This week we honor our veterans who have served our country, for which we are very thankful. We are fortunate to have two veterans as our guests today, Dale Gibbs and Dr. Tom Klobucar.
Dale Gibbs is an Army veteran who was wounded in Vietnam. His initial contact with the VA System after discharge was less than ideal, but he is now very proud of the care the VA provides. He is the Chairman of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Rural Health Advisory Committee. He is also a current member of the National Rural Health Association Rural Health Congress and Rural Veterans Task Force.
Dale retired from a healthcare system in Nebraska and Iowa as the Director of Rural Health Services, where he worked to strengthen both owned and independent rural hospitals and providers. His background also includes long-time work in telemedicine services to rural populations, in order to expand access to care. Dale has served on various state and local boards, all related to improving access to quality healthcare.
A retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant, Dr. Thomas F. Klobucar spent his military career first as a Cryptologic Russian Linguist and then as an Arms Control Inspector/Interpreter working on execution of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987 and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) of 1990.
Tom was named Deputy Director of ORH in 2012 and Acting Director in 2016. His current work is focused on increasing access to health care for rural Veterans, providing opportunities for the delivery of virtual health care services into rural Veterans' homes, the expansion of health care provider virtual consultation services in underserved rural areas, and creating strong partnerships with local, state and national organizations to better serve Veterans, their families and the communities where they live. Dr. Klobucar oversees the day-to-day operations of ORH and the management of a broad portfolio, including rural health-focused studies and program assessments. He has overseen the transformation of the ORH electronic reporting system and directed the adoption of innovative and improved processes.
Under his leadership, ORH staff maintains relationships with local, state and federal entities with the goal of creating synergistic programs to enhance access to care and services for rural Veterans and their families. Tom came to VHA in 2010 as a Telehealth Research Associate in the Veterans Rural Health Resource Center, Iowa City, Iowa. Before that, he worked in commercial research and academe, holding faculty appointments at The University of Iowa College of Public Health and The Iowa State University Department of Political Science.