Jeffrey T. Gering was appointed Director of the VA San Diego Healthcare System effective May 2012. Mr. Gering was the Director of the Chillicothe VA Medical Center since September 2007 and previously he held positions with progressive responsibility at four VA Medical Centers and VA Central Office.
Mr. Gering began his VA career as an Administrative Resident at the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center in 1990 and subsequently joined the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C., serving as the Administrative Officer for Psychiatry Service from 1991 through 1995 and Assistant to the Director from 1995 to 1999.
In November 1999 through July 2002, Mr. Gering was a Health System Specialist in the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Operations and Management, serving as the primary liaison in VA Central Office for VISNs 11, 12, 16, and 23. In July 2002, Mr. Gering was appointed Associate Director for Operations for the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. Associate Director of Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital in June 2004. From November 2006 through February 2007, Mr. Gering served as the Acting Director for Hines VA Hospital.
Mr. Gering has also held various positions at the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, St. Louis University Medical Center, Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Chicago and the National Bank of Detroit. He has a Masters of Health Administration from Saint Louis University, School of Public Health and a Bachelors of Science degree from Indiana University, School of Business. He is a Diplomat with the American College of Health Care Executives. He was a member of the 1999 class of Leadership VA, 2004 Interagency Institute for Federal Health Care Executives and the 2005 VA Health Care Leadership Institute.
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.
Ms. Silvana Hill was appointed Assistant Director at the VA San Diego Healthcare System in January 2013 and is responsible for several departments and oversight of the VA San Diego outpatient clinics. Her key responsibilities include providing executive leadership, budgetary and operations oversight for assigned services, as well as development and implementation of strategic program goals and actions for the medical center.
Prior to her appointment, Ms. Hill served as the Health System Specialist at the Robley Rex VA Medical Center in Louisville, Kentucky. In this role, she was deeply involved with a variety of major projects successfully developing and leading complex multidisciplinary teams, crossing both clinical and administrative lines. While in Louisville, Ms. Hill was also a Nurse Recruiter for ten years, developing a highly successful recruitment and retention program.
Ms. Hill is a graduate of the University of Louisville and holds a master’s degree in Health Systems Science. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in English. Ms. Hill is a 2008 graduate of the Executive Career Field. She has played a leadership role or participated in a number of significant Network and national initiatives throughout her career.
Ms. Hill has received numerous local, network and national awards and recognitions, including Federal Executive Employee of the Year and the Caring Hands Award. Ms. Hill has obtained Fellow status as a VHA Certified Mentor and has accumulated the most mentoring and coaching hours nationally. She has mentored a Presidential Management Fellow and has participated in the American College of Health Care Executive Mentor/Protégé Program serving as an Executive Mentor. Ms. Hill was born in Italy, and she and her husband, Raymond, enjoy boating, reading, and spending time with their five grandchildren.
Associate Director, Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive
Dr. Sandra Solem joins the VA San Diego Healthcare System as Associate Director Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive with greater than 30 years of demonstrated leadership excellence in academic as well as Healthcare Environments. Most recently, an Associate Nurse Executive at the Charleston VA Medical Center in Charleston, South Carolina, Dr. Solem initiated a Shared Governance structure for Nursing and Patient Care Service and completed a three month detail in the Lexington, Kentucky VA Medical Center to implement a Veteran-Centered Partnership Model of Nursing within the facility.
During her career, Dr. Solem has enjoyed the diversity of clinical and academic environments and the opportunities for various leadership positions afforded through career mobility in the nursing profession. Research interest includes resiliency in survivors of intimate partner violence, nursing workforce development and horizontal violence. Dr. Solem has been a consultant for various projects in the private sector and Department of Defense focused on change management, Organizational leadership and development and team building. A project at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2005 inspired Dr. Solem to return to the VA from the academic setting. A native of Montana, she and her husband Craig enjoy hiking, camping, golf, and reading.
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.