Dr. Antonette Zeiss is one of three women psychologists hired at the vA for important leadership posts.
In addition to Zeiss’s appointment, women psychologists
hold two other positions of major leadership in VA Central
Office: Lisa Thomas, PhD, who accepted the post of Veterans
Health Administration chief of staff in July, and Mary Schohn,
PhD, acting director of the Office of Mental Health Operations.
They are among more than 3,700 psychologists working for the
VA as clinicians, researchers and administrators.
And while Zeiss did compete against several psychiatrists
for her job, guild issues did not factor into the choice. She
was simply the perfect fit, says Madhulika Agarwal, MD, the
VA’s deputy under secretary for health for policy and services,
who sat on the committee that hired Zeiss. “She is one of the
most qualified professionals in her area of mental health,” says
Agarwal. “More importantly, she’s an amazing communicator
with a deep understanding of the mental health needs of the
population we serve.”
APA is thrilled by Zeiss’s appointment as well as the
placement of other psychologists in leadership roles at the VA,
says Randy Phelps, PhD, APA’s deputy executive director for
professional practice. “APA has been a longtime advocate of
psychologists for top VA leadership roles,” he says.
In fact, APA successfully advocated for a 1998 VA directive
that removed professional discipline as a qualification for
leadership positions, and for 2003 legislation that classified