VA’s Head of Modernization Announces Departure

VA’s Head of Modernization Announces Departure

Surafeal Asgedom oversaw extensive digital transformation across three years at the agency.

Surafeal Asgedom, chief modernization officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of Enterprise Modernization (OEI), is departing the agency.

Having arrived at the VA following a career in health care management, including leadership at New York’s Mount Sinai Beth Israel hospital, Asgedom was appointed head of the newly established OEI with a focus on applying his considerable experience toward modernizing the agency’s care programs and service lines.

"We are delivering a stronger future for Veterans," Asgedom wrote in an internal email. "VA Modernization is transforming our business systems, simplifying our operations and empowering our employees to deliver superior customer service. This is essential to honor our promises to Veterans, their families and caregivers."

Asgedom’s tenure at VA OEI was defined by a comprehensive understanding of both the VA’s technical systems and human care networks, and a forward-looking approach to consolidating these for the purposes of better serving America’s veterans. His leadership came during a time of rapid modernization at the VA, where agency decision-makers were focused on overcoming a siloed approach to services in favor of a unified organization that brought care to veterans in a more timely and efficient fashion.

“Simplifying operations is about improving and streamlining the way business operations as well as procedures are done. This will allow us to deliver world-class customer service to our veterans,” Asgedom explained in an interview with GovernmentCIO Media and Research.

In addition to his accomplishments at OEI, Asgedom spoke regularly at technology summits where he displayed sophisticated insights into the relationship between technical systems and human care.

During his tenure, OEI made significant advances in restructuring the VA’s website, especially in consolidating access to various services through a single online portal in ways radically increased reported customer satisfaction. Asgedom also supported numerous forward-looking technical advances at the agency as well, including the newly established National Artificial Intelligence Institute and its broad-reaching electronic health records modernization — initiatives that have shown promise to revolutionize care not just within the VA, but across American health systems as a whole.