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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs


Distinguished Group Selected for CARES Commission

March 3, 2003, 08:00:00 AM

Printable Version

WASHINGTON -- Secretary Anthony J. Principi today announced the appointment of a chairman and 14 members to the independent CARES (Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services) Commission.  The commission will play a critical objective role in assessing proposed CARES initiatives that address the future health care needs of veterans, and how and where the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) can best provide those services.  

“The independent commission will review VA’s capital asset needs and ensure that the concerns of veterans and other stakeholders are fully addressed,” said Secretary Principi.  “The commission will receive recommendations prepared by VA’s under secretary for health, and will consider comments from veterans service organizations, individual veterans, Congress, health care service providers and related affiliates, VA employees, local government entities, community groups and others.”  

The commission held its first public meeting Feb. 19-20 and will continue to hold public hearings both in Washington and across the country.  The commission is expected to present its findings and recommendations to the Secretary in the fall of 2003.

The Honorable Everett Alvarez, Jr., selected to chair the commission, is best known as the first American aviator shot down over North Vietnam.  He was taken prisoner of war in 1964 and held in North Vietnam for more than eight years.  He was the deputy director of the Peace Corps from 1981 to 1982, the deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration from 1982 to 1986 and has held numerous posts in the civilian sector.

Alvarez and the CARES Commission will operate as a federal advisory committee, composed of people with expertise in various aspects of health care and particular interest in the efficient delivery of benefits and services to the nation’s veterans.  All of the administrative actions to officially establish the commission, as required by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, have been taken. 

The members of the commission are Charles Battaglia, former staff director of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs; Dr. Joseph Binard, former VA physician and specialist in spinal cord injury treatment; Raymond Boland, Wisconsin secretary of Veterans Affairs and president of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs; Chad Colley, former national commander of the Disabled American Veterans and a triple amputee from the Vietnam War; Vernice Ferguson, former executive in the VA nursing program; and Dr. John Kendall, dean emeritus and professor of medicine emeritus at Oregon Health and Sciences University.

Also serving are Dr. Richard McCormick, former director of mental health care, VA Health Care System of Ohio; Richard Pell, Jr., former VA chief of staff; Robert A. "Bob" Ray, former American Legion Commander in Ohio; Sister Patricia Vandenberg, former president and chief executive officer, Holly Cross Health System, South Bend, Ind.; Raymond John Vogel, former VA under secretary for benefits; Jo Ann K. Webb, director of federal relations for the American Organization of Nurse Executives; Maj. Gen. Michael Wyrick, former deputy surgeon general, U.S. Air Force; and Al Zamberlan, former VA health care regional director.  Mr. Vogel will also serve as the vice chairman of the commission.

Principi also announced the appointment of the executive director of the commission, Richard E. Larson.  A 29-year federal executive, Larson most recently served as a staff assistant to the secretary.

“Each of these people brings special qualifications to the commission, as well as sensitivity to the commission’s unique mission,” said Principi.  “I am confident that the independent commission’s external assessment of VA’s capital asset needs will ensure that veterans’ and other stakeholders’ concerns are fully addressed.”  

Brief biographies of each commission member are attached.  For more information on the CARES process, please see

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CARES Commission Members

Brief Biographies

Chairman:  The Honorable Everett Alvarez, Jr. 
Everett Alveraz, a distinguished naval officer and government executive, is best known as the first American aviator shot down over North Vietnam.  He was taken prisoner of war and held in North Vietnam for eight and a half years.  He holds a Juris Doctorate from George Washington University School of Law and is a member of the D.C. bar.  He served as the deputy director of the Peace Corps from 1981 to 1982, and deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration from 1982 to 1986.  He then served as the vice president for government services with the Hospital Corporation of America, until he set up his own consulting company, Conwal Inc., of McLean, Va. 

Vice Chairman:  Raymond John Vogel
Vogel has been president of R. J. Vogel and Associates, a consulting company in Venice, Fla. since 2000.  Before 2000, he worked in VA for 33 years in a variety of capacities.  He held the position of director at the medical centers in Bay Pines, Fla., and Charleston, S.C.; served as the under secretary for benefits and as the director of the Veterans Benefits Administration's Regional Office and Insurance Center in Philadelphia and the VBA Regional Office in Portland, Ore.

