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VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System



Portrait of Lisa Howard

Lisa Howard


Ms. Lisa Howard was appointed as the Director, VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System (VASNHCS), Reno, Nevada, in June 2015.

Lisa is the chief executive officer, responsible for leading an integrated system providing health care across a large geographical area that includes 20 counties in northern Nevada and northeastern California.  Approximately 108,000 veterans reside in the region, with Reno representing the largest urban area.  The Reno campus is the site of the Ioannis A. Lougaris VA Medical Center, which operates 64 hospital beds and 60 Community Living Center beds.  VASNHCS provides care to over 34,000 Veterans.

VASNHCS has an operating budget of more than $250m and employs over 1500 employees. It provides a broad array of inpatient care and outpatient services in medicine, surgery, neurology, mental health, pharmacy, interventional cardiology and radiology, geriatrics, alcohol/drug treatment, ophthalmology, audiology/speech pathology, dental care, and home care.  Specialty care not available within VASNHCS is supported through a variety of means, including referrals to community hospitals and VA Medical Centers (VAMC) in San Francisco and Palo Alto, CA.  Access to outpatient primary and mental healthcare is also available through community clinics: VA Sierra Foothills Outpatient Clinic (Auburn, CA), VA Carson Valley Outpatient Clinic (Minden, NV),VA Lahontan Valley Outpatient Clinic (Fallon, NV), VA Diamond View Outpatient Clinic (Susanville, CA), and the VA Rural Outreach Clinic (Winnemucca, NV).  The major academic affiliations are the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, and the East Bay Surgical Program at the University of California, San Francisco.   The Research program has 36 active projects in neurology, oncology, surgery, cardiology, pulmonary medicine, and pharmacy.

She has served Veterans for 30 years in a broad range of positions in Phoenix, New Orleans, San Diego, North Chicago, Las Vegas, VISN 21 Network Office and Reno. 

Portrait of Jack R. Smith

Jack R. Smith

Associate Director

Jack Smith assumed the duties of Associate Director for VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System (SNHCS) in June, 2016. Prior to this time, Mr. Smith served as the Facility Chief Information Officer at SNHCS since 2010.

Prior to working for the VA, Mr. Smith served as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard for 31 years.

During his military service, Mr. Smith had several command assignments both afloat and ashore. He also served in a variety of other assignments of increasing responsibility as his career progressed. 

Mr. Smith is a graduate of the U. S. Coast Guard Academy earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics. Mr. Smith earned a Master’s Degree in Computer Systems Management from Stanford University and has completed the 10-month U.S. Department of State’s executive leadership program, The Senior Seminar.  Mr. Smith is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Portrait of Ivan Correa, MD

Ivan Correa, MD

Chief of Staff

Ivan Correa was appointed Chief of Staff in August, 2017. He is board certified in Family Medicine, Geriatric Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine as well as a Certified Medical Doctor. He is a Clinical Assistant Profesor at the University of Nevada Reno School of Medicine. His leadership style is strong in building relationships, listening and collaborating with others.

Dr. Correa started his science career as a research microbiologist and worked for the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense as an environmental scientist before going back to medical school. He has a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Puerto Rico, started medical school at the Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara and graduated from the New York Medical College in Valhalla New York. He did his graduate medical education at Florida Hospital in Orlando Florida. Dr. Correa's current research interest is in caregiver burden in dementia, has great passion for symptom management in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, prevent of polypharmacy and end of life care.

Dr. Correa's experience with the Veterans Health Administration started at the Roseburg Oregon VA Health Care System, continuing on to the New Mexico VA Health Care System in Albuquerque, NM. Prior to becoming our Chief of Staff, he was the Associate Chief of Staff for Geriatric and Extended Care (GEC) at the Veterans Administration Sierra Nevada Health Care System and Medical Director of the Community Living Center. In his function as Chief of GEC Dr. Correa managed Home Base Primary Care, Non-Institutionalized Care Programs, Geriatric and palliative Medicine Programs, Audiology/Speech-Language Pathology, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. He has been involved in various local and national process improvement projects involving patient flow within the VA. Dr. Correa sees patients in outpatient palliative consults, acute care palliative/hospice consults, post care rehabilitation, long term care and end of life care.

Dr. Correa has had the opportunity to live in Belgium and Mexico in addition to numerous states and territories of the United States. In his off time he enjoys spending time with his wife and son, traveling, experiencing the outdoors, hiking, biking and jogging.

Portrait of Charles O. Benninger, CFAAMA, RN, MN, MHA

Charles O. Benninger, CFAAMA, RN, MN, MHA

Associate Director Patient Care Services/ Nurse Executive
775 789-6620

Chuck Benninger assumed the duties for Associate Director Patient Care Services/ Nurse Executive as of January 2017. He is originally from northeast Pennsylvania. Upon completion of a Associate of Arts Degree from Pennsylvania State University, he enlisted as a Hospital Corpsman in the United States Navy. He reported for duty at Branch Clinic, Millington, Tennessee after completion of Hospital Corps and Aerospace Medicine training. Chuck completed his enlistment in 1978 and entered The University of Memphis Nursing Program. He received an Associate of Science in Nursing in 1979 and went on to complete his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of South Alabama in 1981 and a Master's Degree in Nursing from the University of South Carolina in 1983. During this same time period, Chuck served in the United States Coast Guard Reserve from 1978 until 1981 at which time he accepted a reserve commission in the Army Nurse Corps. Chuck held staff nursing positions as well as a university faculty position while completing his education.

In 1984 Chuck accepted an active duty commission in the Navy Nurse Corps. During the next twenty years he held progressively responsible positions of leadership during his tours of duty at Naval Hospitals Beaufort, Guam, National Naval Medical Center, Charleston, Jacksonville Healthcare Support Office, and Jacksonville. In 1991 he entered the U.S. Army Baylor graduate program in Healthcare Administration graduating in 1993 with a Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration upon completion of his administrative residency at National Naval Medical Center.

During his naval career, Chuck provided leadership in initiation of managed care concepts within Navy Medicine. During the early days of TRICARE implementation he served as Director of Managed Care at Naval Hospital Charleston. He also served as Deputy Officer-in-Charge of the Naval Healthcare Support Office, and Interim Executive Officer at Naval Hospital Jacksonville.

Chuck transitioned from the Navy in 2004 with a rank of Commander after nearly twenty-five years of active service. He became Director of Clinical and Support Services at Associate Physicians and Surgeons Clinics in Terre Haute, Indiana. In 2006 he accepted a position with the Veterans Administration in Danville, IL and was head of the Utilization Management Program. Prior to his appointment as the Associate Director Patient Care Services/ Nurse Executive, Chuck  served as the Chief, Quality Management at the Sierra Nevada Veteran Administration Healthcare System from 2013 to 2017.

Chuck’s military awards include the Navy Meritorious Service Medal (Two Awards), the Navy Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal (Two Awards), and the Navy Good Conduct Medal.

Chuck is married to Jeanne; and they have three children, Michael, Nathaniel, Joshua, and four grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the Military Officer Association of America and a past secretary of the Ernest Pyle Military Officers Association of America Chapter. He is a Certified Fellow of the American Academy of Medical Administrators. In 2012, Chuck was recognized for his accomplishments in Healthcare Administration by being named the Medical Administrator of the Year by the American Academy of Medical Administrators.