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Atlanta VA Medical Center


Leadership Team

Portrait of Leslie B. Wiggins

Leslie B. Wiggins | 404-321-6111 x7601

Medical Center Director

Ms. Leslie B. Wiggins assumed duties as the new Director of the Atlanta VA Medical Center on May 20, 2013. Ms. Wiggins oversees the delivery of health care to more than 96,000 Veterans via a workforce of over 3,900 employees, and an operating budget of more than $500 million. She has a proven track record as an exceptional health care leader and former VA Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) for Labor-Management Relations with outstanding qualifications and skills, demonstrated management ability to lead complex organizations, motivate employees, manage resources and work successfully with widely varied stakeholder groups.

Ms. Wiggins began her career with the VA in 1993. Prior to her current appointment, she served VA in many capacities, including Nurse Executive, Medical Center Quality Manager and her most recent role as Medical Center Associate Director (Chief Operating Officer) at the Detroit VA Medical Center.

Ms. Wiggins’ extensive experience includes strong and decisive management of clinical health care operations and administrative areas such as clinical, financial, human capital and facility planning. As former DAS for Labor Management Relations, she served as principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration in VA Central Office, Washington, D.C., on matters pertaining to the development and management of labor relations within the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ms. Wiggins was responsible for the establishment of a corporate approach to managing the Department’s relationship with its five national labor unions. Likewise, she was responsible for development and maintenance of an effective approach to expedited negotiation of all national collective bargaining agreements and national initiatives that impact the working conditions of bargaining unit employees.

Portrait of Thomas Grace

Thomas Grace | 404-728-7602

Associate Medical Center Director

Mr. Thomas Grace, MBA/MHA, was appointed Associate Director of the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Decatur, Georgia, in July 2012. Previously, Mr. Grace served as Atlanta VAMC Assistant Director, Acting Associate Director, and Acting Director. Before coming to Atlanta in 2009, he was the Chief, Systems Analysis and Management Section for the Central Texas Veterans Healthcare System. Mr. Grace began his VA career as a Graduate Health Administration Training Program resident at the Asheville VA Medical Center in July 1994. After completing his residency, Mr. Grace became a Health System Specialist (HSS) trainee at the Asheville VAMC. Upon completing the HSS training program in 1996, Mr. Grace served as the Clinic Administrator at the Lawton/Fort Sill VA Outpatient Clinic in Lawton, OK. In April 1999, he joined the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center, Dublin, GA, as the Business Manager for the Primary Care Service Line. In February 2005, he became a Health System Specialist supporting the Chief of Staff at the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center. Mr. Grace obtained his Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology in March 1992. He completed his Masters Degree in Business Administration in June 1994 and completed his Masters Degree in Health Administration in March 1995 at Georgia State University. Mr. Grace is a member of the Executive Career Field Candidate Development Program Class of 2006.

Portrait of Robert D. Evans

Robert D. Evans | 404-321-6111x6870

Assistant Director

A graduate of Bowdoin College (A.B.-1976), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.-1979), Candler School of Theology (Th.M.-1992), and the Naval War College (M.A.-2003) Mr. Robert D. Evans is a Veteran with more than 25 years of service. He entered the United States Navy by direct commission in December 1982 from his position as Assistant Pastor of the Newtown Presbyterian Church, Newtown, PA.

Throughout his 25 plus year career in the United States Navy, Mr. Evans served as a Chaplain with multiple assignments and numerous domestics and overseas tours. His tours of duty included: Newport, RI; Washington, DC; Jacksonville, NC; Naples, Italy; and Norfolk, VA. His distinguished career includes completion of degree requirements at the Naval War College and then serving as the Fleet Chaplain for the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Commander and Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. In addition, he also served as the Command Chaplain for the Commander, Joint Forces Command and the Commander, Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan. Chaplain Evans concluded his military career in Naples, Italy as the Command Chaplain, Commander, Naval Forces Europe, Africa, and Southwest Asia, and Commander, U.S. Sixth Fleet. He retired from active duty in June 2008.

Chaplain Evans served as the Senior Pastor/Head of Staff for the First Presbyterian Church of Rapid City, SD following his military career. He began his career with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in May 2011 as the Chief, Chaplain Service at the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center in Saginaw, MI. He came to the Atlanta VA in January 2013 as the Chief, Chaplain Service. As of November 2014, he serves as the Assistant Director.

Bob lives with his wife, Gretchen, in Decatur, GA . They have three grown children.

Portrait of David Bower, M.D.

David Bower, M.D. | 404-728-7604

Chief of Staff

assumed the duties of Chief of Staff September 15, 2000. He previously served as Acting Chief of Staff and Director of Medical Intensive Care at the Atlanta VAMC. Dr. Bower is also the Clinical Chairman for the VISN 7 Acute Care Committee and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs-VA, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine. As Chief of Staff, Dr. Bower serves as professional colleague, supervisor and leader of the professional medical staff and is responsible for coordinating medical activities within the Medical Center.
As a member of the hospital’s executive team, Dr. Bower is intricately involved in developing and implementing the organization’s operations and strategic goals.
Dr. Bower received his Medical Degree from the Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, in 1986. He completed his Internal Medicine Internship and Residency at Emory University Affiliated Hospitals, Atlanta, Georgia, in 1989. He is board certified with the American Board of Internal Medicine with added qualification in Critical Care Medicine. He has held a faculty appointment as Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Division of General Internal Medicine with the Department of Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine since 1993.

Portrait of Sandy Leake, R.N., MSN

Sandy Leake, R.N., MSN | 404.321.6111 x6260

Associate Director, Patient/Nursing Services

was appointed Interim Director of the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Decatur, Georgia, in January 2013. Ms. Leake assumed the duties of Associate Director for Nursing/Patient Care Services (AD, N/PS) at the Atlanta VAMC in March 1998. Previously, she served in dual roles as Acting Chief Nurse Executive and Associate Director. She is ultimately responsible for nursing practice throughout the medical center and its associated clinics. As a member of the hospital’s executive team, Ms. Leake exerts a substantial influence over the organization’s operations and strategic goals. Organizationally, Ms. Leake is also directly responsible for Social Work, Nutrition and Food, Chaplain and Voluntary Services.
Ms. Leake possesses more than 22 years of diversified nursing experience characterized by increasingly responsible positions in executive leadership and management, clinical nursing, education and program development.
Ms. Leake received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Memphis in 1987, and a Master of Science in Nursing Administration from Vanderbilt University in 1989. She has held both private sector clinical staff and academic positions, and her clinical focus has been in critical care with an emphasis in coronary care. A VA Health Professional Scholarship recipient, she joined the VA at the Gainesville, Florida VA Medical Center in 1989, and transferred to the Atlanta VA in 1993. After working as a critical care clinical specialist, she moved into a nurse manager position, and was asked to fulfill the Acting Chief Nurse Executive role in 1995. She has been a member of the hospital’s executive team since.