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Atlanta VA Medical Center


Leadership Team

Portrait of Annette P. Walker

Annette P. Walker | 404- 321-6111 x-7601

Medical Center Director

Ms. Annette P. Walker was appointed as director of the Atlanta VA Medical Center Aug. 12, 2016. As one of the largest VA health care systems in the nation, the Atlanta VAMC, with its main hospital in Decatur, campuses at Fort McPherson and in Carrollton, as well as clinics in Atlanta, East Point, Oakwood, Austell, Stockbridge, Lawrenceville, Newnan, Rome, and Blairsville, Georgia, provides health care to more than 102,000 Veterans.

Previously, Ms. Walker was the Associate Director at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit, Michigan, a position she held since March 2013. Beginning in January 2016, Ms. Walker served a four month term as Interim Director at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Walker has over 22 years of experience with VA beginning as a staff nurse and having held roles in nursing management, medical administration, and seamless transition (OEF/OIF) coordination, as well as serving as the current advocate for former Prisoners of War.

Prior to her VA service, Ms. Walker worked in a variety of community emergency departments as a staff nurse and emergency department director. Ms. Walker also proudly served as a Flight Nurse in the United States Air Force Reserves and is a Veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

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 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.

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 Robert D. Evans

Robert D. Evans | (404) 321-6111 x-7602

Acting Assistant Director

As Assistant Medical Center Director, Mr. Evans has direct oversight of nine areas including: Police, Engineering, Environment of Care, Safety, Emergency Management, Innovation, Strategic Planning, Medical Media, Public Affairs, and Veterans Experience. He also has indirect oversight of OI&T and Veterans Canteen Service.

On two separate occasions Mr. Evans has been selected for extended details as Acting Associate Medical Director both at the Atlanta VA Medical Center and at the WJB Dorn VAMC, Columbia, SC. In these positions he was responsible for: Fiscal, Business Office/Health Administrative Services, Logistics, Human Resources, Engineering, Safety/Emergency Management, Strategic Planning, Privacy/Freedom of Information, and Data/Management Analytics.

Mr. Evans was selected to serve as Assistant Medical Center Director, November 2014. 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. From February 2014 through his appointment to his present post, he served both as Acting Assistant Medical Center Director and Chief, Chaplain Service.

A Veteran with more than 25 distinguished years of service, he is 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). During his 25 plus year career in the United States Navy he held senior leadership positions within the Navy, Joint, and Combined Command structures with worldwide, national, and regional spans of command and control. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan.