Department of Veterans Affairs

Council Member: The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs


Council Designee: Irene Trowell-Harris, R.N., Ed.D., Director, Department of Veterans Affairs, Center for Women Veterans

Irene Trowell-Harris, R.N. Ed.D., is the Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Center for Women Veterans. In this role, she is the primary advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on programs and issues related to women veterans. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Trowell-Harris served as Director of VA’s Office of Inspector General’s Healthcare Inspections Regional Office in Washington, D.C. Concurrent with her position in VA’s Office of Inspector General, Dr. Trowell-Harris served 38 years in the U.S. Air Force/Air National Guard (ANG), retiring as a Major General in September 2001. During her military career, Dr. Trowell-Harris held numerous positions, including chief nurse executive; flight nurse examiner; commander; advisor for nursing and readiness; assistant to the director, ANG; and military representative to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services for the ANG. She was a 1997 Air Force representative for the Committee on Women in the NATO Forces Conference held in Istanbul, Turkey.

Dr. Trowell-Harris is an adjunct graduate faculty member at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and serves as an ex-officio member to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services for VA. She also served as a senior policy specialist for the American Nurses Association.

Born in Aiken, S.C., Dr. Trowell-Harris is a graduate of Columbia Hospital School of Nursing, Jersey City State College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in health education. She earned a master’s degree in public health from Yale University and a doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

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