An Army veteran, Vogel holds a master's of science degree in government administration from George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

Charles Battaglia
Charles Battaglia has more than 35 years of service in the executive and legislative branches of the federal government.  From 1997 to 2000, he served as the staff director of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs where he directed authorization, oversight and legislative activities for veterans health care and benefits.  From the mid-1980s to 1997, Battaglia served as a senior staff member and staff director of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence where he directed congressional oversight and program and budget reviews of all intelligence agencies.  Battaglia also had an extensive career as a naval officer.

Joseph E. Binard, MD, FRCSC
 Joseph Binard is a senior staff research consultant in bioengineering and a clinical instructor of urology at the University of Wisconsin and was an associate clinical professor of urology at the University of South Florida at Tampa until 2000.  He also serves as a consulting urologist for the Oneida Tribe Clinic in Oneida, Wis.  A retired Navy captain, Dr. Binard served as commanding officer in Iceland and Norfolk, Va.  Before retiring from VA in 1996, he served as national director of the Spinal Cord Injury Program in Washington, D.C., and as chief of the Spinal Cord Injury Service at the VA medical centers in Hampton, Va., and Tampa, Fla.

Raymond Boland
Raymond Boland, a Vietnam War veteran, served in the Army for 30 years and has served as the secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs since 1992.  As secretary, he oversees support to Wisconsin’s one-half million veterans through a wide-range of programs including loans, grants, health care and cemetery operations.  He is also recognized as a national advocate for ending homelessness among veterans.

Boland is the current president of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs.  This association provides a forum for the exchange of information and ideas among state veterans organizations, facilitates reciprocal state services, and seeks to secure uniformity, equality, and efficiency in providing services to veterans in all U.S. states and territories.

Chad Colley
Colley has served in numerous positions with veterans associations, including as National Commander of the Disabled American Veterans.  During Vietnam, Colley was serving as commanding officer of an infantry company in the famed 101st Airborne Division when he stepped on a mine.  He lost both legs and an arm.  Three days after surgery, he wrote a letter to his wife that said, "Even though I'm banged up pretty good, I'm still me.  I have a big challenge to undertake now." Some years later, Colley was selected by President Reagan as Handicapped American of the Year, and for nearly three decades has been a real estate broker and public speaker for corporate, governmental and civic entities across the country, often on issues concerning disabled Americans.  Additionally, he is an avid skier, former U.S. Disabled Ski Team member and a double Gold Medallist from the Albertville, France Paralympics.  Colley is from New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

Vernice Ferguson, RN, M.A., F.A.A.N., F.R.C.N.
Vernice Ferguson was senior fellow in the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, holding the Fagin Family Chair in Cultural Diversity from 1993 to 1996.  Before to this position, she served for 12 years as the assistant chief medical director for nursing programs in VA.  In this assignment she was responsible for more than 60,000 nursing personnel.  She also served as the chief nurse at two VA medical centers and as chief of the nursing department at the Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health.

Ferguson is the recipient of eight honorary doctorates and two fellowships:  one in physics and one in alcohol studies.  She was the first chairperson of the Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs (NOVA) Foundation, which supports scholarships and research grants for VA nurses.

John Kendall, MD
 John Kendall is presently the dean emeritus and professor of medicine emeritus, Oregon Health Sciences University.  He is also a VA physician and Academic Affiliations Officer for network 20, covering Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. As dean of medicine at Oregon Health Sciences University from 1983 to 1992, he served as a staff physician in the endocrinology clinic at the VA medical center in Portland

Dr. Kendall has served as a consultant in multiple local and national capacities.  These include president of the Multnomah (Portland) County Medical Society, delegate from Oregon to the American Medical Association, chair of the Medical Schools Section of the AMA.  He was elected to the fellowship in the Royal Society of Medicine and serves as a member of their Endocrinology and Diabetes Section Council.

Richard McCormick, Ph.D.
 Richard McCormick is currently in private practice in Hudson, Ohio.  He also consults on quality assurance issues in mental health.  Dr. McCormick served in VA from 1972 to 2002, in a variety of positions related to the mental health field, including director of the Mental Health Care Line for the VA Health Care System of Ohio and co-chair of the Under Secretary for Health’s Committee on the Care of Veterans with Serious Mental Illness.  He continues to participate in Health Services Research programs on providing care for patients with mental disorders and substance abuse.

