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About us

At the VA San Diego Healthcare System, we’re dedicated to improving the lives of Veterans and their families every day.

About the VA San Diego Healthcare System

The VA San Diego Healthcare System provides you with outstanding health care, trains America’s future health care providers, and conducts important medical research.  

Health care and services

We provide you with health care services at various locations in and around San Diego. Facilities include our San Diego VA Medical Center and community-based outpatient clinics in Chula Vista, Escondido, El Centro, Kearny Mesa, Oceanside, and Sorrento Valley. We also operate a domiciliary facility that provides state-of-the-art residential care to Veterans who need extended care and rehabilitation for recovery, health maintenance, improved quality of life, and a smooth transition back into their communities. To learn more about the services each location offers, visit the VA San Diego health services page.

The VA San Diego Healthcare System is one of the leading health care systems serving Veterans in the VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network. We’re an innovative care center within the Veterans Integrated Service Network 22 (VISN 22). VISN 22 includes medical centers and clinics in Arizona, California, Colorado, and New Mexico.  

Learn more about VISN 22 

Research and development

At the VA San Diego Healthcare System, we conduct research to discover knowledge, develop VA scientists and health care leaders, and create innovations that advance health care for Veterans and the nation. We offer Veterans the opportunity to participate in and benefit from our work. Our goal is to use research to promote better health and health care for all. 

Our research and development service is one of the largest research programs in the Department of Veterans Affairs. In FY2021, we received over $44.2 million in research funding and had more than 200 active investigators working on over 650 active projects.  

Several of our investigators have received the William S. Middleton Award–the highest national VA research award–for their contributions to the study of kidney function, HIV/AIDS, alcohol/drug addiction, and memory. 

Teaching and learning

San Diego VA Medical Center is a teaching hospital that provides a full range of health services for Veterans, with state-of-the-art technology as well as education and research.  

Our medical center is primarily affiliated with the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. We also have a partnership with San Diego University through the VA Nursing Academy, which provides funding to help VA health care facilities nationwide expand and strengthen their nursing programs.

Every year, we provide training for 1,271 medical interns, residents and fellows, as well as 331 other clinical trainees, in areas such as nursing, pharmacy, dental and dietetics.

We’re proud of our partnerships with top institutions and organizations that support the educational mission of the VA. 

Fast facts

  • The VA San Diego Healthcare System serves the health care needs of about 89,500 Veterans in the San Diego and Imperial Valley counties in California. Our health services are available to more than 244,541 Veterans who live in the area.  

  • The San Diego VA Medical Center opened in February 1972. When it first opened, the hospital provided emergency medical support after an earthquake caused extensive damage throughout the Los Angeles area.   

  • Our medical center is located on 26 acres of what was once Camp Calvin B. Matthews, a Marine Corps rifle range. 

  • VA San Diego Healthcare System has 296 authorized beds, including skilled nursing beds. We also operate several regional referral programs, including cardiovascular surgery and spinal cord injury.  

  • The facility also supports three Vet Centers at the following locations: Chula Vista, San Diego, and San Marcos.

Accreditations and achievements

Our facilities and programs have received accreditation from the: 

  • The Joint Commission
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF): Aspire Center, Spinal Cord Injury, Medical Rehabilitation, Wellness and Vocational Rehabilitation Enhancement, Homeless Veterans Programs, and Substance Abuse
  • Recovery and Rehabilitation Treatment Program
  • College of American Pathologists
  • American College of Radiology (ACR): Mammography, CT and MRI
  • American Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC)
  • American College of Emergency Physicians Geriatric Emergency Department Accreditation 
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • American Association of Blood Banks (AABB)
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Registered Blood Bank and Mammography Program
  • Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act (CLIA)
  • Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) 

The VA San Diego Healthcare System has received the following awards: 

  • Top Research Award
    Dr. Kirk Hammond, recipient of the VA Biomedical Research & Development Senior Clinician Scientist Investigator Award for his work on gene transfer to treat heart failure and insulin resistance.
  • Robert L. Jesse Award for Excellence in Innovation
    Dr. Leonie Heyworth, VA Director of Synchronous Telehealth, received the 2020 Robert L. Jesse Award for Excellence in Innovation.
  • 2020 VHA Environmental Programs Service - EMS Manager of the Year Award
    Ethan Woods, Acting Chief of EMS, received the VHA EMS Manager of the Year Award.
  • Energy Star Award
    San Diego VA Medical Center (SDVA) earned the highly sought-after ENERGY STAR award for the 10th year.

Annual reports and newsletters

Annual Reports

Newsletters