Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs
Dr. Poonam L. Alaigh
Acting Under Secretary for Health
Dr. Poonam Alaigh is the Acting Under Secretary for Health. As the Acting Under Secretary for Health, Dr. Alaigh directs a health care system with an annual budget of approximately $61 billion, overseeing the delivery of care to more than 9 million enrolled Veterans. VA, the nation's largest health care system, operates more than 1,200 sites of care, including hospitals; community based outpatient clinics; nursing homes; domiciliaries; and 300 Vet Centers. VHA is the nation's largest provider of graduate medical education and a major contributor to medical and scientific research. More than 73,000 active volunteers, 123,000 health professions trainees, and 306,000 full time health care professionals and support staff are an integral part of the VHA community.
Dr. Alaigh previously served as the Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Health (USH) and the executive sponsor of the MyVA access initiative. Through her leadership and guidance she has been a core member of the VHA executive leadership team executing the largest transformation to meet the top priority of the USH, improving access to care for all Veterans.
Dr. Alaigh has a multifaceted background in health care administration and delivery, including clinical practice, hospital practice, hospital administration, managed care, pharmaceutical medicine, and healthcare policy. Her previous roles include co-founder of one of the largest Accountable Care Organization (ACOs) in the country, the Atlantic Accountable Care Organization in New Jersey. She was also the CEO and President of Alaigh Care Associates LLC, a national healthcare consulting company leading in the implementation of healthcare reform including health insurance exchanges, healthcare integration strategies, rebalancing post-acute care and health information technology. In her role as Commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services of New Jersey she oversaw a department that was responsible for health care policy, public health, senior care and quality with regulatory responsibility of all the healthcare institutions in NJ. Prior to that she was the Executive Medical Director at Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey where she was responsible for operations in all the major clinical areas to ensure the delivery of quality, cost effective healthcare for its members. Dr. Alaigh has served as National Medical Director for GlaxoSmithKline where she worked with health plans on a number of national issues, including better use of health care technology, the reduction of disparities in health care, and improving healthcare access to under and uninsured populations.
Dr. Alaigh continues her clinical work at the Lyons campus of the VA New Jersey Health Care System providing direct patient care. She is a board certified internist with a specialty in vascular diseases having completed her residency in internal medicine along with a Masters in Health Care Policy and Management at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, NY. She is a certified black belt in six-sigma business management strategy, has a number of publications and achievements, and is a nationally recognized healthcare leader.