Leadership Team - Columbia VA Health Care System
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Columbia VA Health Care System


Leadership Team

David L. Omura , Director

David L. Omura | 803-695-7980


David L. Omura was appointed Director/CEO for the Columbia VA Healthcare System and the William Jennings Bryan Dorn Veterans Affairs Medical Center on March 19, 2017, and was sworn in as a member of the Senior Executive Service on March 20, 2017. Dr. Omura provides oversight and leadership of a health care system that includes a medical center that is located in Columbia, SC; and seven Community-Based Outpatient Clinics that cover 2/3rd the state of South Carolina. This health care system serves more than 83,000 Veterans, is staffed by more than 2,450 employees, and has an operating budget of $493M. Prior to Dr. Omura’s appointment to this role, he served as the Associate Director/COO, since September 2012. In this role, he was held operational oversight over fiscal, human resources, engineering, safety, privacy, logistics, and the business office. Preceding his roles in executive leadership, Dr. Omura served in clinical and administrative roles both at the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System and the University of Florida Health System. Dr. Omura is a New York native, earning his Master of Science degree in Physical Therapy from Boston University, his Master in Health Care Administration from the University of Florida, and his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Mass General Hospital Institute of Health Professions. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Federal Asian Pacific American Council. Dr. Omura is a graduate of the VHA Health Care Leadership Development Program and the Federal Executive Institute. He serves as an Adjunct Faculty at the University of South Carolina, and is actively engaged in community partnerships.

Jeffrey Soots , Associate Director

Jeffrey Soots | 803-695-7981

Associate Director

Jeffrey A. Soots was appointed as Associate Director for the Columbia VA Healthcare System and the William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center effective July 9, 2017. Mr. Soots came to the VA after a 25-year career in the Air Force. Mr. Soots has more than 30 years of logistics and administrative experience in all levels health care. He is a native of Lenoir, N.C., and graduated from Hawaii Pacific University. He retired from the Air Force in 2009. Mr. Soots has direct oversight of the eight administrative areas within the complex health care organization to include Business Office, Engineering, Fiscal, Human Resources, Logistics, Privacy / Freedom of Information, Prosthetics, Safety/Emergency Mgt. and Strategic Planning. During his military career, his positions include the Director of Consolidate Storage Kaneohe Marine Corps base Hawaii, Pacific Air Force Propulsion Superintendent for 3,500 personnel at nine different bases in the Pacific theater, providing cradle-to-grave logistics management and lean initiatives as regional manager in production processes for over 750 aerospace propulsion engines valued at $3-billion dollars. Mr. Soots VHA career begin as the Chief Logistics Officer in 2012 overseeing $110-million dollars’ worth of equipment, $50-million dollars’ worth of contracts, $30-million budget for all disposable medical supplies, 2.5-million reproductions, 1.5-million pieces of mail, 120,000 packages and distribution of 6,000 burial flags throughout the state of South Carolina. He has a varied background that includes consultative and administrative, educational and leadership roles. Mr. Soots establishes solid and viable partnerships to effectively and efficiently align with and support key strategic and business initiatives. He also builds and retains high performance teams by hiring, developing and motivating skilled professionals who are goal oriented, mission focused, results driven and value based.

Bernard L. DeKoning, M.D., Chief of Staff

Bernard L. DeKoning, M.D. | 803-695-7982

Chief of Staff

Dr. Bernard L. DeKoning was appointed Chief of Staff on January 26, 2014. DeKoning graduated from the University of Illinois in 1978 with a BS in Chemistry and Biology and received his MD from Rush Medical College in 1982. While in medical school, DeKoning enrolled in the Defense Department's Health Profession Scholarship Program in 1980 under sponsorship of the US Army and later completed a Family Medicine residency in 1985 at Rush Presbyterian St Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, Ill. Beginning with this first assignment, DeKoning's 28-year military career in the Army included tours as a staff family physician or commanding officer at hospitals, clinics, military headquarters, and a biodefense research laboratory in the United States, Europe, Southwest Asia, and Central America. DeKoning also completed deployments to Honduras, Kosovo, and Iraq. DeKoning retired from the Army in 2013 and continues his career in serving the Veterans and staff at Dorn VA Medical Center. Due to his close involvement with clinical education and research, DeKoning maintains close ties with all affiliates, including the University of South Carolina and Palmetto Health University Clinics, as well as Moncrief Army Hospital and Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.

Ruth W. Mustard, R.N., Associate Director for Nursing/Patient Services

Ruth W. Mustard, R.N. | 803-776-4000 Ext. 6661

Associate Director for Nursing/Patient Services

Ruth Mustard has served as the Nurse Executive in November 1999. Her previous assignments have all been at the Dorn VA. She started out as a graduate nurse technician in August 1977 and has had positions as staff nurse, Head Nurse, Assistant Chief, Night Supervisor, and Acting Chief Nurse. Her primary clinical background is critical care and she taught Advanced Cardiac Life Support for over 20 years. Mrs. Mustard’s primary responsibilities as the Associate Director for Patient/Nursing Services include leadership and authority over Nursing and Patient Care Services, which includes acute and long-term inpatient and outpatient nursing staff, Sterile Processing Service, specialty clinics, Voluntary Service, Stakeholder Relations, and the Transitions and Care Management Program. She is responsible for overall nursing care throughout the Medical Center. She serves on the, VISN 7 Partnership Council, Healthcare Delivery Council, and the Healthcare Quality and Value Council. She graduated from Marymount College of Kansas in Salina, Kan., in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. She received a Master of Science degree in Nursing Administration from the University of South Carolina College of Nursing in 1996. She holds memberships in the South Carolina Organization of Nurse Leaders, American Organization of Nurse Executives, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, South Carolina Nurses Association, and the American Nurses Association.

Sterling Bird, Assistant Director

Sterling Bird | 803-776-4000 Ext. 7781

Assistant Director

Sterling Bird was appointed as the Assistant Director in August 2020. Mr. Bird began his VA career in 2009 and has since held multiple positions of increasing responsibility throughout the Columbia VA Health Care System. Mr. Bird is a U.S. Army Veteran and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Carolina in 2001 and a Master in Health Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2012. Mr. Bird is a graduate of the facility LEAD and the VISN 7 VALUE programs.