VA Sunshine Healthcare Network
VA Doctor Receives Top University Award
ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Dr. Veronica Sikka, Chief of Virtual Care, VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center, was named the University of Central Florida College of Medicine’s “Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year” during a virtual awards ceremony held on October 21.
Sikka was nominated and later received the award for her excellence in teaching, research and service as an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine with the University as part of UCF’s annual faculty awards program. The annual program recognizes outstanding accomplishments of faculty through four primary college and university level award programs.
“Dr. Sikka has dedicated her talents to enhancing and improving the quality of care delivered to Veterans living within the VISN 8 service area which includes Florida, South Georgia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Islands,” said Suzanne M. Klinker, Deputy Network Director for Clinical Contact Center, VISN 8.
“Her leadership in patient care has also made great positive impact at the national level, contributing to the way in which care is provided in the virtual environment to Veterans across the Veterans Health Administration,” she said.
As a Board-certified physician in Emergency Medicine, Dr. Sikka accepted the position of Chief of Virtual Care in the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center in June 2019. Prior to this role, she served as the Chief of the Emergency Department at the Orlando VA Healthcare System.
During her time with the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center, Sikka has built a high-performing and innovative virtual care team that is now able to provide virtual urgent care to Veterans 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Veterans can contact the center by calling 1-877-741-3400, or by using the VA Health Chat app – a secure text application available for both Android and IOS devices. Services provided include general administrative support, nurse advice and triage, virtual visits with a doctor or nurse practitioner via telephone, VA Video Connect, or VA Health Chat, and pharmacy.
Officially launched in July 2019, the center has handled nearly 1 million contacts from Veterans seeking support from the comfort of their home or wherever they may be, and recently received a national award for high reliability from the Veterans Health Administration.
Among her many other accomplishments both within VA and with UCF, Sikka initiated with the university in the Summer of 2020 an elective in Tele-Urgent Care for fourth year medical students. This is the first exclusively telehealth elective to be offered by UCF. This elective has been sought out by medical students who understand the value of virtual care and telehealth, and desire to continue their medical school training while being able to be social distance in their homes.
“It is truly an honor to receive this award, but it is not about me.” Sikka said. “It really is a testament to the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center’s commitment to being a virtual academic medical center with a focus on teaching, clinical care, and research. As a pioneer in the integration of virtual teleurgent care with medical education, the center is really on the cutting edge of the future of medical education.”
To learn more about the VISN 8 Clinical Contact Center, please visit www.visn8.va.gov/ccc.asp. To view information about the UCF College of Medicine's faculty awards program, please visit