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Phoenix VA Health Care System

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Leadership Team

Portrait of Barbara Fallen

Barbara Fallen | 602-277-5551 x7891

Interim Medical Center Director

Barbara Fallen was appointed as the Interim Director, Phoenix VA Health Care System on Aug. 29, 2016.

She was appointed as the Director, VA Loma Linda Healthcare System on June 30, 2013. She has the responsibility for the overall management of the 1b tertiary care teaching facility that provides primary health care services to more than 71,000 Veterans in Southern California’s Inland Empire and portions of Southern Nevada.

Prior to this role, she served as the Deputy Network Director, Network Operations Officer, and Network Strategic Management Officer. In her role as Deputy Network Director she served as Acting Director, VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System and Acting Network Director, VA Desert Pacific Healthcare Network.

Ms. Fallen previously served in positions at VA healthcare systems in Long Beach, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Temple Texas and Hines Illinois. She is a graduate of the prestigious Presidential Management Intern Program. Her VA career started in Clinical Nutrition at Hines VA in Chicago. She progressed within the ranks of Food and Nutrition Service until transitioning into an administrative career in 1987.

Ms. Fallen received her undergraduate degree in Nutrition from San Diego State University in 1981 and Masters of Public Administration and Healthcare Administration degree from Arizona State University in 1987. She is a Registered Dietitian and a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.


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


Portrait of Samuel Aguayo, M.D.

Samuel Aguayo, M.D. | (602) 222-6444

Acting Chief of Staff

Dr. Sam Aguayo was detailed to serve as the Interim Chief of Staff of the Phoenix VA Health Care System on July 1, 2016. Dr. Aguayo is responsible for the clinical services and academic programs of the health care system 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 health care system has more than 200 physicians, dentists, and podiatrists and more than 85 resident and fellow positions.

Dr. Aguayo began his career in the VA in 1982 at the VA Medical Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he completed his residency training in Internal Medicine in 1985. From 1985 to 1988 he completed a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colorado, after which he became a member of the medical staff at the Denver VA Medical Center and the National Jewish Hospital also in Denver. In 1991 Dr. Aguayo was recruited by Emory University School of Medicine to serve as the Chief of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, and in 1994 he became the Associate Chief of Staff for Education at the Atlanta VA Medical Center.

In 2009 Dr. Aguayo relocated to Arizona to serve as the Associate Chief of Staff for Research at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. During his tenure with the VA, Dr. Aguayo has maintained clinical professor and associate dean appointments with the affiliated medical schools in addition to other senior leadership roles. Dr. Aguayo has published about pulmonary neuroendocrine disorders, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer, and he is recipient of research funding from the VA, the NIH, the American Lung Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, among other sponsors.


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