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VA San Diego Healthcare System


Leadership Team

Portrait of Robert M. Smith, M.D.

Robert M. Smith, M.D. | 858-642-3201


Dr. Smith, a San Diego native, was appointed as the VA San Diego Healthcare System Director July 24, 2016. He has been associated with the San Diego VA since the time of his residency training at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and has held a range of leadership roles including Director of Medical Critical Care, Associate Chief of Staff for Healthcare Analysis, Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development, and Chief of Staff.

A graduate of Princeton University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering and of McGill University School of Medicine; Dr. Smith went on to complete residency training in Internal Medicine at UCSD. He subsequently did specialty training in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at UCSD and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Biochemistry at the Research Institute of Scripps Clinic. Dr. Smith is Professor of Medicine at UCSD, a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a Fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians. He is a graduate of the 2010 VA Health Care Leadership Institute and the 2012 Interagency Institute for Federal Health Care Executives.

Dr. Smith has been heavily involved in clinical informatics throughout his career and also serves on the VA Information Technology Committee and on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Regional Health Information Exchange

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.

Photo not available

Vacant | 858-642-3241

Chief of Staff/Medical Director

Photo not available

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).