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VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

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Leadership Team

Portrait of Robert M Smith

Robert M Smith |

Acting Chief of Staff

Dr. Smith graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor's of Science in Engineering and then attended McGill University School of Medicine, graduating in 1979. He completed residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine (UCSD SOM) and was Chief Resident in Internal Medicine in 1982. Following this, he completed a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the USCD followed by a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Biochemistry at the Research Institute of Scripps Clinic.

Dr. Smith joined the VA 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. He assumed leadership over the implementation of the electronic medical record system at VASDHS. Following this he served as Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development and then served as Chief of Staff/Medical Director at VASDHS from 2009 to the present.

Dr. Smith is a Diplomate 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 served as a member of the Veterans Health Administration Informatics Committee and was the Department of Veterans Affairs representative to the Health and Human Services American Health Information Community on Electronic Medical Records; he currently sits on the VA Information Technology Committee. He was the interim Director of the VA San Diego Healthcare System from 2011 to 2012. He has previously served on the Network 22 Quality and Performance Improvement Council, Finance Council, Executive Leadership Board, and Information Management Committees, and chaired the Network 22 Data Management Board.

Portrait of Susan E. Shyshka

Susan E. Shyshka |

Associate Director of Administrative Operations

Susan Shyshka is the newest member of the GLA Executive Leadership Team as Associate Director for Administrative Operations. With a Master's Degree in Library Science from the University of Michigan, she started as a Librarian at the VA Hospital in Nashville, TN in 1984. After working there for 4 years, she became a member of Learning Resources Service in VACO in Washington DC. She moved to California in 1991 to become the Assistant Chief of Library and Medical Records at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. She moved to VA Central California Health Care System (Fresno) as the Associate Director in 2001 after a year in Compliance at Palo Alto and after becoming a graduate of the LVA - Leadership VA Program in 2000, where her experiences helped to solidify her desire to become a leader in VA. She is a Fellow in the American College of Health Care executives and a Board Certified Health Care Executive. During her career she has participated in numerous educational and professional development activities including the Federal Interagency Institute, Advanced Clinical Access Coaches College, and the Health Care Leadership Institute

Ms. Shyshka lives in Los Angeles with her husband Jeff, retired VA employee, and her daughter Emily, who is currently a junior at UC Santa Barbara.

Portrait of James Doelling

James Doelling |

Associate Director, Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive

Mr. Doelling has been in VA Nursing Leadership since 2001 including positions at Providence VAMC, VA Boston HCS and Hines VAH in Chicago after 13 years in the private sector. He obtained his BSN from Duquesne University in 1988 and his MS from Springfield College in 2005. He is currently enrolled in the Federal Government Executive Potential Program. His clinical experiences include critical care, trauma, oncology, community health and hospice. Mr. Doelling has done a lot of work with RN Residency programs as well as VISN wide Nurse Manager Program development and Mentor training.