COVID-19 Pandemic Response – Executive Communications Support



Veterans Health Administration,  Office of the Acting Under Secretary of Health



In January 2021, President Biden released his National Strategy for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic-Preparedness. The National Strategy provides a roadmap that guides America out of the worst public health crisis in a century. It outlines an actionable plan across the federal government to address the pandemic. Serving over 9 million enrolled Veterans, VHA, the nation’s largest healthcare system, employs over 322,000 full time health care professionals and support staff at nearly 1,300 health care facilities located in every state and major metropolitan area in the United States, as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa. VHA is also the nation’s largest provider of graduate medical education and a major contributor of medical science research. The team was selected to assist the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) /VHA to implement the President’s National Strategy through VHA’s national footprint; broad medical/healthcare expertise and services; extensive resource base; and long-term collaborations with private sector entities, academic medical institutions, and the industries that supply medical products, equipment, and services.



Working directly with the VHA’s Acting Under Secretary for Health, Chief of Staff, and Executive Director for Communications, the team developed executive communications products to include COVID-19 related content for official emails, talking points, presentations, op-eds, and social media. As VHA’s focus shifted away from COVID-19 to normal operations, the team’s work evolved to highlight VHA’s overall programmatic achievements through monthly social media campaigns, fact sheets, blogs, and videos. This also includes talking points, remarks, and presentations for the Acting Under Secretary for Health and Chief of Staff for internal and external events such as monthly VA Governing Board meetings and national conferences such as AMSUS, The Society of Federal Health Professionals.



In addition to the COVID-19 related communication support, the team worked with VHA leaders to develop and deploy the “VA Did That?” social media campaign that was launched in 2021 to promote VHA as a national and global leader in health care innovation. Each month, the achievements of selected VHA programs are highlighted through social media posts on VHA’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube). Campaign materials, which include graphics, fact sheets, videos, and blog posts, showcase the positive impact VA care has had on the lives of Veterans and the public. To date, VHA’s Volunteerism, Weight Management, and Diabetes Management Programs have been featured as monthly campaign topics. The December “VA Did That?” social media posts (on the topic of VHA Volunteerism) reached an audience of 420,275 in total.