executive Director for a program that teaches veteran businesses how to tap into the multibillion dollar federal sales market.  The Department of Veterans Affairs 2022 budget request is 270 billion dollars.  Find out how much of that will get spent on goods and services, and what type of priority veteran businesses have when selling to VA.
Zia Ghafoori is a former Afghan interpreter who served with the US Army Special Forces for 14 years.  The Taliban abused his family and the war ended high school when he decided to fight for his country by supporting the United States as an interpreter.  Ghafoori earned a Purple Heart and is now a US citizen advocating for other Afghan workers who stood shoulder to shoulder in Afghanistan.
Comments (1)


Fantastic discussions. Thank you for engaging in this important area.

May 8th
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