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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is promoting Dr. Alyshia Smith to the role of Executive Director of the Phoenix VA Health Care System (PVAHCS).

As the Executive Director, Dr. Smith will provide strategic direction and leadership to more than 2100 staff.  She has been the Interim Director since the departure of Rima Ann Nelson in 2018.  Before her role as Interim Director, she was the Associate Director for Patient Care Services and Nurse Executive at Phoenix, with leadership over more than 1300 nursing and ancillary support staff.

According to the documents shared with the Republic, Dr. Smiths’ background in nursing is extensive.  She has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing 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.

Dr. Smith began her VA career as the Deputy Chief Nurse at the Washington DC VA Medical Center in 2010.  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, which was a newly constructed inpatient unit and short-stay unit providing care for veterans.

Before joining VA, Dr. Smith worked in a large, complex hospital in the private sector where numerous clinical roles before becoming Senior Nursing Director for Medical-Surgical Services and later for Professional Practice.

Dr. Smith also has experience as clinical faculty at Georgetown University, doctoral faculty at 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.

According to the Phoenix VAHCS Facebook page,  Dr. Smith was administered the “oath of office” by VA’s Acting Principal Deputy Secretary of Health, Dr. Steven Lieberman, via a virtual conference.  During the ceremony, Dr. Smith pledged to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to faithfully discharge the duties of the office.

The Phoenix VA Health Care System includes the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center and ten community clinics.  The PVAHCS first opened its doors in 1951 and currently serves 95,000 veterans in central Arizona.

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