Jagadeesh S. Kalavar, M.D. was appointed the chief of staff of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) in March 2009. In this post, Kalavar, who has been with the Department of Veterans Affairs since 1991, serves as the MEDVAMC’s senior medical officer responsible for all clinical care and programs at the medical facility in Houston and the outpatient clinics.
Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Kalavar received his medical degree from Madras University in Madras, India in 1979. He completed his internship and post graduate training in India and performed his residency at Christ Hospital and Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Kalavar is also an associate professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and a member of the American College of Physicians.
Kalavar started his VA career as a staff physician in 1991 at Colmery O’Neil VA Medical Center in Topeka, Kansas. He was appointed director of Primary Care Service Line in 1998 and selected as director of Primary Care Service Line for Eastern Kansas Health Care System in 2000. He joined MEDVAMC in 2001 as the Primary Care Director and served as Chief of General Medicine Section from 2006 to 2009. In this capacity, he was responsible for one of the largest primary care programs within the VA health care system.
As the director of the MEDVAMC Patient Reception Team (PRT), Kalavar coordinated the movement of supplies, equipment, and personnel to Ellington Field in 2005 to respond to Hurricane Katrina. With the first C-130 Air National Guard military transport aircraft arriving at 9 p.m. on August 31, the MEDVAMC PRT medically triaged almost 800 patients from 21 flights in the next five days. The patients, ranging from a 4-month-old to the very elderly, suffered from dehydration and fatigue. The team saw a variety of medical conditions including recent organ transplants, blood clots, ventilator-dependent patients, obstetric emergencies, heart attacks, emergency dialysis, infections, and strokes. In two weeks, the MEDVAMC admitted more than 100 patients from the hurricane-affected areas.
Kalavar is the recipient of Houston Federal Executive Board 2006 Excellence in Government Award and was recognized in 2011 as a Patriotic Employer by the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.