Leadership Team - Birmingham, Alabama VA Health Care System
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Birmingham, Alabama VA Health Care System


Leadership Team

Stacy J Vasquez, Medical Center Director

Stacy J Vasquez | 205-933-8101

Medical Center Director

Ms. Stacy Vasquez currently serves as the Director of the Birmingham VA Medical Center which includes nine Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCS) providing quality care to Veterans of Alabama and surrounding states with an operating budget of over $500 million. In this role, she has responsibility for the executive level leadership of this 141-bed acute tertiary care. As a complexity level 1a facility, it provides comprehensive primary and specialty health care. As the Director of the Beckley VA Medical Center, she led efforts to replace, activate and expand services at two CBOCs. Ms. Vasquez was responsible for expansion and oversight of the Network Nurse Telephone Call Center which provided services to Veterans in twelve medical centers. averaging over 10,000 Veterans per month. She chaired Strategic Planning Committee for a network of six medical centers. Beckley VA Medical Center led the nation in All Employee Survey Best Place to Work Scores and the U.S. Interagency on Homelessness certified an end to homelessness in the eleven county radius making first multi-catchment rural area to end homeless. Ms. Vasquez served as the Director for MyVA Performance Improvement partnering across the VA to lead the largest transformation in the VA that led to direct access in audiology and optometry nationwide as well pre-need burial for Veterans. She currently sits on the VA Health Equity Coalition to reduce disparity in care and the regional policy board for the American Hospital Association advocating for Veterans with prominent private health leaders. Ms. Vasquez is a 12-year Army Veteran that has done extensive work to further equal employment opportunities for military members by assisting with drafting legislation that became law allowing equal service in the military. She is the recipient of the Barry Winchell Courage Award, Human Rights Campaign Community Equality Award, numerous Army commendations and is a Sergeant Audie Murphy Club member.

Mary Mitchell, Associate Director

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.

Cynthia Cleveland, DNP, RN, NE-BC, Associate Director for Patient/Nursing Services

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.

Oladipo A Kukoyi, Chief of Staff

Oladipo A Kukoyi | 205-933-8101

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.”

Jamie DeFreese, MSHA, MBA  , Assistant Director

Jamie DeFreese, MSHA, MBA | 205-933-8101

Assistant Director

was appointed Assistant Medical Center Director effective December 6, 2020. She graduated from The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management in 2003, a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) in 2005 and a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration (M.S.H.A.) in 2006. She is a VHA certified mentor and has earned a Black Belt in LEAN Healthcare Process Systems Redesign. Ms. DeFreese began her VA career in June 2004 as an Accounting Trainee at BVAHCS. She held the position of Assistant Chief Financial Officer prior to her appointment as the Chief Financial Officer in July 2016. During her 15-year VA career, Ms. DeFreese has served as the Acting Assistant Director and Acting Associate Director for multiple terms. Ms. DeFreese is a current member of the Veterans Health Administration Health Care Leadership Development Program (HCLDP).