Leadership Team - Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas
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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Leadership Team

Francisco Vazquez, M.B.A., Medical Center Director

Francisco Vazquez, M.B.A. | 713-794-7931

Medical Center Director

Francisco Vazquez, was appointed Medical Center Director of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) in August 2016. Mr. Vazquez is charged with managing the most complex VA medical center in the country with more than 5,500 employees and an annual budget of approximately $1.3 billion. In addition to caring for more than 114,000 Veterans in southeast Texas, MEDVAMC also serves as a regional and national referral center for many services including cardiac surgery, liver transplant, traumatic brain injury, epilepsy and other neurological disorders, radiation therapy, and spinal cord injury care. Mr. Vazquez has more than 24 years of federal service with a wide variety of technical and progressive leadership experience. He served as Vice President of Information Management at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center, and he was the Chief Information Officer at the VA Medical Center in Sheridan, Wyoming. He also has been a civilian employee of the U. S. Navy and held positions in computer and software engineering at the Naval Air Warfare Center (Avionics Division) in Indianapolis, Indiana. Most recently he served as the medical center director at the Wichita, Kansas, VA Medical Center. A graduate of the Universidad Sagrado Corazon in San Juan, Puerto Rico with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science, Mr. Vazquez received his MBA from Texas Woman's University. He is an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, and a proud Navy Veteran.


Lindsey Crain, MHA, FACHE, Deputy Medical Center Director

Lindsey Crain, MHA, FACHE | 713-794-8923

Deputy Medical Center Director

Lindsey Crain, MHA, FACHE, was appointed as the Deputy Medical Center Director for Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in July 2019. As Deputy Director, Ms. Crain is responsible for administrative operations, including: Human Resources, Fiscal Service, Facilities Management, Environmental Management, Communications, Emergency Preparedness, Police, and Facility Planning. Ms. Crain previously served as the Deputy Executive of the Medical Care Line. In this capacity, she provided oversight for approximately 1000 employees and a $10 million-dollar operating budget. Ms. Crain began her VA career in 2005 at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System as an Administrative Resident. Over the next six years, Ms. Crain grew her portfolio at the Central Texas Veterans HCS in many different administrative roles. Ms. Crain holds Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Healthcare Administration from Texas State University in San Marcos, has a black belt in lean six sigma, is a board-certified healthcare executive and fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives, and is a graduate of the VHA Health Care Leadership Development Program and a VA Certified Mentor.


Mark Kobelja, MD, Chief of Staff

Mark Kobelja, MD | 713-794-7011

Chief of Staff

Dr. Mark Kobelja was appointed the Chief of Staff of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in March 2021. Dr. Kobelja is a 33-year Veteran of the U.S. Navy with extensive physician executive leadership experience in academic medical referral centers and senior medical advisor roles including Director, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Surgeon General for U.S. European Command, Stuttgart, Germany. After graduation from Spring Hill College with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics he was commissioned in the U.S. Navy and completed two tours as Surface Warfare Officer. He was then selected for medical training and attended the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Dr. Kobelja went on to complete his residency in Anesthesiology at the National Naval Medical Center and a Pain Medicine Fellowship at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Anesthesiology and has held numerous clinical and academic appointments. Dr. Kobelja is an avid proponent of clinical innovation, research, medical education, and the systematic quality improvement in the care of Service Members and Veterans and has led a variety of clinical quality and staff experience improvements as well as organization firsts in education, research, and quality accreditations, certifications and recognitions during his leadership tenures.


Kelly A. Irving, MSN, RN, Associate Director Patient Care Services

Kelly A. Irving, MSN, RN | 713-794-7475

Associate Director Patient Care Services

Kelly Irving, MSN, RN, is the MEDVAMC Associate Director, Patient Care Services (ADPCS). Ms. Irving has more than 20 years of nursing experience, including 17 years in important nursing leadership positions. As ADPCS, she serves as a key member of the medical center senior management team; providing leadership and expert knowledge for the VA's state-of-the-art medical facility and nine community based outpatient clinics in southeast Texas. Ms. Irving has been with the Department of Veterans Affairs since March 2005 and has been at MEDVAMC since 2009. She has served as a Skin Risk Nurse Manager, Associate Chief Nurse of Operations and most recently as the Deputy Associate Director for Patient Care Services. "I am looking forward to continuing to work with the dedicated professionals at the Houston VA and to the challenge of taking on this new position," Irving said. "I am proud of the top quality patient care that is provided to Veterans every day at this Medical Center." Irving is also especially proud of MEDVAMC's second redesignation of Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Services that was awarded in February of this year. "I am continually amazed at what the staff here at this Medical Center can accomplish when we put our minds to it," she said. "We are the first VA in the system to receive a second redesignation of magnet status. That is something of which we can all be extremely proud." Ms. Irving received her BSN from Our Lady of Holy Cross College in May of 1993 and then received a MSN from the University of Phoenix in September of 1998. Additionally, she received an Enterostomal Therapy Certificate from the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center in 1997. Ms. Irving is also a graduate of VISN 16 Leadership Development Institute (LDI) and Advanced LDI.


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Uma Ayyala, M.D. | 713-794-7436

Acting Medical Center Deputy Chief of Staff


Christopher Myhaver, MHA, FACHE, Associate Director

Christopher Myhaver, MHA, FACHE | 713-794-7531

Associate Director

Christopher Myhaver, MHA, FACHE was appointed as the Associate Director of the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in August 2019. As Associate Director, Mr. Myhaver is a member of the facility’s senior executive team and provides critical oversight and management of administrative hospital operations, including: HAS, Logistics, Nutrition and Food Service, Pharmacy, Privacy Office, Prosthetics, Veterans Experience Office, VCS, OI&T, and Purchasing and Contracting. Prior to taking on this role, Mr. Myhaver was the Executive Director of Business Operations and Administration in the VHA Office of Care in the Community. In this role, he was responsible for providing oversight for the administrative and support services for the Office of Community Care. This includes the oversight of Policy and Planning, Equal Employment Opportunity, Communications, Congressional Correspondence, and the financial management and execution of an approximately $14B annual Community Care budget. Mr. Myhaver joined the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2004 as a PRIME Resident at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System. In 2005, he became an Administrative Resident at the VA North Texas Health Care System as a part of the Graduate Health Administrative Trainee Program. Mr. Myhaver later served in leadership roles at the VA North Texas Healthcare System, Grand Junction VAMC, Overton Brooks VAMC, and El Paso VA Health Care System. At the VACO level, Mr. Myhaver worked as the Director of OCC’s Claims Adjudication and Reimbursement (CAR) office. In this role, he was responsible for administering VA healthcare benefits for Veterans and family members for CHAMPVA, Spina Bifida Healthcare, Children of Women Vietnam Veterans Program, Caregiver Support Program, Foreign Medical Program, VA Community Care (VACC) and Camp Lejeune Family Member Program. CAR is comprised of approximately 2,200 employees. Mr. Myhaver received a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio and a Bachelor of Science in Community Health from Texas A&M University in College Station. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.