Sunday, March 30th marks National Doctors’ Day—a time when we recognize physicians, their work, and their contributions to the health care community. We are grateful for the more than 14,000 physicians who work at VA and are proud to have provided medical training to over half of the practicing physicians in the U.S.!
Today, we are highlighting the inspiring story of Dr. Brian Hayes, a Veteran and VA physician with a passion for serving Veterans.
Dr. Brian Hayes is the Associate Chief of Staff for the VA Northern California Health Care System (VANCHCS). He provides medical expertise to the VA’s integrated health care delivery system, which offers a comprehensive array of medical, surgical, rehabilitative, mental health and extended care to Veterans in northern California. He is also the physician liaison to David Grant Medical Center.
Dr. Hayes’ prestigious career had humble beginnings. He grew up as an Army brat, one of ten children to loving parents who met in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father served for 29 years in the Army and Brian credits his parents for embedding in him the importance of a life of service and core values of Faith, Family and Profession, in that order. Growing up in a large family, he learned early not to make money his goal in life. With a solid foundation behind him and the help of an ROTC Scholarship, he went to college and on to medical school.
The eight-year commitment to the military fit in well with Brian’s desire to serve. For the next fourteen years, he served in various leadership positions with the US Air Force around the world at the Flight, Squadron, and Group levels. In 2009, Dr. Hayes was selected to command the Air Force’s Flagship Medical Center, David Grant Medical Center. He retired from the Air Force in 2012 at the rank of Colonel after twenty-two years of honorable service.
As Brian neared the end of his military career, he had a sense that he wanted to take care of those with whom he shared active duty. “I felt deeply that my mission was to serve my wounded brothers and sisters. I wanted to give them the best care anywhere and have fun doing it!”
Brian discovered that a move to VA offered many benefits for Physicians that fit in perfectly with his work/life balance, including almost a month of leave every year. He joined a team that allows him to practice quality medicine while providing care for the whole veteran in a technologically advanced environment. VA has the best electronic medical records in the nation, which increases the quality of care, and with telemedicine and e-consults, he finds it helpful to get professional feedback from his colleagues in real-time.
If you haven’t already noticed, Brian has a great passion for Veterans, and feels a connection with his band of brothers and sisters. “If I’ve had a long day, and there is a Veteran waiting to see me, I remind myself of the debt of gratitude I owe them and how, in some small way, I can repay it by getting them to their optimal health. The Veterans we serve – they motivate me – they have walked on the moon, been Presidents of the United States, served in Congress, been CEOs – it’s important to keep Veterans serving so everyone can see the quality that Veterans bring to the workforce and this country.”
Brian found a perfect fit for him as a Physician with VA. He encourages anyone yearning to live a fulfilling life with a foundation of service to consider a career at VA. “One of the greatest gifts our Veteran service organizations can give our Veterans is to guide them to their educational benefits and find a job they love so they can continue to inspire Americans throughout the ages.”
Dr. Hayes earned a Masters of Public Health Degree from Harvard University and a Masters of Strategic Studies from the Air Force’s Air University. He completed residencies in Aerospace Medicine and General Preventive Medicine & Public Health, and was board certified in both specialties by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He is married with four children and a dog named Jake. Brian’s contributions are inspiring, but he would say it’s just his way to show his gratitude for our Nation’s treasures, our Veterans.
If you’re interested in a career as a physician at VA, visit VAcareers.va.gov to learn more.