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Washington DC VA Medical Center

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Leadership Team

Brian A. Hawkins, MHA | 202-745-8350

Medical Center Director

Mr. Brian A. Hawkins was appointed Medical Center Director, Washington DC VA Medical Center September 25, 2011. With more than 2,200 employees, over 90,000 Veterans enrolled for care and a budget of more than $450 million dollars, Mr. Hawkins leads one of the largest and highly visible medical centers in the nation. In addition to the main hospital, Mr. Hawkins is responsible for the Community Resource and Referral Center for Homeless and At-risk Veterans (CRRC) and five community based outpatient clinics in Washington, DC; Fort Belvoir, Virginia; and Greenbelt, Camp Springs and Charlotte Hall, Maryland.

Mr. Hawkins began his career at Chicago's Hines VA Medical Center as a Clerk/Typist. His career demonstrates continuous advancement through leadership positions which include; Medical Center Director at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma, Associate Director and Chief Operating Officer of the VA Maryland Healthcare System and Associate Director and Site Manager for the Perry Point VA Medical Center. He has also held positions of authority at the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Atlanta VA Medical Center and Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois.

Mr. Hawkins holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences from Southern Illinois University and a Master of Health Administration from Governors State University. His unique leadership style was recognized by Veterans Health Administration (VHA) naming him 2012 "Communications Visionary of the Year". He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Senior Executives Association, and the American Pilot and Aircraft Owners Association and has been an Adjunct Professor at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, OK. A Veteran himself, Mr. Hawkins served eight years in the Illinois Army National Guard.

Portrait of Brian A. Hawkins, MHA

Bryan C. Matthews, MBA | 202-745-8000 x58101

Associate Medical Center Director

Bryan C. Matthews, MBA, was appointed Associate Medical Center Director for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington, DC on April 21, 2013. He oversees the Medical Center's annual budget and a number of major medical center operations including: Facilities and Environmental Management Services, Human Resource Management, Fiscal, Police and Pharmacy Services, Logistics and Acquisitions Management, Information Resource Management and the Business Office.

Prior to arriving in Washington, DC, Mr. Matthews served as Associate Director for the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma. In this capacity, he served as the facility's Chief Operating Officer charged with day-to-day operations and management of the facility’s $200 million annual budget.

Mr. Matthews began his VA career at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit, MI, as the Chief of Supply, Processing and Distribution, and later as the Administrative Assistant to the Associate Director. He then transferred to the VA Maryland Healthcare System in Baltimore, MD, where he served as the Executive Assistant to the Associate Director. Prior to joining the Department of Veterans Affairs, he served in the U.S. Air Force for 22 years.

He is a graduate of the University of Maryland and received his Masters of Business Administration degree in Healthcare Management from the University of Phoenix. He is also a graduate of the 2010 Executive Career Field Career Development Program.

Portrait of Bryan C. Matthews, MBA

Ross D. Fletcher, MD | 202-745-8225

Chief of Staff

Dr. Fletcher was appointed Chief of Staff, Washington DC VA Medical Center on January 1, 2000.

Dr. Fletcher completed his M.D. Degree (AOA), medical house staff training, and first year fellowship at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He served two years with the U.S. Army in Washington, D.C., and received his Cardiology Fellowship training at Georgetown University.
Since 1972, he has been Chief of Cardiology at the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He has served on the faculty at Georgetown University Medical School since 1969. He is now a Professor of Medicine with Georgetown University.

He is the Director of the nationwide Veterans Affairs registry for the Pacemaker and Defibrillator Surveillance Center and the Core Holter Lab for cooperative studies in antiarrhythmic therapy in congestive heart failure and sudden death.

He is Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Cardiology/Medicine Special Interest User Group. He served on the VA's Information Requirement Advisory Board (IRAC) and the Clinical Application Requirement (CARG) advisory panels for computer development. He has helped develop the PC version of the VA Cardiology Package with embedded images.
He is a nationally recognized cardiologist and member of the editorial board of several scientific journals.

Portrait of Ross D. Fletcher, MD

Raya Elfadel Kheirbek, MD, FACP | 202-745-8605

Deputy Chief of Staff

Dr. Kheirbek is an internist, geriatrician with fifteen years of experience in quality improvement projects development and implementation in older adults. Dr. Kheirbek has served in many roles and assumed positions with added responsibilities. Dr. Kheirbek's tenure in the VA started in January 1999 as the Medical Director in Geriatrics and Extended Care with a professional focus on improving the health and wellbeing of patients living with chronic illness. She assumed the position of Associate Chief of Staff for Performance Improvement in 2007 and led the facility into top tier performance in quality and access to healthcare.

Dr. Kheirbek is a collaborator and a founding member of a spectrum of innovative clinical programs that provide excellence in patient care, and education. She is committed to improving outcomes through team -based care. Her most recent focus has been building the program in Humanities in Medicine through training health care professionals from many disciplines on more empathetic healthcare while proposing practical methods to achieve such care.

She is a graduate of the Executives Career Field and Leadership VA and currently serves on a number of national committees. Dr. Kheirbek holds faculty appointments in George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Dr. Kheirbek graduated from Damascus University Medical School and practiced medicine in the Middle East and France prior to moving to the USA in 1990.

Portrait of Raya Elfadel Kheirbek, MD, FACP

Kathleen J. Barry RN, MHA, NEA-BC | 202-745-8000 x58220

Chief Nurse Executive

Kathy Barry has been serving as Chief Nurse Executive since August 29, 2011. Her responsibilities include providing leadership for all programs within Nursing Service including Acute Care, Geriatrics and Long Term Care and the Behavioral Health programs. She serves as consultant to more than 600 nurses and other members of the medical center staff.

Ms. Barry joined DCVAMC in November 2010 as the Deputy Chief Nurse for Inpatient Operations, and brings with her 20 years of nursing leadership experience. Kathy possesses a BSN from the University of New Hampshire and a MHA degree from Simmons College. She is board certified through ANCC as a Nurse Executive Advanced, and is a Wharton Nurse Executive Fellow. Prior to relocating to northern Virginia in 2001, Ms. Barry held a variety of clinical and leadership positions in tertiary and community teaching hospitals in the Boston, MA area. Her past clinical experience includes being a staff nurse on a large medical and oncology unit, staff nurse on a maternal child health unit, and staff nurse in a medical intensive care unit at New England Medical Center, a tertiary teaching hospital in Boston. Kathy's nursing leadership career includes being the nurse manager of the medical intensive care unit at New England Medical Center, joining Faulkner Hospital in Boston, a community teaching hospital as the Assistant Vice President for Nursing and continuing her leadership career when she joined Inova Alexandria Hospital as Chief Nurse Executive and then served as their Chief Operating Officer. Kathy received Nursing Spectrum Magazine's Nurse Executive of the Year, 2003 for the Washington, D.C./Baltimore region and was awarded second place in Advance Magazine's Nurse Leader of the Year, in 2004

Portrait of Kathleen J. Barry RN, MHA, NEA-BC

Christine M. Merna, RN, MS, PMP | 202-745-8350

Assistant Medical Center Director

Christine M. Merna was appointed Assistant Medical Center Director for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, DC in August 2014. She is responsible for providing leadership and supervision to the Patient Centered Care Office, Patient Advocates, Nutrition and Food Service, Voluntary Service, Chaplain Service, Prosthetics and Sensory Aids, and Canteen Services.

Ms. Merna joined the Department of Veteran Affairs in 2006, following a distinguished 20 year career as an active duty Army Nurse Corps officer. Ms. Merna is an advanced practice registered nurse with over 25 years of executive level clinical and administrative healthcare experience. In 2006, following her last active duty assignment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, she joined the VA's Veterans Health Administration as a Senior Healthcare Analyst working in the VA/DoD Coordination office as project manager and clinical consultant responsible for the management and oversight of key VA/DoD initiatives. In 2009, she accepted a position as Special Assistant to the Chief Officer of the Legislative, Regulatory and Intergovernmental Affairs Office. In 2011, she joined the Veterans Benefit Administration to work in the Veterans Benefits Management System Program Management Office.

Ms. Merna obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA and her Master of Science degree in Trauma/Critical Care Nursing from the University of Maryland. Additionally, she earned a post-master's certificate as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Ms. Merna is a graduate of the Army's Command and General Staff College and completed a fellowship at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Ms. Merna holds an active license as a Registered Nurse in the state of Virginia and is currently nationally certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP).

Portrait of Christine M. Merna, RN, MS, PMP