THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON NAMES KENNETH KIZER AS UNDER SECRETARY FOR HEALTH IN THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
President Clinton has formally submitted to the Senate the nomination of Dr. Kenneth W. Kizer as Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Dr. Kizer, 43, currently chairs the Department of Community and International Health at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine and Clinical Toxicology in the Department of Internal Medicine. He also is an Adjunct Professor of Public Administration at the University of Southern California.
"Dr. Kizer brings a wide range of clinical and administrative expertise to the VA at a time when tested leadership will be crucial to the Department's success in the framework of national health care reform," the President said.
A veteran and former Navy "frogman," Dr. Kizer's confirmation by the Senate would place him in charge of the Veterans Health Administration, the nation's largest health care system.
As head of the VA medical system, Dr. Kizer would oversee a nationwide staff of 205,000 and a current budget of nearly $16 billion. The system comprises 171 hospitals, more than 360 outpatient clinics, 128 nursing homes, and 35 domiciliaries. An estimated 2.7 million veterans receive care from the VA annually.
In addition to providing acute and chronic medical care for veterans, VA has an active program of medical research, affiliations with 104 medical and 48 dental schools, and statutory responsibility as a backup to the Department of Defense medical care system.
Dr. Kizer earned both his medical degree, with honors, and a master of public health degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1976, following graduation from Stanford University in 1972. He has medical specialty board certification in emergency medicine, medical toxicology, occupational medicine, and general preventive medicine and public health. He is nationally recognized for his expertise in environmental health issues, emergency medicine and public health.
Dr. Kizer's administrative background includes serving as Director of California's Emergency Medical Services Authority. Chief of Public Health for California, and for more than six years the Director of California's Department of Health Services, the nation's largest state health agency. In this latter capacity, he oversaw more than 150 health care, public health and environmental protection programs.
During his record tenure as California's top health official, Dr. Kizer was responsible for developing and implementing a number of programs that have achieved national or international acclaim. He also was instrumental in the development and enactment of many of the state legislative and administrative changes that have led to substantial restructuring of health care delivery in California and which have been cited as models for national health care reform.
Dr. Kizer also is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of The California Wellness Foundation, one of the nation's largest philanthropies, and he sits on the board of several other non-profit organizations.