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Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

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Leadership Team

Portrait of Suzanne M. Klinker

Suzanne M. Klinker | 727-398-9300

Medical Center Director

Suzanne M. Klinker was appointed as the Medical Center Director of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in May 2012. With dedication to the organization’s I CARE values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect, and excellence, she oversees health care delivery for the entire organization which includes one large medical center, eight outpatient clinics and 4,000 employees with an operating budget of more than $700 million.

Previously, Ms. Klinker served as the director of the VA Medical Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, and prior to that, she served as the Associate Medical Center Director at VA Western New York Healthcare System in Buffalo and Batavia, New York. Ms. Klinker started her VA service at the Colmery-O’Neil VA Medical Center in Topeka, Kansas, and has also worked at VA Eastern Kansas Health Care System and the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Texas. Ms. Klinker was recognized by the Secretary for her service at the Houston facility in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Ms. Klinker began her VA career in 1995. She completed VHA's Health Care Leadership Institute and graduated from VHA's Executive Career Field Candidate Development Program. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She began her Federal service working for then U.S. Representative Jim Slattery from 1989 through 1994 in Washington, DC, and Topeka, Kansas.

Ms. Klinker was born in Lafayette, Indiana, and received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration majoring in Finance from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, and a Master of Science in Management from Baker University in Topeka, Kansas.


Portrait of Kristine Brown, MPH

Kristine Brown, MPH | (727) 398-9301

Associate Director

Kris Brown was appointed as the Associate Director of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, in December 2009. Prior to that, Kris served as the Assistant Director of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System 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.


Portrait of Dominique Thuriere, MD

Dominique Thuriere, MD | (727) 398-9302

Chief of Staff

Dr. Dominique A. Thuriere was appointed as Chief of Staff for the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in January 2013. In her current position, she has oversight responsibilities for all clinical operations across the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Thuriere served as Chief, Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences Service at Bay Pines since 2000, and then was appointed as the organization’s Acting Chief of Staff in June 2012. As the Chief of the Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences Service, she provided oversight and held responsibility for a large and complex mental health service comprised of 14 subspecialty programs staffed by 138 mental health professionals. During her tenure as chief, the service expanded exponentially and was recognized by VA as one of the best mental health services in the nation. Dr. Thuriere started her VA career in 1990 at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa as an inpatient psychiatrist and joined the staff at Bay Pines in 1993. She has a faculty appointment at the University Of South Florida College Of Medicine. Dr. Thuriere is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo College of Medicine and completed her residency training in New York City at the North Shore University Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.


Portrait of Teresa Kumar, RN, MSN, CPHQ, NEA-BC

Teresa Kumar, RN, MSN, CPHQ, NEA-BC | (727) 398-6661 ext. 14319

Associate Director for Patient / Nursing Services

Teresa Kumar was appointed Associate Director for Patient/Nursing Services September 2008. Ms. Kumar is responsible for overseeing Nursing, Nursing Informatics, Supply Processing and Distribution (SPD) and Chaplain Services. She holds an undergraduate degree in Human Resources Management and a graduate degree in the Science of Nursing. She also serves as an Adjunct Professor for Bellevue University and is a published author. Ms. Kumar has worked for VHA for over 10 years serving primarily in the role of Quality Management Officer in VISN 23. She has held senior nursing roles in the private sector in large tertiary care settings as well as extended care settings.


Portrait of Jeffrey Birdsong

Jeffrey Birdsong | 727 398-6661 ext. 15501

Acting Assistant Director

Jeffrey Birdsong was appointed Acting Assistant Director of the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System in May 2017. Mr. Birdsong comes to Bay Pines from the Orlando VA Medical Center where he currently serves as the Chief of Facilities Management Service and has oversight responsibility for Maintenance and Operations, Environmental Management, Biomedical Engineering, Projects, and Safety. During his leadership at the Orlando VA Medical Center, he has also supported the mission in acting roles as Associate Director, Assistant Director, and Activations Executive, providing support for construction and activation of the new hospital at the Lake Nona campus. Mr. Birdsong has been in Healthcare Engineering for approximately 24 years. He began his career in 1993 as the Assistant Chief Engineer at the Big Spring VA Medical Center. In 1999, he assumed the role as Chief Engineer at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Ft. Pierce, Florida, until his return to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at the Orlando VA Medical Center. Mr. Birdsong received his undergraduate degree in Aerospace Engineering from Mississippi State University. He received his graduate degree (Executive MBA) from University of Central Florida. During his undergraduate studies, he was a co-op student in the Flight Mechanics Branch at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. After graduating from Mississippi State University, he began his VA career as an Engineer Trainee at the Indianapolis VA Medical Center.