Serving Those Who Serve: Journey to Veterans Affairs Medical Center CEO for Kathy Fogarty, C’82

Topeka, Kansas City, Sioux Falls, Houston, Oklahoma City, Fayetteville, Jackson, Biloxi, Shreveport, Tampa, Phoenix—Kathy Fogarty has been on the move for the past 33 years. Her journey began with the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in 1983 when she assumed her position as a clinical dietitian in Topeka, Kan. Serving with the VA started as a promise she made to her dad while in graduate school, after rejecting his idea to join the military.

After just two years in Topeka, she headed to Kansas City where she began to pave the way into higher administration. Approached by the chief dietitian at the time, his advice of “don’t say no” would shape her incredible journey to CEO

Kathy surrendered her clinical dietitian position and became a wage-grade supervisor—learning how to hire, fire, manage construction, and order supplies.

Proving she could handle the role, the VA moved her 400 miles from“home ” to Sioux Falls, S.D. as chief of nutrition and food service—with three (of her five) kids and a “trailing spouse” in tow.

From that point forward, every five years, the Fogarty house would pack up and head out on a new adventure—filling the VA’s next greatest need.Whenever the next leadership need struck, the VA called on Kathy.

Hurricanes, war, capital campaigns, and special projects—Kathy proved to be fearless (and successful) in the face of adversity. To say Kathy is accomplished would be an understatement. She’s balanced$42 million deficits, opened clinics in underserved areas, constructed and opened the newest state-of-the-art rehabilitation unit for polytrauma and traumatic brain injury patients, implemented the first United Service Organizations (USO) room in a VA hospital, built the first climbing wall to accommodate polytrauma patients with disabilities (like spinal cord injuries), and added pools and a ReWalk suit (a bionic walking assistance system) to the VA’s repertoire of therapy services.

In all the moves, the highs and lows, challenges and celebrations, Kathy has always placed the health of our veterans first. She is the epitome of a Saint Marian using her God-given talents to truly impact the world and serve its greatest needs.

Kathy has finally made it back “home”—serving as CEO at the Kansas City VA Medical Center and as a blessing on USM’s Board of Trustees.

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