U.S. Navy veteran and Scottsdale resident Paula Pedene believes all veterans deserve the best health care America can offer. A fierce advocate for veterans, she took a huge risk on her 20-year public relations career to become a nationally known VA (veterans affairs) whistleblower.
Locally, Pedene was amongst the first to discover harmful health care policies at the Phoenix VA Hospital that were put in place by powerful leaders who intentionally delayed veterans’ care. To stop her from speaking the truth, those same leaders took away her job, influence, and voice by banishing her to the basement library and placing her under an illegal gag order, according to Pedene. Now, as a VA retiree, Pedene is using her experience as a Navy broadcast journalist, with service during the Cold War and Operation Desert Storm, and her public relations expertise, to keep pressure on congressional leaders to honor their commitments to veterans.
Her personal life drama unfolds in her new book, “A Sacred Duty,” which highlights a cascading series of heartbreaking emotions as she battles with a leadership team who are creating policies that will financially enrich their lives while putting veterans’ lives in danger. Ultimately, doctors, staff, and an investigative reporter worked behind the scenes with Paula’s silent encouragement to uncover the breadth of the astounding secret—a double set of appointment books created to mislead VA investigators about the delays in veterans’ care.
“I took a leap of faith to save veterans but suffered emotionally and financially as I fought to protect myself and my family from the superpowers in Washington, D.C.,” Pedene says. “In the end, those unethical VA leaders ultimately faced harsh realities as some lost jobs, new laws were passed, and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs was forced to resign.”
Pedene won her whistleblower case and accepted a promotion to Senior Communications Specialist at the national VA office, handling media relations and internal communications. She retired in 2020 after earning two additional top honors for her efforts. She now owns Paula Pedene and Associates and continues to coordinate the prestigious Phoenix Veterans Day Parade presented by Honoring America’s Veterans. Her book, “A Sacred Duty,” is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target, and other bookstores.