Executive Advisor to the Secretary
US Department of Veterans Affairs
Deborah Lafer Scher currently serves as the Executive Advisor to the Secretary, leading a team that initiates, negotiates and executes partnerships with industry to bring substantial external resources and expertise to benefit the VA’s highest priority programs for Veterans. Her team’s mission is to improve Veterans lives through Big, Bold and Impactful collaborations. Deborah also provides guidance to the Secretary on
public/private partnerships to enhance the organization’s strategic mission.
As the largest integrated healthcare system driven by prevention and outcomes, the VA is an ideal innovation partner. Recent partnership commitments have included $50 million to create a prostate cancer system of excellence, $50 million to deliver pharmacogenetic testing, eliminating cell phone data charges for Veterans accessing VA video telehealth, hosting VA telehealth sessions in retail and VSO locations to expand the VA’s healthcare footprint in rural areas and standing up 20+ food pantries at VA medical centers.
Prior to joining the VA, Deborah built successful businesses in multiple healthcare sectors including senior care, academic medical centers, wellness, healthcare information and physician offices, serving as the organization’s chief operating officer, chief strategy officer, lead acquisitions executive and chief administrative officer. Her career includes positions at Weill Cornell Medical Center, Dun & Bradstreet, CareOne, Walsh International and Warburg Pincus. Her work has included improving operations
to accelerate growth and increase value in the private equity sale of a wellness company, launching successful new service lines and turning around a forecasted operating loss at Weill Cornell and the successful growth and sale of a venture backed prescription database competitor to IMS. A quality driven leader, Deborah was selected to serve as a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Examiner, evaluating US companies for performance excellence.
Deborah has an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA in Sociology from Haverford College. Deborah has been a member of the Board of Trustees at Haverford College and President of its Alumni Association. She recently served on the Board of Seeds of Peace and as an advisor to Venture for America.