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VA San Diego Healthcare System


Leadership Team

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Vacant | 858-642-3201


Portrait of Cynthia Abair, MHA

Cynthia Abair, MHA | (858) 642-3205

Associate Director

Ms. Cynthia E. Abair began as the Associate Director of the VA San Diego Health Care System effective July 22, 2007. In her current position, she oversees administrative operations including Engineering, Financial Management, Health Administration, Human Resources, Logistics, Environmental Health and Safety, and Voluntary Service. Prior to this assignment, she served as the Associate Director of the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System from February 2005 to July 2007. Previously, Cindy was a member of the Network 22 staff in Long Beach, California from July 1, 2003 until February 2005 where she served as Acting Network Operations Officer and the Acting Network Human Resources Manager. Prior to joining the Network, she held the position of Special Assistant to the Director at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System from December 2000 through June 2003, and served as Executive Assistant to the Director at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System from June 1997 to December 2000. Cindy began her VA career in 1987 as an Administrative Resident at the VA Long Beach; she completed the Health System Specialist Training program and then served as the Medical Service Administrative Officer until assuming the position of Executive Assistant to the Director.

Cindy completed the Executive Career Field (ECF) Development program as a member of the Class of 2002 and Leadership VA 2003.

Cindy graduated from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science degree and from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri with a Master of Health Administration. Cindy is a native of Memphis, Tennessee and is married to Tom Abair, who is a registered nurse, a veteran, and currently serving as a Lt. Commander in the US Navy Reserves.

Portrait of Robert M. Smith, MD

Robert M. Smith, MD | 858-642-3241

Chief of Staff/Medical Director

Dr. Robert Smith was appointed as Chief of Staff/Medical Director at the VA San Diego Healthcare System in March 2010. Dr. Smith joined the VA San Diego Healthcare System in 1993 as the Director of Medical Critical Care while leading a research program focusing on acute lung injury. In 1997, he was appointed as the Associate Chief of Staff for Healthcare Analysis assuming leadership over the implementation of the electronic medical record system at VASDHS and the integration of that system with efforts to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare. He took on the role of Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development in 2008 and served as acting Chief of Staff/Medical Director at VASDHS from June 2009 to March 2010.

Dr. Smith graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering in 1975, and from McGill University School of Medicine in 1979. He completed his residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. He was Chief Resident in Internal Medicine prior to undergoing fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at UCSD and a further Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Biochemistry at the Research Institute of Scripps Clinic.

Dr. Smith is a Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine and has additional specialty certification in Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care Medicine. He is Professor of Medicine at UCSD School of Medicine and a Fellow of both the American College of Physicians and the American College of Chest Physicians. He has been a member of the VHA Informatics Committee and recently served as the Department of Veterans Affairs representative to the Health and Human Services American Health Information Community on Electronic Medical Records. He has previously served on the Network 22 Quality and Performance Improvement Council, Executive Leadership Board, and Information Management Committees, and chaired the Network 22 Data Management Board.

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Vacant | 858-642-3839

Associate Director, Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive

Portrait of Ada Clark, FACHE, MPH, VHA-CM

Ada Clark, FACHE, MPH, VHA-CM | (858) 642-3839

Assistant Director

Ada Clark was appointed Assistant Director for VA San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS) in April 2016. She previously held the positions of VISN 22 Operations Officer (2014-2016), Senior Health System Specialist to the VISN 22 Network Director (2010-2013), Executive Assistant to the Director and Administrative Officer to the Assistant Director at VA Long Beach Healthcare System (2008-2010), VISN 22 Administrative Fellow (2007-2008) and Research Assistant at VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (2006-2007). Most recently, Ms. Clark has served as the Acting VISN 22 Deputy Network Director (2016), Acting Project Manager for the Los Angeles VHA Homeless Veterans Program (2015) and Acting Assistant Director for VA San Diego Healthcare System (2014).

As Assistant Director, Ms. Clark participates in policy making and management decisions with the VASDHS executive leadership team. She holds direct full-line authority and responsibility for Police Service, Environmental Management Service, Patient Advocate Office and Relationship Based Care Implementation. She also serves as the leadership liaison for Canteen and Prosthetics Services and is responsible for the operational oversight of all VASDHS Community Based Outpatient Clinics. Ms. Clark chairs multiple VASDHS Councils and Committees and is a member of the VISN 22 Administrative Services Council.

Ms. Clark received a Bachelor of Science degree in Neurobiology with a Minor in Biomedical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine in 2005 and a Master in Public Health degree in Health Services Management in 2007 from the University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health. She graduated from the VA Graduate Healthcare Administrative Training Program in 2008, the VA Regional Leadership Development Institute in 2010 and the VHA Health Care Leadership Development Program in 2015. Ms. Clark is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).