Leadership Team - Phoenix VA Health Care System
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Phoenix VA Health Care System


Leadership Team

Alyshia Smith, Medical Center Director

Alyshia Smith | 602-277-5551 Ext. 7891

Medical Center Director

Dr. Alyshia Smith was appointed as the Medical Center Director on June 21, 2020, and served as interim director since Oct. 28, 2019. Dr. Smith joined the Phoenix VA Health Care System (PVAHCS) in September 2015 as the Associate Director for Patient Care Services (ADPCS) and Nurse Executive. As the longest serving Phoenix VA executive leader, Dr. Smith possesses a deep understanding of the Phoenix VA culture, strong community relationships, and clinical expertise. Dr. Smith has nearly 25 years of leadership experience and is responsible for the leadership and strategic direction for over 1,350 staff in Nursing, Social Work, Sterile Processing Service, and the Chaplain Service. Dr. Smith recently completed a temporary assignment as the Deputy Chief Nursing Officer for VHA, and served as the lead ADPCS for VISN 22, and the Nurse Executive Leadership Board. Dr Smith began her VA career as the Deputy Chief Nurse at the Washington DC VA Medical Center in 2010, where she was responsible for nursing operations. She led the implementation of a hospital-wide cardiac monitoring system, facilitated the opening of the Emergency Department (ED) Overflow Unit and ED Fast Track Area, a newly constructed inpatient unit and short stay unit. Prior to coming to the VA, she worked in a large, complex hospital in the private sector where she held roles as Registered Nurse, Nurse Manager and Senior Nursing Director for Medical Surgical Services and later for Professional Practice. Dr. Smith earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Master of Science and Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Maryland, and a Post Masters Certificate in Business and Health Care from Johns Hopkins University. She has served as clinical faculty with nursing programs at Georgetown University and the University of Maryland, and is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Nurse Executive, Advanced. She is a member of the American Organization of Nurse Leaders, and the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Michael Welsh, Associate Director

Michael Welsh | 602-222-6444

Associate Director

Mr. Michael Welsh began March 20, 2017 as the Phoenix VA Health Care System Associate Director. Mr. Welsh’s former assignment was as the Associate Director at the Northern Arizona VA Health Care System which was effective March 9, 2014. As the 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 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.

Maureen F. McCarthy, M.D., Chief of Staff

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.

Leslie Lockridge, Acting Associate Director, Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive

Leslie Lockridge | 602-222-6461

Acting Associate Director, Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive

Dr. Leslie Lockridge began as the Acting Associate Director of Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive (ADPCS/NE) at the Phoenix VA Health Care System (PVAHCS) in October 2019. Her areas of responsibility include the oversight of Nursing Services, Social Work Service, Sterile Processing Service, and the Chaplain Service. Dr. Lockridge has served as the Deputy Nurse Executive (DNE) at PVAHCS since September 2017. She previously spent time as the Acting ADPCS/NE at the New Mexico VA Health Care System (NMVAHCS) and at PVAHCS. Dr. Lockridge has experience as a critical care nurse and has held progressive leadership positions in both inpatient and outpatient care. Dr. Lockridge held roles as the Chief Nurse, Geriatrics and Extended Care (GEC) and Chief Nurse, Specialty and Critical Care at the PVAHCS. Dr. Lockridge has also served as the Interim Chief Nurse of Acute Care and Medicine at Tennessee Valley Healthcare System (TVHS) and held various Nurse Manager roles. Dr. Lockridge earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with an emphasis in Health Systems Leadership from Chamberlain University, a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from Middle Tennessee State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Tennessee State University. Dr. Lockridge is a 2018 graduate of the Healthcare Leadership Development Program (HCLDP), a VA Certified Mentor, and holds board certifications in critical care (CCRN) and as a Nurse Executive (NE-BC).

Elijah Ditter, Assistant Director

Elijah Ditter

Assistant Director

Elijah J. Ditter was appointed Assistant Director for the Phoenix VA Health Care System (PVAHCS) in September 2019. He joined the PVAHCS in October 2016 and has held various roles including Executive Assistant to the Medical Center Director, Systems Redesign Coordinator, Patient Experience Officer, SAIL Coordinator, and leadership roles across Quality Management and the Executive Office. Prior to joining the VA, Mr. Ditter worked for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on national policy related to health care delivery reform and led the agency-wide Lean Daily Management System. Prior to government service, Mr. Ditter worked for a private sector hospital where he completed his fellowship in hospital administration and then served as the chief of the revenue cycle. As Assistant Director, Mr. Ditter participates in policy making and management decisions with the PVAHCS Executive Leadership Team. He is responsible for Environmental Management Service, Police Service, Privacy Office, Radiation Safety, Veteran Experience Service, and Voluntary Services. He also serves as the executive liaison for Information Security, Prosthetic Services, Office of Information and Technology and the Veterans Canteen Service. Mr. Ditter’s passion is systems thinking and he has expertise in several performance improvement methodologies including Lean Daily Management and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Model for Improvement. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Master Transformational Coach, and Project Management Professional. Mr. Ditter holds a Master’s in Healthcare Administration from the University of Minnesota and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.