Richard Pell, Jr.
Richard Pell, Jr., has served as senior vice president of administration of Genesis Health Ventures since April 1998.  He oversees human resources, law, government relations, public relations, marketing, property management and clinical practice and outcomes.  Before joining Genesis in 1998, Pell was the director of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va., and chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs for nine years.  He received a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970 and a master's degree in health care administration from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, City University of New York in 1975.

Robert A. “Bob” Ray
Bob Ray has more than 37 years of diversified experience in business and with veterans’ issues.  As the state commander of the American Legion in Ohio from 1991-92, Ray was instrumental in reorganizing department headquarters to reduce expenses and improve efficiency.  He has held numerous positions in Ohio that have benefited veterans and is also a life member of AMVETS and the Korean War Veterans Association.

A Navy veteran, Ray’s business experience includes positions with Ford Motor Company, from which he retired as a senior manufacturing engineer in 1996.

Sister Patricia Vandenberg, CSC
Sister Patricia Vandenberg is currently the director of the Health Care MBA program at Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio.  She served as the president and chief executive officer for the Holy Cross Health System, South Bend, Ind., from 1989 to 2000.  In that role, she headed one of the largest and oldest Catholic health systems with more than 30,000 employees, consisting of hospitals, long-term care and residential facilities, ambulatory, diagnostic and surgery centers; and auxiliary enterprises, including a college of nursing, an insurance and benefits administration company, and a physician practice management company.

Sister Vandenberg holds a master's of health administration from Duke University, pursued graduate theological studies from the University of Notre Dame, and has a bachelor's of science degree in nursing from Hunter College of the City University of New York.  She belongs to numerous professional organizations and has published and spoken on health care issues around the world.

Jo Ann K. Webb, RN, MHA
Jo Ann Webb is currently the director of Federal Relations and Policy for the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association.  Webb has held two presidential appointments within the Department of Veterans Affairs as the assistant secretary for policy and planning and as the director of the National Cemetery System.  She is the former legislative director for Senator Tim Hutchinson and the former staff director of the subcommittee on health, for the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  She also served as a consultant and director of health policy for the Paralyzed Veterans of America.  She served as an Army nurse and holds a bachelor's degree from Penn State University and a master's in health administration from George Washington University.  

Webb was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Exceptional Service Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs.  She is an alumni fellow of Penn State University.  She is a member of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, the American College of Health Care Executives and the Society of Sponsors of the United States Navy.  She is the sponsor of the USS Abraham Lincoln, an aircraft carrier home ported in San Francisco, Calif. 

Michael Wyrick, Major General, USAF, Ret.
General Wyrick has 34 years of leadership and management experience in complex health care operations.  He served as the deputy surgeon general of the Air Force Medical Service from 1997 until his retirement in 1999.  He currently is executive director of a nonprofit association with 13 hospitals in northern Virginia, whose mission is to improve emergency preparedness and counter-terrorism measures in northern Virginia.

In addition, General Wyrick is president of the National Capital Region Emergency Response, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. coordinating emergency preparedness efforts in the National Capital Region.  Before then, he was vice president for emergency preparedness with the District of Columbia Hospital Association.  He was the administrator of community and regional hospitals and a major medical center in the Air Force.  As Air Force deputy surgeon general, he was instrumental in reengineering a 55,000-person healthcare organization providing care to 2.4 million beneficiaries. General Wyrick is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and an Honorary Diplomat in the American Academy of Medical Administrators.

Al Zamberlan
Al Zamberlan has an undergraduate degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville and a master degree in health care administration from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He served in the Coast Guard from 1952 to 1958.  Zamberlan has over 37 year of experience in health care management, consulting, strategic planning and new business development.  From 1994 to 1996, he served as vice president of strategic planning for Lockheed Martin Information Management Service, where he worked with VA on major automation efforts.

Zamberlan served in VA from 1962 to 1994 in a variety of positions including the Veterans Health Administration regional director for both the Central Region and the Great Lakes Region.  As regional director, he oversaw the operation of numerous medical centers and clinics in each multi-state region.  He has also served as director at three VA medical centers.  He is a life member of the American College of Health Care Executives (ACHE).

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