Dr. Irene Trowell-Harris, R.N. Ed.D., Maj Gen, USAF Ret.
Dr. Irene Trowell-Harris is the former Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Women Veterans. In this role, she was the primary advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on legislation, programs and issues related to women Veterans. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Trowell-Harris served as Director of VA’s Office of Inspector General’s Healthcare Inspections Regional Office in Washington DC. In this position, she directed a multidisciplinary staff of inspectors responsible for conducting oversight reviews to improve the economy, effectiveness, and efficiency of VA’s programs.
Dr. Trowell-Harris served 38 years in the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard (ANG), retiring as a Major General in September 2001. She was the first female and nurse to command a medical clinic and first African-American female in the history of the National Guard to be promoted to general officer. She is also the first to have a mentoring award and a Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., Chapter named in her honor. Dr. Trowell-Harris is the recipient of numerous awards, most notably the Air Force Distinguished Service and Legion of Merit awards; the Dr. James D. Weaver Society Award, named for the distinguished Pennsylvania Congressman and Air National Guard Flight Surgeon; the Eagle Award from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for her contributions to aviation; the Air Force Association’s National Aerospace Award for Department of Veterans Affairs Employee of the Year 2010, given for the most outstanding performance of duty as a VA employee and her consistent dedication to the well being of our Veterans, the VA Outstanding and Invaluable Service to the Community Award; and numerous Outstanding Performance awards. She is a Distinguished Alumna of Yale University and Columbia University, and was inducted into the Columbia University Nursing Hall of Fame and the Yale University School of Medicine Honor Roll for her dedication to public service. She was honored as one of the “21 Leaders of the 21st Century” by Women’s eNews in NYC.