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Leadership

Michael Akinyele, MBA

VA Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Director (Acting), VA Innovation Center

Michael Akinyele
Mr. Michael Akinyele

Mr. Akinyele is responsible for leading, transforming and scaling enterprise innovation at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the largest federal civilian agency with a ~$200B budget and ~400K employees. He is the Principal lead of the VA Innovation Center (VIC), and in this role, he reports through the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Enterprise Integration.

He joined the VA in 2017 via an excepted service, consultant appointment to serve as a Senior Advisor to the Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Operations and Management (DUSHOM). The DUSHOM is the Senior Executive responsible for providing management oversight for the VA’s 18 Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN’s) and ~1,300 sites of care. And, at the direction of VA’s Acting Under Secretary for Health, he introduced the VHA Healthcare Improvement Center (HIC) to VA stakeholders on September 6, 2017. He was responsible for leading and transforming operations of the center.

Away from his work at the VA, Mr. Akinyele is the Managing Principal of an independent advisory firm he founded in 2016. He is a turnaround expert, health care futurist and collaborative leader primarily advising executive officers of global corporations and leading enterprise-wide transformation initiatives for dynamic and complex organizations.

He most recently worked as the Director of Venture Development — Health Care at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF), a private foundation with ~$1B in funding commitments between 2011 and 2017. He secured funding approval from LJAF’s board for multiple investments and successfully collaborated with health care reform thought leaders and innovators across the globe.

Prior to his role with LJAF, he led management consulting teams focused on developing and implementing solutions to strategic and operational challenges facing multinational corporations. In the U.S. health care industry, he has advised health systems, physician groups, academic medical centers, health plans, pharmaceutical companies, pharmacy benefit managers, and a state Medicaid organization.

He is a member of the board of the Lymphoma Research Foundation (LRF), the largest foundation focused on funding research aimed at finding a cure and serving those touched by the disease. As a member of the board, he serves on the mission impact and resource development councils and partners with LRF’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), pursuing the cancer moonshot.

Mr. Akinyele started his career managing physician practices in the Washington, D.C. metro area. He earned his Master’s in Business Administration from Stanford Graduate School of Business and graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Howard University. He resides in the metro Washington D.C. area with his wife, a clinical cardiology fellow and their two daughters.

Content last updated or reviewed on March 22, 2019