Judy Johnson-Mekota, Deputy Network Director (DND) for the VA Midwest Health Care Network (VISN 23), will serve as Acting Director of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System as of Sept. 1. Ms. Johnson-Mekota received her undergraduate degree in Nursing from Coe College, and her Master of Nursing Administration from the University of Iowa. After gaining health care experience in the p private sector, she began her career with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in 1992 as a nurse manager of a Coronary Care unit. She has held several positions of increasing responsibility within VA, to include the Administrative Officer/Chief of Staff at the Iowa City VA Medical Center from 2001-2007. During her tenure as Administrative Officer, she served details as Acting Associate Director at the Iowa City, Iowa and Fargo, North Dakota VA Medical Centers. She is a graduate of the Veterans Health Administration Health Care Leadership Institute. Ms. Johnson-Mekota is a certified VHA mentor, maintains membership in the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, and is board certified as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Erik J. Stalhandske
Erik J. Stalhandske was appointed Associate Director in August 2012. Mr. Stalhandske has a BA in Political Science, and two graduate degrees; a Masters in Public Policy and a Masters of Health Services Administration. Mr. Stalhandske served as the Interim Associate Director at the VA North Texas Health Care System in Dallas, a facility with over 4,500 employees and six outpatient clinics. He was the Interim Assistant Director at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, a facility with over 4,000 employees, as well as the Interim Associate Director at the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center in Saginaw, Michigan. Mr. Stalhandske has diverse and valuable experience which includes Program Manager for the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for Patient Safety, Interim Program Manager for the VA National Mental Health Homeless Program in Washington, DC, and the Assistant Financial Manager at the Great Lakes Region Department of Veterans Affairs.
Chief of Staff
Kent Crossley, M.D. was appointed Chief of Staff in June 2011. Prior to his appointment as Chief of Staff, Dr. Crossley served as Associate Chief of Staff/Education. He has held the rank of Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and a well-known expert in infectious diseases. Dr. Crossley received his clinical and research training in infectious diseases in the Channing Laboratory at Boston City Hospital. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. He received a Master of Healthcare Administration degree from the University of Minnesota in 2000. Another major interest is the clinical nature and epidemiology of infections in elderly people and in nursing home residents.
Helen V. Pearlman, became Nurse Executive at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System on September 1, 2010. Prior to her appointment, she spent 28 years in the U.S. Navy. Prior to joining the VA, Captain Pearlman served as assistant Chief of Staff at Navy Medicine West. A graduate of D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York, she was commissioned in the Nurse Corps in 1982, upon completion of Officers Indoctrination School in Newport, Rhode Island. In 1995, she received a master’s of science degree from Hampton University, with a major in community health nursing and a focus on nursing education. She was deployed with Fleet Hospital 8 to Rota, Spain, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where she was the Director of Nursing Services for the 250 bed hospital. In 2004 she was selected to be the Executive Officer, Naval Hospital, Naples. In 2006 she became the Commanding Officer of U. S. Naval Hospital Sigonella, Italy.
To contact the Minneapolis VA Health Care System leadership:
1-866-414-5058 (toll free)