Joan A. Furey was appointed the Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs' Center for Women Veterans in May 1995. In this post, she is the primary advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on all women veterans' issues and the effectiveness of VA programs, practices, and policies designed to address them.
Ms. Furey began her VA career in 1978 as a staff nurse at the Bay Pines, Florida, VA Medical Center and over the next 10 years was promoted to more responsible positions in nursing administration. In 1989, she was appointed the associate director of education for the VA's National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at the Palo Alto, California, Medical Center, where she was instrumental in establishing the first inpatient PTSD treatment program for women veterans.
Ms. Furey has authored numerous articles about significant issues affecting women veterans, is a frequent presenter before professional organizations, and has testified before Congress. She is nationally recognized for her expertise in PTSD in women who have survived trauma. With former Army nurse Lynda Van Devanter, she co-edited an anthology of poetry by women who served in Vietnam, Visions of War: Dreams of Peace, published by Warner Books in 1991.
In recent years Ms. Furey was selected to receive three prestigious national awards recognizing her individual achievements in public service. She was the recipient of the 1998 National Public Service Award, jointly sponsored by the National Association of Public Service Administrators and the Academy of Public Service Administrators. Also in 1998 she received the Common Cause Public Service Achievement Award, given annually to a public servant who "by force of imagination, initiative and perseverance has made an outstanding contribution to the public interest in the areas of government performance and integrity." In 1999 she was the recipient of the Women Executives in State Government "Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award."
Ms. Furey graduated in 1967 from the Pilgrim State Hospital School of Nursing in Brentwood, New York. The following year she enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps and served as a lieutenant at the 71st Evacuation Hospital in Pleiku, Vietnam, in 1969- 70. She was awarded a Bronze Star for meritorious achievement. Following her service in Vietnam, she returned to school and earned her bachelor of science degree in nursing from the State University of New York at Stony Brook; and a master of arts in nursing from New York University, where she was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing.
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