Robert L. Jesse, M.D., Ph.D., was appointed Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on July 4, 2010. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Jesse had served as the Acting Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health since March 7, 2010.
In this position, Dr. Jesse leads clinical policies and programs for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), the Nation’s largest integrated health care system. In addition to its medical care mission, VHA is the Nation's largest provider of graduate medical education and a major contributor to medical and scientific research.
Previously, Dr. Jesse was the Chief Consultant for Medical Surgical Services in the VA’s Office of Patient Care Services, also serving as the National Program Director for Cardiology. In this capacity, he implemented broad reforms in the delivery of specialty, sub-specialty and emergency care that have significantly improved the quality of care provided across the VA health care system.
Dr. Jesse received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of New Hampshire in 1974 and later worked as a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health. In 1980, he earned his Ph.D. in Biophysics at the Medical College of Virginia, followed by his M.D. in 1984, completing both his Residency and Cardiology fellowship there.
Dr. Jesse began his career as the Director of the Acute Cardiac Care Program at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Health System. Prior to assuming national leadership positions in VHA, Dr. Jesse was the Chief of the Cardiology Section at the Richmond VA Medical Center in Virginia.
Dr. Jesse has published widely in areas of acute cardiac care, systems management and quality in health care. His basic research has focused on platelet physiology and cardiac biomarkers.
Dr. Jesse is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine with specialty boards in Cardiovascular Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, and has served as a Governor for the College. He is also a Fellow of the American Heart Association and is currently the President of the Richmond Metro Chapter of the American Heart Association. In addition, he holds the rank of tenured Professor of Internal Medicine/Cardiology within the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System.