Linda Spoonster Schwartz, DrPH, MSN, RN, USAF (Ret), has a long history of involvement in nursing and veteran organizations. She is an advocate and activist who devoted her nursing practice to healing the wounds of war and improving the lives of America’s tweny-four million veterans. Her perspectives as a nurse and veteran have earned her the respect and trust of veterans, Congressional leaders and government officials alike. On numerous occasions, she has provided testimony on veteran issues to both Houses of Congress, the National Academy of Science, the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of State. Dr. Schwartz was a member of the United States Air Force (1967-1986) and served on Active Duty and as a Reservist. She retired in 1986 after sustaining injuries in an aircraft accident while serving as a USAF Flight Nurse and holds the rank of Colonel on the Governor’s Military Staff.
She received a Masters in Nursing from Yale and holds a Doctorate in Public Health from the Yale School of Medicine. She is currently a Consultant, National Women Veteran Study, US Department of Veterans Affairs and Connecticut Veterans Needs Assessment sponsored by Center for Public Policy and Social Research at Central Connecticut State University. Her other research activities include Principle Investigator “The Vietnam Nurse Health Study:” Yale School of Nursing, Department of Defense, TriService Nursing Research Program and Principle Investigator, Health Problems of Women Veterans of the Vietnam War. She served seven years on the US Department of Veterans Affairs Scientific Advisory Committee Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study and Co-Chair of the Connecticut General Assembly Study of the “Effects of Depleted Uranium on Gulf War Veterans”. From 2001-2004 she was a member of the National Institute of Environmental Health (NIEHS) U.S. – Vietnam Scientific Committee negotiating and planning an International Conference on Human Health and Environmental Effects of Agent Orange/Dioxins. NIEHS funded her for the Yale Vietnam Conference. She has served as President of the Connecticut Nurses Association and Connecticut Nurses Foundation. She has been elected to the National Board of Directors of the American Nurses Association, Vietnam Veterans of America and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. From 1989-1998, she served in several advisory positions to the US Secretary of Veterans Affairs which included the issues of Readjustment of Combat Veterans, Homeless Veterans, Women Veterans and Seriously Mentally Ill Veterans.
She has received numerous honors including the National Commendation Medal of Vietnam Veterans of America for Justice, Integrity and Meaningful Achievement; Legion of Honor Bronze Medallion from the Chapel of the Four Chaplains for her services to all people, regardless of race or faith; and inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in 2004. She was elected to the American Academy of Nursing in 2001. She is presently the Vice President and Chairman of Health Care for the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs. In 2008 the Governor tapped her to Chair the Connecticut Veterans Memorial Foundation. She holds an appointment as Associate Clinical Professor of Nursing at the Yale University School of Nursing. In 2005 she applied for and received a $22 million matching grant from the US Department of Veterans Affairs to construct the John L. Levitow Health Center, dedicated in 2008, which provides care to 125 veterans with chronic disease. She has served as Commissioner of The Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs since 2003. In 1863 Connecticut began its services to veterans; Dr. Schwartz is the first woman in the history of the Home to be appointed to administrate these programs.