Leadership Team - San Francisco VA Health Care System
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San Francisco VA Health Care System


Leadership Team

Bonnie S. Graham, MBA, Director

Bonnie S. Graham, MBA | 415-750-2041


Bonnie S. Graham was appointed Director of the San Francisco VA Health Care System in August 2013. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Graham served as Deputy Director for the Veterans Health Administration Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation. In that role, she was responsible for Patient Centered Care national operations, strategy and roll-out of this new program to create innovative programs and tools focused on providing personalized, proactive, patient-driven health care. Since joining VA in 2004, Ms. Graham has held progressively responsible leadership positions, including Associate Director at the VA Pittsburgh Health Care System, a three-hospital division academic medical center, and the leader of the VA Secretary’s T21 initiative of “Enhancing the Veteran Experience and Access to Healthcare.” Prior to her VA experience, Ms. Graham held several high-level executive positions in the private sector, including Vice President for Medical Group Operations at Lovelace Health Systems, Inc. in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Vice President for Medical Services at The Rehabilitation Center of Greater Waterbury in Waterbury, Connecticut; and Executive Director of the Center for Nutrition and Rehabilitation, P.C. in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Jia F. Li, MBA, Deputy Director

Jia F. Li, MBA | 415-750-2042

Deputy Director

Jia F. Li is a highly experienced, accomplished, and decorated health care executive with over 20 years of management and leadership experience in both the public and private health care sectors. She currently serves as the Deputy Director of the San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVAHCS), where she oversees the all fiscal operations and patient-facing administrative services for a large federal health care system that is renowned for its cutting-edge research program, innovations, and its nationally-recognized clinical programs. Starting in 2004, she served as the Administrative Officer of the SFVAHCS Mental Health Service, managing the resources and operations for a health service with a $13 million annual budget. From there, Jia rose steadily through the SFVAHCS leadership ranks, starting with her role as Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff. In 2016, she was appointed Director of Ambulatory Care, where she was responsible for leading, modernizing, and overseeing outpatient access for all Veterans in the San Francisco VA’s care—including primary care, mental health, and specialty care. As part of this role, Jia was designated the VA’s first nation-wide Group Practice Manager, helping VHA pilot and develop the VHA dashboard for monitoring outpatient access. This valuable experience led to her appointment as Associate Director, where she was charged with the developing the health care system’s vision for improving health care access and enhancing patient experience. In 2019, she was selected as the Deputy Director of the SFVAHCS. Jia is a visionary health care leader with an eye on maintaining service excellence for today, while constantly pushing for improvements of tomorrow. She is committed to building an agile and innovative health care environment and workforce that is as empowering to its clinical providers as it is healing to its patients. She holds a BS in Physiology from the University of California, Davis and an MBA from San Francisco State University.

Stephen J. Ruggirello, Associate Director

Stephen J. Ruggirello | 415-750-2042

Associate Director

Stephen J. Ruggirello was appointed Associate Director of the San Francisco VA Health Care System in September 2019. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Ruggirello served as Chief of Supply Chain Management Service from 2017 to 2019 and distinguished himself by elevating the quality and customer focus of his service. Prior to joining the San Francisco VA Health Care System, Mr. Ruggirello served as Deputy Chief of Logistics Management Service from 2015 to 2017, Chief of Material Management/Supervisory Inventory Management Specialist from 2011 to 2015, Chief of Warehouse Operations/Warehouse Supervisor from 2009 to 2011, and Property Utilization Specialist in 2009 at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. Before joining VA, Mr. Ruggirello served on active duty in the United States Navy from 1984 to 1989 and in the Reserves from 1989 to 1992. Mr. Ruggirello is an authentic leader that actively encourages creative thinking, collaboration, and accountability in his leadership. He is passionate about serving our Veterans and is committed to the ICARE values (Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect & Excellence) to deliver world-class, customer-focused, Veteran-centered patient care.

Bruce Ovbiagele, M.D., MSc, MAS, MBA, Chief of Staff

Bruce Ovbiagele, M.D., MSc, MAS, MBA | 415-750-2047

Chief of Staff

Bruce Ovbiagele, MD, MSc, MAS, MBA, joined the San Francisco VA Health Care System as Chief of Staff on Aug. 9, 2018. Dr. Ovbiagele arrived from the Medical University of South Carolina, where he most recently served as professor and chairman of the Neurology Department. He is a clinical epidemiologist and global health scholar, with a focus on reducing the burden of stroke. He maintains several National Institutes of Health-funded research programs focused on improving outcomes for those with, or at risk for, stroke, and in 2008, his work was recognized by the American Academy of Neurology with the Michael Pessin Stroke Research Leadership Award. He has published over 440 peer-reviewed articles and edited four textbooks. Dr. Ovbiagele is an elected fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London), American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, American Association for Physician Leadership, and European Stroke Organization, as well as an AAMC Council of Deans Fellow. He is a member of the NINDS Advisory Council, NIH Council of Councils, and FDA Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee. Upon his arrival to SFVAHCS, Dr. Ovbiagele was appointed as Associate Dean at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine and will serve as the liaison between SFVAHCS and UCSF overseeing the teaching of medical students and residents, and supporting the acquisition of new knowledge through the clinical and basic research conducted by UCSF faculty. Dr. Ovbiagele earned his M.D. from the University of Lagos, Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSc) from UCLA; Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) from UC San Diego, MBA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and an Executive Certificate in Public Leadership from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Mary Ann Nihart, MA, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, PMH, Associate Director for Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive

Mary Ann Nihart, MA, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, PMH | 415-750-2043

Associate Director for Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive

Mary Ann Nihart is the Associate Director for Patient Care Services for the San Francisco VA Health Care System. Since receiving her Master’s degree in nursing from the University of Iowa, Ms. Nihart has been involved in outreach services, provided clinical supervision in a crisis intervention program and developed training programs for nursing staff in acute hospital settings. Ms. Nihart had been in private practice specializing in the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders in women and provided ongoing consultation for a variety of outpatient, residential, and hospital settings. In 2010, Ms. Nihart joined the San Francisco VA Health Care System, managing nursing staff in nine outpatient programs, later becoming Chief Nurse for Mental Health, Critical Care Services and the Cath Lab. In 2014, Mary Ann became the Clinical Director Chief Nurse for Ambulatory Care-CBOCs and Telephone Linked Care and co-wrote our VANAP-GE OAA grant for the joint SFVA/UCSF PMHNP Training and Residency Program. She also holds a second Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology. Ms. Nihart was the recipient of the 2018 John D. Chase Award for Executive Excellence in Health Care. Ms. Nihart has received numerous awards including the American Psychiatric Nurse of the Year for the American Psychiatric Nurses Association of which she was Past President. Currently, she chairs the APNA Clinical Psychopharmacological Institute and is Lead Coordinator of the Nursing Organizations Alliance. Ms. Nihart is well published including co-editor of "Psychiatric Nursing: Contemporary Practice" and is an Associate Clinical Professor at the UCSF School of Nursing