Leadership Team - Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
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Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

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Leadership Team

Paul M. Russo, MHSA, FACHE, RD, Healthcare System Director/CEO

Paul M. Russo, MHSA, FACHE, RD | 727-398-9300

Healthcare System Director/CEO

Mr. Russo was appointed Director of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in September 2018. In this capacity, he oversees health care delivery for the entire organization which includes on large medical center, eight outpatient clinics and 4,300 employees with an operating budget of more than $810 million. Prior to this appointment, he served as Director of the Miami VA Healthcare System from 2012-2018 and also as Director at the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury, North Carolina. He began his VA career as a staff dietitian at the Buffalo VA Medical Center, eventually working his way to the Chief of the Integrated Nutrition and Food Service Department between Miami and West Palm Beach VA Healthcare Systems. He then served as the Assistant Director of the Miami VA Healthcare System prior to his appointment as Associate Director of the West Palm Beach VA Healthcare System from 1994 through 2010. He received his master's degree in health systems administration at Rochester Institute of Technology in 2005 and was recognized as a distinguished alumnus in 2013. He is board certified as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He is a recipient of the Administrators Hands and Heart Award in 1985 awarded when working as Oncology Dietitian at the Bay Pines VAHS and Secretary's Award for Dietitian of the Year in 1996. He is a senior member of the American Society for Quality and has maintained his registered dietitian status. In 2006 he received the ACHE Regents Award for establishing the Treasure Coast Health Care Executive Network, a local chapter of ACHE. He served as President of the chapter from 2006-2008 and board member thereafter. In 2011 he received the ACHE Distinguished Service Award. In February 2015 he received the Legion of Honor Humanitarian Award from the Chapel of the Four Chaplains in recognition of his service to all people regardless of race or faith.


Kristine Brown, MPH, Deputy Director

Kristine Brown, MPH | 727-398-9301

Deputy Director

Kris Brown was appointed as the Deputy Director of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (BPVAHCS), in October 2017. Prior to that, she served as both the Associate Director and the Assistant Director of the BPVAHCS since September 2007. During her tenure at Bay Pines VAHCS, she has been detailed into various leadership positions including Deputy VISN 8 Network Director in 2009 and Interim Healthcare System Director for a period of 14 months in 2011 and 2012. Ms. Brown holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Michigan and a Master's degree from the University of South Florida. She is also board certified as a Public Health Professional, and is a 2009 graduate of the Veteran Health Administration's Healthcare Leadership Institute. Ms. Brown started her VA career in 1994. Prior to coming to Bay Pines, she served as the manager for VHA's National Information and Data Management Committee and as a Communications Analyst for the Office of Information at VA Headquarters. She has held a number of program management and administrative officer positions at both the Atlanta VA Medical Center and the Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System.


Elamin M. Elamin, M.D., Chief of Staff

Elamin M. Elamin, M.D. | 727-398-6661 Ext. 15502

Chief of Staff

Dr. Amin (Elamin) M. Elamin is a Professor of Medicine at the University of South Florida. Also, he was the Assistant Chief of Medicine and Chief, Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Section at the James A. Haley VA Hospital in Tampa, Florida. Furthermore, Dr. Elamin was the Interim Chief of Staff at the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center, Dublin, GA during the summer of 2018. Dr. Elamin (Amin) M. Elamin earned his medical and surgery Master of Science degrees from the Ain Shams University Faculty of Medicine in Cairo, Egypt (1982, 1986), where he also completed a residency in general and pediatric surgery (1987). He then completed a fellowship in pediatric surgery at Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt (1989). Afterward he completed a general surgery internship at the Catholic Medical Center in New York City (1990) followed by a three-year residency in internal medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign (1993). Finally, he completed a two-year fellowship in critical care medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, (1995). Dr. Elamin is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Critical care Medicine, in addition he is certified by the Egyptian Board of Surgery. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Chest Physicians. Dr. Elamin was a member of the Southern Illinois University Physicians & Surgeons Practice Group "Board of Trustees." Also, he was awarded the "Achievement in Medical Management" certificate by the "American College of Physicians Executive" (ACPE) in 2007 and completed the "Leadership VA Program" in 2011.


