Thanks in large part to Dr. Donna Ames, Los Angeles Veterans diagnosed with mental health disorders can access treatments at VA that go well beyond traditional medication, extending to acupuncture, yoga and tai chi.

Dr. Ames’s choice of a VA career in psychiatry has allowed her to champion a holistic approach to caring for the Veteran patients she and her team see at the Psychosocial Recovery and Rehabilitation Center (PRRC) at VA West Los Angeles Medical Center.

“The PRRC program is a holistic approach to the treatment of mental illness,” Dr. Ames explained in a video. “I am just thrilled to work here at the VA because there is just so much opportunity and openness to trying innovative things and prioritizing the patient at the center of care.”

Choosing VA for a holistic and innovative approach to care

Dr. Ames chose VA for her career after she completed her psychiatry training because of the health system’s patient-centered care model and spirit of innovation.

She’s an avid proponent of developing patient-focused, individualized care and education plans for each Veteran she sees. These manageable plans lay out small steps that can lead to big impacts on health.

Over her 26-year career, Dr. Ames has had a front row seat as VA pioneered this innovative care philosophy. “It’s really been remarkable seeing this journey the VA has taken,” she says. “And it’s been a personal journey for me, too.”

Her program focuses on the rehabilitation of the whole Veteran — providers ask Veterans about life goals in addition to health goals.

“We focus on what’s right with them and what their dreams are,” Dr. Ames says. “And we build an individualized educational program around what the Veteran wants.”

Supporting research and teaching

Dr. Ames also appreciates the flexibility and freedom to combine patient care with research and teaching.

“It’s a wonderful place to work — supportive of research, supportive of teaching and any kind of innovations that you’re interested in that are Veteran-centered. It’s really a unique opportunity to work here.”

A commitment of service drives Dr. Ames and her colleagues to deliver the best possible care to patients.

“I roll up my sleeves, and I lead by doing. I lead by service. And I think at the core, you have to want to serve. And I feel very privileged to serve those who’ve served us,” Dr. Ames says.

Choose VA today

A spirit of innovation and focus on patient-centered care have provided Dr. Ames with a meaningful and fulfilling healthcare career as a psychiatrist at VA.

See if VA is the right career choice for you, too.

 WATCH Dr. Donna Ames describe why she chose a VA career.
 EXPLORE a VA career in the mental health field.
 APPLY for an open position near you.
 LEARN how to Choose VA at

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Published on Nov. 1, 2018

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