The secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs is trying to woo medical students in Vermont and New Hampshire into careers with the VA.
Secretary Robert McDonald met with 200 students at the University of Vermont College of Medicine on Monday and then traveled to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire, to meet with students there.
"All of us in the VA have got to get the word out that the VA is a great place to work -- that this country could not without the VA and the VA has the best patients possible," McDonald said at UVM. "That's why I'm traveling the country, to get the word out."
McDonald touted new federal funding he says has allowed him to raise "salary bands" for physicians and dentists, and double the student loan forgiveness benefit the agency offer, now $120,000 per recruit.
The mammoth federal agency cares for 6 million U.S. veterans and their families annually. McDonald said he is particularly concerned about a shortage of mental health professionals.