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Department of Veterans Affairs Announces 6 New Advisory, Executive Appointments; Denis McDonough Quoted

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The Department of Veterans Affairs has made six new appointments to fill roles related to the areas of health, benefits, policy, information technology and enterprise integration.

Julia Cardozo, formerly an assistant state’s attorney for Maryland-based Montgomery County, has been appointed to serve as special assistant for policy under the VA secretary’s office, the department said Wednesday. She will support VA’s coordination with other federal agencies and the White House on policy-related efforts.

Kurt DelBene, formerly a Microsoft executive, will oversee VA’s digital transformation and IT assets as the department’s assistant secretary for information and technology. DelBene’s notable works include his contributions to the deployment of the Healthcare.gov website in 2013.

Guy Kiyokawa, formerly deputy director of the Defense Health Agency, will serve as VA’s assistant secretary for enterprise integration. He will advise the VA secretary and agency leadership on enterprise-related matters including risk management, strategic planning, policy, governance, interagency collaboration and data analytics.

Linda Torres, formerly a critical care nurse for the U.S. Army, has been named special assistant to the Veterans Health Administration’s undersecretary for health. She will provide advisory support to VHA’s senior leadership.

Maria Carolina Gonzalez-Prats will also perform an advisory role as special assistant to the Veterans Benefits Administration’s undersecretary for benefits. Her professional career of over two decades includes military service to the U.S. Army, as well as work for nonprofit and private sectors.

Julia Romero Gusse, formerly the director of Arizona State University’s Veterans Upward Bound program, will serve as a senior adviser to the undersecretary for benefits. She formerly served as a cryptologic technician for the National Security Agency.

The six newly appointed executives join VA as Jenny Wang and Shawn Turner step down from their roles at the agency.

“We want to thank Jenny Wang who served as director of mission operations and Shawn Turner who was the senior adviser for strategic engagement,” said Denis McDonough, VA secretary.