Dr. Joel Kupersmith (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Kupersmith) is Director, Georgetown University Veterans Initiatives and Professor of Medicine. In his varied and accomplished career, Dr. Joel Kupersmith has been a cardiologist, scientist, medical school dean, CEO of a practice plan and leader of the extensive and far-ranging VA medical research program. He has also written and lectured widely on a variety of health policy, veterans and research issues.
Until June 2013, Dr. Kupersmith was the Chief Research and Development Officer of the Veterans Health Administration, where he led VA’s medical research program for 8 years, the longest tenure ever. His major initiative was the Million Veteran Program, which is now the world’s largest genomic database and part of the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative. This initiative has received widespread praise as a major government medical and IT accomplishment.
Dr. Kupersmith has over 170 publications and three books to his name, most recently publishing on health policy issues including comparative effectiveness research, genomics, health systems issues, veterans’ issues and privacy. Dr. Kupersmith was a professor and director of clinical pharmacology at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine; chief of cardiology at the
University of Louisville; chair of Michigan State University’s Department of Medicine; and dean of Texas Tech University’s School of Medicine and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the University’s VP for clinical affairs and CEO of faculty practice. Dr. Kupersmith was subsequently a scholar-in-residence at both the Institute of Medicine and the Association of American Medical Colleges. Among his accomplishments in these positions were research advances in heart disease, the creation of numerous programs and departments, being a major participant in starting a new medical school and advances in medical education. He is a graduate of New York Medical College and completed a cardiology fellowship at Beth Israel Medical Center/Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Kupersmith’s awards include an Alumni Association Distinguished Achievement Award and the Medal of Honor (2019) from New York Medical College and an Affirmative Action Award from the University of Louisville. He has been listed in Who’s Who in America and several others and was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation. As Chairman, Membership and Credentials Committee, Council on Clinical Cardiology, American Heart Association (1991-94), Dr. Kupersmith led the AHA to adopt the title of Fellow, Council on Clinical Cardiology, American Heart Association for deserving members. He has also been on many federal councils and national committees including the Governing Council of the AMA Medical School Section; Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research; NIH Council of the National Center for the Advancement of Translational Science; National Science and Technology Council Committee on Homeland and National Security; and, the Council of Science of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Under Dr. Kupersmith’s transformational leadership as VA’s Chief Research and Development Officer, his accomplishments had influence well beyond the VA Besides the Million Veteran Program, accomplishments included introducing innovative, ways of doing health services and clinical research with widespread implications; initiating many pioneering research projects especially for returning Veterans; initiating a Central Institutional Review Board; creating a sophisticated Communications Section; establishing new close collaborative efforts with the Department of Defense, NIH and others within and outside of government; and, substantial
improvements in VA’s research administration and infrastructure. In addition, a component of the Office of Research and Development won a 2010 Presidential Baldrige Award for quality and performance, only the second government entity ever to do so.
In his current position as Director of Veterans Initiatives and Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University, Dr. Kupersmith has undertaken a variety of educational initiatives including electives for students, lectures, writings and seminars on veterans issues. In research, Dr. Kupersmith has received $1.2 million funding from VA for a collaborative AI and NLP project on opioid use in VA, health plans and several universities.
With Gen. (Ret.) George Casey, former Army Chief of Staff, Dr. Kupersmith developed the Veteran’s Creed a statement of principles veterans. Under Dr. Kupersmith’s leadership, 17 major veterans’ organizations (including the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars
and the Wounded Warrior Project) have officially adopted it and it has been recited by veterans in ceremonies and other circumstances and is on the walls of veterans’ halls around the country.
Along with a Professor of Anthropology and the Chief VA Historian, Dr. Kupersmith established a course at Georgetown University for second year students entitled “Veterans: Hero, Victim, Threat.” Courses about veterans’ issues are unique for a major university and there are a number of senior government officials as speakers.