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VA Pacific Islands Health Care System


Leadership Team

Jennifer S. Gutowski, MHA, FACHE, CSSGB, VHA-CM |


Jennifer S. Gutowski, MHA, FACHE, CSSGB, VHA-CM was appointed Director, VA Pacific Island Health Care System (VAPICS) on May 14, 2017.

Prior to this assignment, Ms. Gutowski served as the Interim Director for the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System from January 4, 2016 through March 4, 2017. Ms. Gutowski served as Associate Director from July 2012 through January 3, 2016 and March 5, 2017 through May 13, 2017. Ms. Gutowski was at the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital as the Acting Associate Director from February 2012 through July 2012, and Assistant Director from December 2007 through February 2012. Prior to the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital, Ms. Gutowski held various positions at the VA Long Beach Health Care System.

Ms. Gutowski served as the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System Interim Director from January 4, 2016 to March 4, 2017. As Acting Director, she was responsible for overseeing operations, clinical programs and finances of the health care system which had an annual operating budget of $450 million and over 2,500 employees, a 277-bed health care system serving over 171,000 Veterans with seven Community Based Outpatient Clinics.

As the SAVAHCS Associate Director, Ms. Gutowski served as the Chief of the Resources Management Service Line and provided oversight for Finance, Human Resources, Logistics, Business Operations, and Voluntary Services. In addition, she provided supervision to the Facilities Management Service Line, Pharmacy Service Line, the Privacy Officer, and the Emergency Manager. Ms. Gutowski started her career in 1999 as a Graduate Health Administration Trainee and then moved into Health System Specialist positions.

Ms. Gutowski carries several certifications as a Certified Healthcare Executive, a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE), as well as a graduate of the VA Executive Career Field. Most recently in 2011, Ms. Gutowski achieved fellow status as a certified mentor (VHA-CM), and earned her Green Belt certification in Six Sigma (CSSGM) in 2009.

Ms. Gutowski has been active with local ACHE chapters during her career including Health Care Executives of Southern California, Chicago Health Care Executives Forum, and Arizona Health Care Executives. As a result of her leadership and roles with increasing responsibility in the VA, she received in 2005 the Early Careerist VA/ACHE Regent's Award, and the ACHE Regent?s Award. She was recognized for her efforts in serving on the Regent's Advisory Council and for her leadership position held in the Health Care Executives of Southern California and her active role in the Women in Health Administration.

Ms. Gutowski graduated with honors and earned a Bachelor's Degree in Public Health Administration from The Richard Stockton College in Pomona, NJ. She also holds a Master's Degree in Health Administration from Tulane University, School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, LA.

Andrew W. Freeman |

Acting Associate Director

Andrew W. Freeman is detailed as the Acting Associate Director for the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System effective October 14, 2017. He is responsible for the administrative operations of the health care facility to include Acquisitions and Material Management, the Business Office, Voluntary Services, the Compensation and Pension Program, Facilities Management and Engineering, Health Administration Services, Human Resources, the VA/DoD Office, and Prosthetics.

Prior to this detail, Andrew W. Freeman has served the VA for several years after retiring from the Army in 2006. He is the Chief of Health Administration here at the VA Pacific Islands. He has held the same post at the Central Alabama VA and at the Phoenix VA where he started his career as a Voucher Examiner in Fee Basis. During his VA Career has held positions as Employee Labor relations assistant, Program Support Assistant, Administrative Officer, Chief of Compensation & Pension and Eligibility/Enrollment and Assistant Chief of Health Administration Service.

Portrait of William Dubbs, M.D.

William Dubbs, M.D. |

Chief of Staff

Dr. Dubbs was appointed Chief of Staff at the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System on September 16, 2007. He received his medical degree in 1975 from the University of Nebraska, completed an internship and residency at the Naval Hospital in San Diego, and received board certification in surgery from the American Board of Surgery in 1989.

