WASHINGTON 4/10/17 - Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) today expressed immense relief that the VA position of Executive Director, Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders (SCI/D) System has been filled after remaining vacant for more than one year. The VA announced this week that I. Manosha Wickremasinghe, MD has been appointed to the position, effective immediately.
“This position is critical to the quality of care that Paralyzed Veterans of America members and all veterans with spinal cord injury or disease receive at the VA,” stated Associate Executive Director of Medical Services Lana McKenzie, RN, BSN, CCM, MHA. “The oversight and operational direction this position provides is intended to safeguard the care of a contingent of veterans with the most complex and acute medical needs. We have placed great urgency on having this position filled, and we are pleased to see Secretary Shulkin’s action in appointing Dr. Wickremasinghe.”
Dr. Wickremasinghe most recently served as Chief of the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Center at VA North Texas Health Care System (VANTHCS), and was its SCI Medical Director for three years after practicing as a staff physician in the Center. She also holds an appointment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and board certification in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and sub-specialty certification in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine.
“My vision is for every veteran with a spinal cord injury or disorder (SCI/D) to have the support of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) SCI/D System of Care in optimizing their health and well-being,” stated Dr. Wickremasinghe. “The VHA SCI/D System of Care will support each veteran to participate in life’s activities as fully as possible.”
The VHA system of care is comprised of 23 designated acute Spinal Cord Injury Centers, 7 Spinal Cord Injury Long term care units and trained SCI Primary Care Teams located at more than 100 VA facilities. It is the only healthcare system in the United States that provides lifetime care for persons with SCI/D, expanding the continuum from the time of new injury to end of life care.
“I look forward to accomplishing my vision by advancing a strong partnership with Paralyzed Veterans of America that includes frank and open discussion, collaboration, and close communication,” continued Wickremasinghe.
“As the only veterans service organization that conducts annual site survey visits to the VA SCI Centers, Paralyzed Veterans has worked closely with Dr. Wickremasinghe in her previous position as Chief of the SCI Center in Texas,” concluded McKenzie. “We look forward to continuing that collaboration to ensure every SCI/D veteran is gaining access to the comprehensive life care model the VA has to offer.”