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Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

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Leadership Team

Portrait of Paul M. Russo, MHSA, FACHE, RD

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.

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 Jonathan Benoit, MHSA

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.

Portrait of Joseph Scotchlas

Joseph Scotchlas | 2396521850


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.