2018 Phelps Award Recipient Commissioner Loree Sutton

Brigadier General (Ret.) Loree Sutton, MD serves as the founding Commissioner for New York City’s Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS). Formally established in 2016 under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s leadership, DVS is the nation’s first municipal-level agency devoted solely to improving the lives of veterans and their families.

A career Army psychiatrist, Sutton seeks to demonstrate the essential role of community as the front line of hope and healing, guiding veterans and their families in their journey from ‘doing better’ to actually ‘getting better’ – at home, work, school and life. Resilient communities build safety nets for providing support and serve as springboards for launching goals. This ‘whole health’ approach, incorporating peer support, arts/culture, holistic services and clinical treatment, lays the foundation for success by restoring trust and overcoming stigma.

In Sutton’s final military assignment (2007-10), she served as Founding Director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). Notably, she led efforts to stand up the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), a pioneering clinical, education and research center internationally renowned for its integrative approach to brain injuries and psychological health.

Sutton’s prior deployments include Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait and Egypt, supporting the first Gulf War and the Multinational Force and Observers peacekeeping mission. Military awards and honors include the Bronze Star Medal; Presidential Service Badge (White House Fellow / Office of National Drug Control Policy); Distinguished Graduate (National War College); Expert Field Medical Badge; and Legion of Merit.

Privileged to stand up the City of New York’s newest agency, Sutton regards veterans and their families as the city’s leading renewable natural resource, whose continued service enriches civic life in their neighborhoods and communities. Accordingly, service on behalf of others is DVS’ North Star. To this end, Sutton remains devoted to cultivating resilience, civility and wholeness, amplifying the strengths of veterans, families and communities to catalyze public-private networks of innovative practice at all levels.

Blessed to live and serve in the world’s greatest city, Sutton and her spouse Laurie share their home with beloved Moxie, their 8 pound, adorably mischievous and forever feisty, long-haired piebald dapple dachshund! Together, they have found purpose, community and acceptance – in a word, they are home at last.