New director named for VA's Southern Nevada operation

When Isabel Duff took over the reins this week as the new director of the Veterans Affairs Southern Nevada Health Care System, she brought with her a long list of VA experience from Long Beach, Calif., to Livermore, Calif.

She had been serving as acting director of the Southern Nevada Health Care System since May in place of John Bright. He retired after a career that climaxed with last year’s opening of the long-awaited VA Medical Center complex in North Las Vegas that cost $1 billion to build and staff. It was touted as the crown jewel of VA facilities by VA Secretary Eric Shinseki when it opened in August 2012.

Duff had been director of the VA Long Beach Healthcare System since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master degree, both from the University of Arizona. She has served in many positions at VA medical centers including Salt Lake City, Tampa, Fla., and Livermore. She also served as nurse executive for the Northern Arizona VA Healthcare System in Prescott.

With her appointment effective Sept. 15, Duff is now in charge of the North Las Vegas medical center complex and several clinics and facilities in and around the Las Vegas Valley.

An estimated 300,000 veterans live in Nevada. While most reside in Southern Nevada, not all qualify for health care at the North Las Vegas center or satellite clinics.

In a statement Monday, Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., described Duff’s appointment as “welcomed news for our veterans and the success of the Las Vegas hospital and community living center.”

“I look forward to working with her to ensure that Southern Nevada’s veterans receive the highest quality health care in the most efficient way possible,” said Titus, a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

On Sept. 3, Titus wrote Dr. Robert Petzel, the VA Undersecretary for Health, urging him “to quickly appoint” a new director because “it is important that there is a leader who is fully invested in the success of the hospital” as it becomes fully operational.

Contact reporter Keith Rogers at or 702-383-0308.


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