Dr. Matthew “Matt” Rettig arrived at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) on a subspecialty fellowship in hematology and oncology at the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center. Twenty years later, he is chief of the department.
At VA, Dr. Rettig specializes in putting research into practice by taking promising approaches from the lab and testing them in clinical research trials.
He says choosing a VA career has meant being able to academically collaborate with colleagues across medicine and research and educate the next generation of doctors to care for Veterans.
“There are all kinds of career paths that one can take,” Dr. Rettig says in a video. “One can be a clinician or one can be a clinician educator and get involved not only in clinical management of patients but get deeply rooted in the education of other young trainees at all kinds of levels.”
Choosing a VA career for the future of patient care for Veterans
As a clinical educator at VA, Dr. Rettig enjoys working with graduate students, medical residents and postgraduate fellows on basic, clinical and health systems research. He likes that his VA career lets him nurture the future leaders of research and medicine and improve the quality of patient care for Veterans.
And the research environment is rich thanks to VA’s most exciting tool: its electronic health record.
“The medical record system is fantastic,” he says. “It facilitates all kinds of aspects of patient care — not only standard of care, but also research.”
Seeing Veteran patients who’ve impacted history
Dr. Rettig is advancing the future of medicine by caring for many Veteran patients who have impacted history.
“I just met a Veteran the other day who was in the first wave of the landing on Normandy,” he says. “It was really special and unique almost to see these patients who have played a major role in our history.”
For that reason, “I always make it a point whenever I see a new Veteran patient to look up their military history,” Dr. Rettig notes. “I see many of them still who are World War II Veterans.”
Choose VA today
“I think it’s a gift to be able to work here,” Dr. Rettig says of his VA healthcare career.
See if VA is the right career choice for you too.