Michael J. Kussman, M.D. ’68 – 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

68KussmanMichael Brig. Gen. Michael J. Kussman, M.D. (US Army Ret) completed 37 years of distinguished government service in May, 2009. His last position was Under Secretary for Health for the Veterans Health Administration. He was confirmed by the Senate to this position on May 7, 2007 after having served as Acting Under Secretary for Health since August 12, 2006. As the Under Secretary for Health, he led the Nation’s largest integrated health care system.

VHA provides health care to more than 5.7 million veterans and 7.7 million enrollees. With a medical care appropriation of almost $50 billion, VHA directly employs more than 250,000 health care professionals at more than 1,400 sites of care, including hospitals, community and facility-based clinics, nursing homes, domiciliaries, readjustment counseling centers, and various other facilities. Under his leadership, The VHA made dramatic improvements in the delivery of primary care and mental health. New models of health care delivery were developed making care much more accessible for veterans. Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers were created to meet the needs of recently injured service members.

Dr. Kussman is a native of Troy, N.Y. He earned a Bachelors and Medical degree from Boston University in 1968. He earned a Masters degree in management from Salve Regina University in 1994. Dr. Kussman began his military career in 1970, serving with the 7th Infantry Division in Korea. He left active duty in 1972 to resume medical training at the New England Deaconess Hospital and Joslin Clinic in Boston. From 1974 to 1979, Dr. Kussman worked in private practice in Pittsfield, Mass.

In 1979, Dr. Kussman returned to active duty at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, He later served as Division Surgeon for the 25th Infantry Division, Hawaii. From 1984 to 1988, Dr. Kussman served as chief of the Department of Medicine at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He completed his tour there as Deputy Commander for Clinical Services.

Dr. Kussman became The Army Surgeon General’s chief consultant in Internal Medicine and governor for the Army Region of the American College of Physicians in 1988. He commanded Martin Army Community Hospital at Ft. Benning, Ga., from March 1993 to August 1995, and later commanded the Walter Reed Health Care System in Washington, D.C., where he was promoted to brigadier general.
Following his tour at Walter Reed, Dr. Kussman served as commander of the Europe Regional Medical Command, Command Surgeon for U.S. Army Europe, and TRICARE lead agent for Europe.

Dr. Kussman is a graduate of the Army War College and an honor graduate of the Command and General Staff College. His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal (the highest award given in peace time), Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Order of Military Medical Merit. Dr. Kussman received the prestigious “A” designator from The Army Surgeon General, which identifies professorial rank, and the Laureate Award from the American College of Physicians as well as being selected as a Master of the College. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and serves on the faculty of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences.