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Phoenix VA Health Care System

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Leadership Team

Portrait of RimaAnn Nelson

RimaAnn Nelson | 602-277-5551 x7891

Medical Center Director

RimaAnn Nelson was appointed director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System on Oct. 2, 2016. In this position, she oversees all aspects of this complexity level 1b tertiary care hospital providing a full range of services to more than 86,000 Arizona Veterans. The hospital has an annual operating budget of more than $700 million and employs more than 3,300 full time staff. Established in 1951, the hospital also operates health care clinics in Central Phoenix, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Surprise, Payson (Contract), Show Low, and Globe-Miami.

Ms. Nelson previously served as the Director of the VA Regional Office and Outpatient Clinic at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Manila, Philippines from July 2013 through October 2016. As the Director of USDVA Manila, Ms. Nelson was responsible for benefits administered by USDVA for Veterans, dependents, and their survivors in the Philippines.

Prior to her appointment in Manila in July 2013, Ms. Nelson served as the Medical Center Director of the VA St. Louis Health Care System from Sept. 2010 to July 2013. Ms. Nelson holds a B.S. in Community Health, a B.S. in Nursing, and a Master's Degree in Public Health/Health Service Administration from the University of Utah. She completed the Senior Executive Fellows Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in Dec. 2010. Prior to her assignment in St. Louis, she served as Associate Director of Clinical Operations at the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System. She began her service with the Department of Veteran Affairs in April 1994.


Portrait of Shawn Bransky

Shawn Bransky | (602)277-5551

Acting Deputy Medical Center Director

Shawn M. Bransky was appointed as the Acting Deputy Medical Center Director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System on Sept. 12, 2016.

He was appointed as Associate Director of the Alaska VA Healthcare System in August 2015. In that capacity, he has full authority to act on and reach decisions affecting resources, personnel and program changes including those of a clinical nature. He is responsible for developing short and long range strategic plans for the facility and provides direct leadership to all administrative activities for the medical center to include human resources, facility management, fiscal, logistics, public affairs and security.

Bransky has more than 25 years of progressive healthcare leadership experience and is board certified from the American Academy of Medical Administrators. Prior to this role, he served more than 21 years in the United Stated Air Force in a variety of leadership positions, to include chief financial officer and administrator for both medical and surgical clinics.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting degree at Mercer University and a Master’s degree in Health Administration from Chapman University. He is also a recipient of several military medals to include the Bronze Star following his deployment supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.


Portrait of Michael Welsh

Michael Welsh | (602) 222-6444

Acting Associate Director

Mr. Michael Welsh was detailed to the Phoenix VA Health Care System on June 24, 2016 to serve as the Acting Associate Director. Mr. Welsh’s permanent assignment is as the Associate Director at the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System which was effective March 9, 2014.

As the Acting Associate Director, he is responsible for management of administrative and operational support. Specifically, he exercises direct oversight of the Resource Management, Facilities Management, Human Resources, and Logistics Service Lines. He also oversees Voluntary Services, Prosthetics, Information Management and Police Operations.

Mr. Welsh has 18 years’ of VA experience and has served in various roles during his career. He began as the Training Dietitian for the Phoenix VA Health Care System in March 1998. He later became the Administrative Dietitian to implement various programs within the PVAHCS, and became the Chief of Nutrition, Hospitality and Food Service in April 2002. He served six months as the Associate Director for the El Paso VAHCS, and eight months as administrator of the PVAHCS Southeast Community Based Outpatient Clinic. Nationally he has been involved in the implementation of the Prime Vendor Contract team and Subsistence User Group since 2003. Other national teams include the Healthy Diet Committee, the VistA Information Management Group, the Computrition User Group, the Revenue Generation Group, and the Dietetic Manual Revision Group.

Mr. Welsh received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Human Nutrition from Arizona State University (ASU). He is a member of ACHE and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. He is a graduate of the 2011 VHA Health Care Leadership Development Program and the 2003 VA Management Development Program. He is an adjunct professor, teaching medical ethics for ASU and the Chair of the Nutrition Advisory Committee for ASU’s Nutrition Department. Mr. Welsh served four years in the Navy and two years in the Army Reserve.


Portrait of Maureen F. McCarthy, M.D.

Maureen F. McCarthy, M.D. | (602) 222-6444

Chief of Staff

Dr. Maureen McCarthy was appointed as the Chief of Staff at the Phoenix VA Health Care Center on Oct. 2, 2016. Dr. McCarthy is responsible for the clinical services and academic programs of the medical center and has oversight for Primary Care, Medicine, Surgery, Radiology, Pathology, Psychology, Psychiatry, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Dental, Audiology & Speech Pathology, Geriatrics, Pharmacy, Clinical Informatics, Education, and Research. The system has more than 200 physicians, dentists, and podiatrists and more than 85 resident and fellow positions.

Prior to coming to Phoenix, Dr. McCarthy was the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Patient Care Services at the VA Central Office in Washington D.C. Her focus in Patient Care Services was to support VHA's mission in offering the highest quality health care to Veterans. She played a key role in effectively addressing Veteran health care needs through the development of clinical guidelines and standards for clinical care programs and providers. Dr. McCarthy served as a consultant to the Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Policy and Services on all policy matters and issues related to patient care and clinical services

Dr. McCarthy has a 25-year history of service to the Veteran community. In addition to her prior role as Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Patient Care Services, she served previously as Deputy Chief Patient Care Services Officer. She was the Chief of Staff at the Salem, Virginia VAMC for more than five years which serves a population of approximately 36,000 Veterans. Dr. McCarthy also has served as Associate Chief of Staff for Education and staff psychiatrist at the Salem VAMC and has served as a staff psychiatrist at the Washington, DC VAMC.

Dr. McCarthy is a graduate of the University of the Massachusetts School of Medicine. She completed her residency in Psychiatry, and is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.


Portrait of Alyshia W Smith

Alyshia W Smith | 602-277-5551 x6572

Nurse Executive

Dr. Alyshia Smith joined the Phoenix VA Health Care System, Phoenix, Arizona on September 21, 2015 as the Associate Director for Patient Care Services (Nurse Executive). Her areas of responsibility include the oversight of the Nursing Service, Social Work Service, Sterile Processing Service, and the Chaplain Service.

Dr. Smith began her nursing career as a staff nurse on a cardiac surgery unit, in a large, complex private sector hospital in Washington, DC., with progressive leadership experience as nurse manager, clinical specialist and Senior Nursing Director. Her VA career began in 2010 as the Deputy Chief Nurse Executive (DCNE). As the DCNE for Outpatient Nursing Services, Dr. Smith was the senior nurse leader for primary and specialty care, and the Emergency Department. She later served as the Deputy Chief Nurse Executive for Inpatient Operations, with nursing responsibility for the inpatient acute care units, perioperative services, specialty clinics and the Emergency Department. Some of the programs and initiatives she lead included inpatient hospital flow, patient satisfaction, and implementation of the Stroke Program.

Dr. Smith earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Master of Science and Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Maryland. She has a clinical faculty appointment with the University of Maryland School of Nursing. She is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Nurse Executive, Advanced