DeWayne Hamlin was appointed Director of the VA Caribbean Healthcare System in San Juan, Puerto Rico on December 14, 2012. As VACHS Director, Mr. Hamlin is responsible for a highly complex healthcare system consisting of a main medical center in San Juan and 10 outpatient clinics located throughout PR and the U.S. Virgin Islands serving a population of more than 110,000 Veterans.
Among his key responsibilities are providing executive leadership and strategic direction, managing a budget of almost half billion dollars and overseeing a work force of up to 3,400 employees. Among the challenges of leading such a complex VA healthcare system in the Caribbean is the physical distance from the Continental U.S. and the complexity of the languages spoken by Veterans who live on the Islands and who are served by VA health care. The primary language for Puerto Rico is Spanish whereas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, English is spoken.
Before his appointment to VA Caribbean, Mr. Hamlin served as Director of the Lexington VA Medical Center from 2011 to July 2012 and Director of the Boise, Idaho VAMC from 2007 to 2011.
The Juneau, AK. native also held the position of Associate Director at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida, where he was also the Chief of Facilities Management Service. Prior to Tampa, he was appointed Chief Engineer at the Clarksburg VAMC in West Virginia and Chief, Facilities Management Service at the VA Puget Sound Healthcare System in Seattle, Washington. He started his VA career in 1990 at the Portland, Oregon VAMC.
Mr. Hamlin has a Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a Master of Business Administration from Oregon State University.
Mr. Japhet Rivera was appointed as Acting Director, VA Caribbean Healthcare System on October 1, 2012. In this role, Rivera will oversee delivery of health care to more than 117,000 Veterans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and an operating budget of over $500 million at one of the nation’s largest VA Medical Centers. With 3,497 staff and facilities in San Juan, Ponce, Mayaguez, Arecibo, Guayama, Utuado, Comerio, Vieques and on the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix, the VA Caribbean Healthcare System is one the most complex of the nation’s 153 VA Medical Centers.
Prior to this appointment, Rivera has served as Deputy Director of the VA Caribbean Healthcare System where he had overall responsibility to plan, coordinate, evaluate and improve medical, administrative and support operations for the health care system. Mr. Rivera previously served as associate director for the Miami VA Healthcare System.
Rivera is an accomplished U.S. Army Veteran and a member of the Senior Executives Association, the American College of Healthcare Executives and Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals.
Ms. Nayda Ramirez was selected as Associate Director, VA Caribbean Healthcare System on February 2012. In this role, she is responsible for directing administrative services to include the following: Logistics, Facility Management, and Health Administrative Services. Previous to her appointment, Ms. Ramirez served as the health care system’s acting associate director.
She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives; a VHA Certified Mentor Fellow; possesses the Certificate of Competency Development for Leaders in the 21st Century and Certificate of Management Development Program. Mrs. Ramirez’s VA career spans to over 30 years where she has advanced to progressive leadership positions, from Health System Specialist, Staff Assistant to the Director and the Associate Director, she has assisted senior management with the formulation, coordination and implementation of key plans and programs. She has provided high-level analytical support on administrative issues, and advice on administrative strategic planning matters. Her role has been critical in serving as a liaison between the clinical and administrative operational programs.
Ms. Ramirez provides valuable insight in the areas of; personnel, administration, budget, financial management, construction projects, procurement/contracting, property equipment management and supply systems. The successful activations of major projects such as the Outpatient Addition and the South Bed Tower are among the most significant accomplishment of Mrs. Ramirez.
Associate Director Patient Care Services (ADPCS)
Dr. Ruiz was appointed Chief, Nursing Service in July 1999. Prior to her appointment, she served as Associate Chief, Nursing Service/Education, from 1991-1999 where she assessed, planned, implemented and evaluated education programs for Nursing Service and collaborated in the strategic planning and operational arm of education, hospital-wide. In her 27 years as a VA Caribbean Healthcare System employee, Dr. Ruiz has held a variety of positions: Staff Nurse, Nurse Manager, Recruiter/Instructor and ACNS/E. She was the Chairperson of the Nursing Research Committee for more than ten years and was instrumental in strategic planning for hospital education through her membership in and later direction of the Facility Undertakings to Strengthen Education (FUSE) program. As ACNS/E, she facilitated and participated in teams for Strategic Education Retreats.
As an Executive Team member, she is actively involved in all major committees, operations and planning for the medical center. She is a member of the VISN 8 Executive Leadership Board, Nursing Executive Committee, the VISN 8 Network Clinical Council, the VISN 8 Finance Committee, VISN 8 Data Validation Committee, the VISN 8 Patient Safety workgroup, and the VISN 8 Advanced Clinic Access Steering (ACA) Committee.
Dr. Ruiz is a graduate of the Bellevue School of Nursing.She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, School of Nursing.She is certified in Nursing Administration by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and has completed training in Management Development, Mentor Development and Alternate Dispute Resolution, as a mediator.She is a member of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, the Sigma Theta Tau, College of Professional Nurses, and Nurses Organization of VA.
Chief of Staff
Dr. Antonio Sánchez was appointed Chief of Staff of the VA Caribbean Healthcare System in San Juan, Puerto Rico effective June 2011. Having served as Acute Care Line Supervisor of the Mental & Behavioral Healthcare Services from January 2001 to June 2006; as Chief, Psychiatry Service from June 2006 to July 2009; Deputy Chief of Staff from July 2009 to September 2009; Interim Chief of Staff from September 2009 to June 2011; Dr. Sánchez brought a lot of experience and knowledge in development and health care supervision.
Dr. Antonio Sánchez has a specialty in Psychiatry and board certification by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology since 2005. He possesses excellent professional credentials and enjoys the personal and professional respect of our staff and his peers. Dr. Sánchez has trained medical students, residents in his specialty, has been involved in clinical research and has performed meaningful contributions to the development of several Mental Health programs of the VA Caribbean Healthcare System.
He is a graduate from the University of Puerto Rico, School of Medicine and obtained postgraduate training in Psychiatry on 1998.
He began his VA career at the VA Caribbean Healthcare System as staff Psychiatrist in August 1, 2000, and is a 2004 graduate of the CDL program. During the three years that Dr. Antonio Sánchez was Chief of Psychiatry Service, he was able to implement several Mental Health initiatives, improve access in the mental health services and integrates the Psychiatry profession in all facilities of the VA Caribbean Healthcare System. He has been a leader developing several programs of the Uniform Mental Health Services Handbook and initiating programs such as the Mental Health Intensive Case Management, Electroconvulsive Therapy Program and the development of the Mental Health Trauma Center. He also implemented several initiatives applying System Redesign strategies as well as Advanced Clinic Access in Mental He