Leadership Team - Minneapolis VA Health Care System
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Minneapolis VA Health Care System

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Leadership Team

Patrick J. Kelly, FACHE, Director

Patrick J. Kelly, FACHE | 612-725-2101


Patrick J. Kelly, Captain, US Navy (retired) became the Director of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System in June 2013. Prior to that he served as the Director of the Sioux Falls VA from July 2011 to June 2013. Mr. Kelly received his BA degree in 1979 from Creighton University, Omaha, NE. He received a Master of Public Health Degree in 1982 from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. He was commissioned a Lieutenant (junior grade) in 1983 and served over 28 years in progressively more responsible positions in the Navy. Significant leadership tours included his time as Senior Policy Analyst in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), Executive Officer of the Naval Hospital and Commanding Officer of Fleet Hospital in Bremerton, WA where he deployed as Commanding Officer of Fleet Hospital Eight in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Commanding Officer, Naval Health Care New England, Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations at the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and Chief of Staff, Navy Medicine West prior to retiring in October 2011.

Kent Crossley, MD, MHA, Chief of Staff

Kent Crossley, MD, MHA | 612-725-2105

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.

Kurt E. Thielen, Associate Director

Kurt E. Thielen | 612-467-4194

Associate Director

Kurt E. Thielen, US Air Force (Retired) was appointed Associate Director in January 2015. Mr. Thielen received his BS in 1986 from the University of Minnesota, MN and his Master’s in Business Administration from Golden Gate University in 1992. He was commissioned in 1986 and attended navigator training. He served as a Weapon Systems Officer in F-4E/Gs and F-15Es in the Philippines, Alaska, Virginia, and England with 2500 hours of flight time in fighter aircraft. He is an Operation Allied Force and Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran and served in assignments on the Inspector General Team and as an Operations Squadron Commander for the Alaskan Region of North American Aerospace Defense before retiring in 2007. He came to the Minneapolis VAHCS as the Director of the Business Office and during that time has served in numerous national and network capacities. He is a graduate of Leadership VA in 2011.

Mandy Smoot, MOT, OTR/L, Acting Associate Director/Chief Experience Officer

Mandy Smoot, MOT, OTR/L | 612-629-7377

Acting Associate Director/Chief Experience Officer

Mandy Smoot, MOT, OTR/L was appointed as the Acting Associate Director/Chief Experience Officer of the Minneapolis VAHCS in September 2020, a position she held from May-October 2019. She currently serves as the Rehabilitation Director for the Extended Care and Rehabilitation (EC&R) Service Line. She chairs the Veterans Experience Committee and is the site contact for Patient Experience surveys. Ms. Smoot began her career at the VA in 2005, and has served in multiple roles in the EC&R service line including clinical occupational therapist, Polytrauma Network Site Director, Chief of the Occupational Therapy service, and as the Assistant Chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Ms. Smoot is a graduate of the VA’s Healthcare Leadership Development Program (HCLDP) as well as the Senior Executive Fellows (SEF) program through the Kennedy School at Harvard. In addition, she holds an Executive Certificate in Health Care Administration, a certificate in Women in Leadership and a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. Ms. Smoot is a wife of a Veteran and grew up on a civilian naval base.

Helen Pearlman, MS, RN, Nurse Executive

Helen Pearlman, MS, RN | 612-725-2101

Nurse Executive

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.