Prior to his medical degree, he earned a Bachelor's degree from Phillips University in Enid, OK, and also earned a Master's degree from Oklahoma State University. While at the Naval Hospital in San Diego, Dr. Dubbs served as surgeon and chairman for the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery until 1989. He practiced as a cardiothoracic surgeon from 1989 to 1991 in San Diego and as a general practitioner from 1991 to 1995 in Stilwell, OK. While in Stilwell, he also served as Medical Director for the Cherokee Nation Indian Clinic from 1993 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, he served as Director for the Cookson Hills Rural Health Clinic in Cookson, OK. He maintained a private practice in Tahlequah, OK, from 1995 to 2001. In Sept. 2001, Dr. Dubbs joined the VA as the Chief of Staff at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee, OK.

Dr. Dubbs is a member of the American Medical Association, Oklahoma State Medical Association, Tri-Country Medical Association, International College of Surgeons, Southern Medical Association, Diplomat American Board of Medical Examiners, American College of Chest Physicians and American Thoracic Society.

Portrait of Katrina E. Hansen-Schmitt, DNP, FNP-BC

Katrina E. Hansen-Schmitt, DNP, FNP-BC |

Associate Director, Patient Care Services Nurse Executive

Katrina (Kate) Hansen-Schmitt was appointed to the position of Associate Director, Patient Care Services in January 2014. Her foremost goal is to serve veterans through excellent patient care in nursing. Prior to this appointment she held positions as Associate Chief Nurse, Geriatrics and Extended Care and as Nurse Practitioner for Home Based Primary Care on the island of Maui from 2006 to 2013. Kate has served in the VA for 16 years, coming to the VAPIHCS from New Orleans, LA in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She retired from the United States Naval Reserve in 2007, after 20 years of service as Lieutenant Commander, Nurse Corps.

As the Associate Chief Nurse for Geriatrics, she provided oversight of the Community Living Center (CLC) at the VAPIHCS, as well as supervised the CLC day-to-day operations. She provided nursing oversight for the Share the Care, Community Nursing Home, Hospital at Home, Caregiver Support, and Hospice/Palliative Care programs. She is a VA certified mentor, and has completed the VA Leadership Development Institute (LDI) and Geriatric Scholars program for Rural Health.

Dr. Hansen-Schmitt graduated from Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, (1993). She arrived in New Orleans VA as a Health Professional Scholar graduate beginning her new career as a floor RN on the Telemetry Unit. She progressed to the Step Down Unit, then the Surgical Intensive Care Unit as a Certified Critical Care RN.

In 1998, she began to pursue her Master's Degree in Nursing at Louisiana State University Graduate School of Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She received funding through a mentorship program working with one of the VA Nurse Practitioners. She was assigned to the Inpatient Mental Health Unit as a Family Nurse Practitioner, providing primary care to those patients. She later received her Doctorate in Nursing Practice Degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2013 through the National Nursing Education Incentive (NNEI).

Dr. Hansen-Schmitt is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, the Golden Key International Honor Society, the Hawaii Association of Professional Nurses, and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She holds current American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner, and as a Board Certified Nurse Executive.

Portrait of Kathryn Ryder, MD


Deputy Chief of Staff, VA Pacific Islands Health Care System

Dr. Ryder was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff at the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System July, 2015. She received her medical degree in 1992 from the Yale School of medicine, completed an internship and residency at Boston Medical Center, and served as Chief Resident. She received board certification in Medicine from the American Board of Internal Medicine in 1996 and was recertified in 2007.

Prior to her medical degree, she earned a Bachelor's degree from Yale University and then a Master's Degree in Epidemiology from the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in 2003. Her research publications are in osteoporosis. She received certification as a Patient Safety officer, participating in the Advanced Training Program in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement in Salt Lake City. Dr. Ryder worked at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center as an Associate Professor and joined the VA Memphis in 2006, where she taught hospital medicine and Patient Safety and Quality Improvement. She served as Deputy Chief of Medicine, then Acting Chief of Medicine at the VA Memphis. She became the Deputy Chief of Staff at the VA Memphis in 2012.