David “Clay” Ward serves as the Rural Desk Officer for VA’s Office of Rural Engagement (ORE), an office within the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. As the Rural Desk Officer, Clay leads the VA in collaboration with the White House Domestic Policy Council, Rural Partners Network (RPN) and the Rural Prosperity Inter-Agency Policy Council. Through the RPN, Federal agencies are renewing their commitment to rural communities by providing targeted staffing, tools, and resources. For VA, the ORE engages with internal and external stakeholders to deliver outreach, communications, and coordination with rural communities so that Veterans can more easily access the health care, benefits, and other resources they have earned.
Clay’s father was a combat Vietnam Veteran and so he brings a special enthusiasm to his work at VA. He shares what he knows from personal family experience and the positive impact VA services and benefits make on the lives of Veterans and their families. Clay has extensive experience working in the Indian Health Service, tribal health programs, urban Indian health programs, and rural communities. He recently served in VA’s Office of Tribal Government Relations as a program analyst and the Designated Federal Officer for the Advisory Committee on Tribal and Indian Affairs. Clay is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
Clay received a Master of Science in Human Resources (Counseling) from East Central University and a Bachelor of Arts from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. In 2022, he completed the Public Health Training Certificate in American Indian Health at the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health.