Birmingham, Alabama VA Health Care System
BVAHCS Employee Nationally Recognized for 50 Years
The Department of Veterans Affairs recently recognized Geneva Robinson of the Birmingham VA Health Care System (BVAHCS) with a lifetime achievement award for her 50 years of service of improving the Patient Experience for VA’s Veteran patients.
Geneva started working for the VA in 1971 and became the first patient advocate at the Birmingham VA Medical Center in 1985. Geneva prides herself on being able to help guide Veterans through the VA system, “I have so many memories of so many patients, it’s so hard to tell it all. I have loved every minute of it.”
Geneva’s love for serving Veterans shines through, which is why many Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors consider Geneva a part of their family and request her presence at family functions.
Being the first patient advocate, I felt proud," Geneva exclaimed. "I spoke for them."
The award was announced during a national virtual VA Patient Experience Awards event which replaced this year’s VA Patient Experience Symposium, attended by more than 400 VA health care leaders in 2019 for the sole purpose of sharing best practices and improving customer experience at VA health care facilities across the nation.
‘These Patient Experience Awards recognize those in the Veterans Health Administration who are helping lead the way in customer service, helping lead the way in care and innovations that are nationally recognized for the significant, tangible improvements they bring to Veterans’ healing,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie.
The award was created to honor the BVAHCS’s late Medical Center Director, Thomas C. Smith, who served from 2013 to 2018. In Birmingham, “Mrs. Geneva”, the first recipient of the Thomas C. Smith Leadership Award, is well respected and shares knowledge with the entire staff.
“It is fitting that Geneva receive this award due to her half-century of service and dedication to America’s Heroes. During her 50-years of service, she embodied the many qualities that this award stands for. We are also honored to know that Mr. Thomas Smith’s wife, JoDean was grateful to have this recognition awarded to Geneva and even viewed the award being presented with several of her family members,” said BVAHCS Director Stacy Vasquez.
Many Veterans, family members and co-workers provided congratulatory comments on the recognition and Geneva’s commitment:
“You are truly a genuine advocate for the patients. Thank you for your service to all veterans. You deserve the award.” – Constance Moore
“Geneva is an awesome person and well deserving of this award. Thanks for the outstanding service to the veterans and the ability to resolve issues. She is appreciated. I have known her many years and she is such a caring person.” – Teresa Bonner Raby
“Geneva has truly made a difference. Such a compassionate person.” – Amanda Redman
“One of the most wonderful women I’ve ever had the pleasure to know. Ms Geneva is a true patriot and supporter of all veterans. Love her with all my heart, literally.” Al Watters
“Geneva is an amazing lady, both an advocate for us veterans and a wonderful coworker.” – Ray Whittaker
Learning from best practices in both VA and private sector, VA has created and implemented several VA Patient Experience tools to ensure every employee is trained and focused on providing Veterans not only with the care they need, but also with care that is delivered in an exceptional and consistent manner.
While the Department of Veterans Affairs continues to address the critical care needs of Veterans and their families during the pandemic – VA employees are constantly innovating to provide the best possible patient experience.
For more information on VA Patient Experience or the VA Veterans Experience Office visit: https://www.va.gov/ve/.