Carrie Hawkins MS, RN, CCRN-K, Associate Director for Patient / Nursing Services

Carrie Hawkins MS, RN, CCRN-K | 727-398-6661 Ext. 14319

Associate Director for Patient / Nursing Services

Carrie Hawkins was appointed as the Associate Director for Patient Care Services in June 2020. She began her VA career in 2005 at the Denver VA Medical Center. During her tenure in Denver, Ms. Hawkins served in a variety of leadership positions including Deputy Associate Director for Patient Care Service, Chief Nurse of Inpatient Care, and VISN 19’s Virtual ICU Coordinator. She is a graduate of the VISN18/19 Leadership Development Institute and is a certified mentor. Ms. Hawkins holds a bachelor’s degree in Writing from the University of Colorado, a bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a master’s degree in Leadership both from Regis University.


Jonathan Benoit, MHSA, Associate Director

Jonathan Benoit, MHSA | 727-398-6661 Ext. 15501

Associate Director

Mr. Jonathan (John) Benoit was appointed as the Associate Director, Bay Pines VA Healthcare System effective June 24, 2018. As the associate director, Mr. Benoit is responsible for the executive level oversight of the healthcare system’s Engineering Service, Environmental Management Service, Logistics, Nutrition and Food Service, the Office of Safety and Emergency Management and the VA Police. In addition, he will act as the organizational liaison to the Network Contracting Office, Office of Information and Technology (OIT), and the Veterans Canteen Service (VCS). Prior to his appointment as associate director, he served as the acting assistant director since February 2018. Before that, he served as Chief, Health Administration Service since August 2016 and also served in a similar capacity for Eastern Colorado VA Healthcare System in Denver prior to coming to Bay Pines. Mr. Benoit began his VA career as a Graduate Healthcare Administration Training Program (GHATP) fellow with the VA Sunshine Healthcare Network (VISN 8), and then took a position with the Orlando VA Medical Center as the Chief of Data Quality for the center’s Health Administration Service. He is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from the University of North Florida with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Community Health and holds a Masters of Science Degree in Health Services Administration from the University of Central Florida. Mr. Benoit is also a Veteran of the U.S. Navy.


Joseph Scotchlas, Assistant Director

Joseph Scotchlas | 239-652-1850

Assistant Director

Mr. Joseph M. Scotchlas, MHA, FACHE was appointed as Assistant Director of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System effective November 11, 2018. As Assistant Director, Mr. Scotchlas has responsibility for community-based outpatient operations at eight sites of care across southwest Florida as part of the nation’s seventh-busiest VA healthcare system, with 12,000 admissions and 1.5 million outpatient visits annually. Mr. Scotchlas is also the site executive for the Lee County Healthcare Center, in Cape Coral, Florida, a highly complex ambulatory care center providing outpatient medical, surgical, mental health, and sub-specialty care. Prior to this role, Mr. Scotchlas served as the Health Systems Specialist to the Director and as Administrative Officer for the Department of Medicine, overseeing operations in emergency medicine, inpatient care, outpatient procedures, and thirteen specialty group practices. Mr. Scotchlas started with VA in 2012 as an Administrative Fellow in the Graduate Health Administration Training Program (GHATP) at the VA Sunshine Healthcare Network. Beginning his healthcare career in 2006, he worked as both a Paramedic and an Emergency Medical Technician for several 911-based services in Northeastern Pennsylvania. He has also held an administrative intern position at the Washington DC, and Wilkes-Barre, PA, VA Medical Centers and has served an administrative resident role at Community Life Support Systems. Mr. Scotchlas holds a Master of Healthcare Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from The University of Scranton, Pennsylvania. He is an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), serving on the Western Florida Chapter Board of Directors, and is board certified in healthcare management. He is also the recipient of the Regent’s Award from ACHE in 2015 and a Distinguished Service Award from the NEPA Healthcare Management Forum in 2012.