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Birmingham, Alabama VA Medical Center


Leadership Team

Portrait of Thomas C. Smith, III, FACHE

Thomas C. Smith, III, FACHE | 205-933-8101

BVAMC Director

Mr. Smith was appointed Director of BVAMC effective May 23, 2013. Prior to this, he served as the Director for Central Texas Veterans Health Care System (CTVHCS) since April 2009. As Director, he was responsible for a multi-million dollar VA health care system with an annual budget of approximately $577 million and more than 3,300 employees.

Mr. Smith entered the Department of Veterans Affairs in November 2005 as Assistant Director for Operations at CTVHCS, and was appointed Associate Director for Resources on April 1, 2007. In these positions he was responsible for all the day-to-day operations of the health care system.
Mr. Smith came to the Department of Veterans Affairs and CTVHCS from St. Luke Hospital and Living Center in Marion, Kansas, where he served as CEO and Administrator of a critical access hospital with a long-term care facility. Prior to this, he spent more than 22 years in the Army and retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2004. During those 22 years in the Army, he served in progressively responsible positions culminating as Deputy Commander for Administration of Martin Army Community Hospital at Fort Benning, Georgia.

While in the military, Mr. Smith was inducted into the Order of Military Medical Merit, an honorary organization which recognizes leadership and significant contributions to the Army Medical Department. He also earned the Expert Field Medical Badge and received numerous medals, culminating with Army Legion of Merit.

Mr. Smith is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE), serves on the ACHE VA Regent’s Advisory Board, and is a VHA certified mentor. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Auburn University in Alabama, and a Master of Health Administration from Baylor University in Texas. He graduated from Leadership VA in 2007 and the Interagency Institute for Health Care Executives in 2008.

Portrait of Mary Mitchell

Mary Mitchell | (205) 933-8101

Associate Director

Mary Mitchell was appointed as the Associate Medical Center Director effective May 29, 2016. While at BVAMC she has served as the Chief Accountant and Assistant Chief Financial Officer. Ms. Mitchell has also been detailed to several positions including as the Chief of Human Resources Management Service and as the Activations Manager.

She has been involved in numerous national committees and taskforces, and is a VHA certified mentor who mentors new supervisors and Chief Financial Officers both internal and external to the BVAMC. Before coming to the BVAMC, Ms. Mitchell served as the Assistant Director and Associate Director at both the Charleston and Augusta VA Medical Centers.

Ms. Mitchell began her VA career in November 1984 as an Accountant Trainee at the Lexington VA Medical Center. She also worked at the Louisville VA Medical Center before transferring to the Birmingham VAMC in 1989. Ms. Mitchell graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting in 1983. She then graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Master of Science Degree in Public Administration in 1985.

Portrait of Cynthia Cleveland, DNP, RN, NE-BC

Cynthia Cleveland, DNP, RN, NE-BC | 205-933-8101

Associate Director for Patient/Nursing Services

Cynthia Cleveland, DNP, RN, NE-BC, was appointed as the Associate Director for Patient Care Services at BVAMC effective June 17, 2013. Dr. Cleveland received her Associate Degree in Nursing from Lawson State Community College in May 1995. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from the University of Alabama at Huntsville School of Nursing in August 1997.

She continued her education and received her Master of Science in Nursing Degree and certificate in Nursing Service Administration from the University of Alabama at Huntsville in December 1999. Dr. Cleveland completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in August 2010. Her doctoral studies were in Healthcare Systems Administration. She is Board Certified in Nursing Administration, through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Dr. Cleveland is an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Sigma Theta Tau, and American Nurses Credentialing Center. Dr. Cleveland completed the Federal Executive Institute Center for Executive Leadership in 2005, the Healthcare Leadership Institute in June 2010, and became an Executive Career Field Program graduate in March 2012. Dr. Cleveland is a VHA certified mentor and mentors nursing students, graduates students, and new supervisors internal and external to VHA.

Dr. Cleveland began her career as a Registered Nurse at BVAMC in May 1995. Her BVAMC experience includes the positions of Staff Nurse, Nurse Manager for Surgical and Cardiac Services, Associate Chief Nurse for Acute and Specialty, and Assistant Medical Center Director. Dr. Cleveland served as the Associate Chief Nurse at the Durham VA Medical Center for approximately 5 years before returning to Birmingham.

Portrait of Oladipo A Kukoyi

Oladipo A Kukoyi | (205) 933-8101 x4711

Chief of Staff

Dr. Kukoyi comes to the Birmingham VAMC from the Augusta VAMC where he served as the Chief of Staff since July 25, 2015. Dr. Kukoyi joined the Augusta VAMC in July 2014 as the Deputy Chief of Staff.

Prior to joining the Augusta VAMC, Dr. Kukoyi was the Chief of Mental Health at the Dorn VAMC in Columbia, SC from January 2013 to June 2014. While at Dorn VAMC, he served in multiple roles within the Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 7 which provided him broad exposure to increasing areas of clinical and administrative responsibilities. Prior to moving to VISN 7, he was the Medical Director of Inpatient Psychiatry at the Sacramento VA Medical Center in California from September 2007 to January 2013.

Dr. Kukoyi is board certified in Psychiatry and Family Medicine. He has held academic appointments at a variety of higher institutions of learning and is currently a Clinical Professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia. Dr. Kukoyi has expertise in psychosomatic medicine and in treating a wide array of psychiatric conditions and has a research interest in the interface between psychiatric and medical conditions. He is well-published in this field.

Dr. Kukoyi has a Masters in Clinical Investigation and has pursued research in the neuropsychiatry of epilepsy and has been recognized for his teaching and mentoring excellence of trainees. He is a 2012 graduate of the Health Care Leadership Development Program (HCLDP), a 2017 Federal Executive Institute (FEI) graduate and a VHA Certified Mentor.

“I am a proud Blazer, a 1999 UAB School of Medicine graduate, and I’m thrilled to be returning to Birmingham,” said Dr. Kukoyi. “I have fond memories of my time here, and I look forward to contributing to increased collaboration between the VA and UAB and helping prepare the next generation of physicians.”

Portrait of Kelvin Owens

Kelvin Owens | (205) 808-1561

Assistant Director

Kelvin Owens was appointed as the Assistant Medical Center Director effective September 18, 2016. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Owens served as the Executive Assistant to the Medical Center Director and the Assistant Chief of Logistics, Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia since July 2013 and May 2011, respectively.

Prior to joining the Department of Veteran Affairs, Mr. Owens served 28 years in the Army Medical Service Corps and retired at the rank of Colonel in 2011. During these 28 years, he served in progressively responsible positions to include Brigade and Battalion Command. He culminated his military career as the Chief of Staff for the Southeast Regional Medical Command at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

Mr. Owens was inducted into the Order of Military Medical Merit, and he has received numerous awards such as the Bronze Star, Legion of Merit (2), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal (7), and numerous others. He has earned numerous badges such as the Expert Field Medical Badge and the US Army and German Parachutist Badge.

Mr. Owens received a Master of Strategic Studies from the US Army War College (Resident) in 2006, a Master of Science Degree in Health Care Administration from Central Michigan University in 1991, and a Bachelor of Science Degree from Morgan State University in 1983 where he also received Distinguished Military Graduate recognition.