Leadership Team - Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
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Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital


Leadership Team

Patricia Hall, Director

Patricia Hall | 573-814-6300


Patricia Hall, PhD, FACHE, is Medical Center Director of Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital in Columbia Missouri. Dr. Hall became director in September 2019. Dr. Hall has held several leadership positions in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to include her recent role as Director of John J. Pershing VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff, Missouri; Associate Director of Patient Care Services at VA Medical Centers in both Tomah, Wisconsin, and Kansas City, Missouri; and Acting Director of the St. Louis VA Medical Center. A retired U.S. Army colonel, Dr. Hall served as hospital commander of the 452nd Combat Support Hospital in both Salerno, Afghanistan, and Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. Dr. Hall is a Veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Restore Hope and is a Bronze Star recipient. Dr. Hall holds a Doctor of Health Care Administration from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota; a master’s degree in Adult Health from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee; and a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Additionally, she received a Bachelor of Nursing degree from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Dr. Hall’s husband Bradley also is a retired U.S. Army colonel. The couple has two adult children – Abigail, a U.S. Army Veteran, and Aaron, who currently serves in the U.S. Air Force.

Lana Zerrer, MD, Chief of Staff

Lana Zerrer, MD | 573-814-6310

Chief of Staff

Lana Zerrer, MD, was appointed Chief of Staff at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital effective June 20, 2010. She served as Acting Chief of Staff between October 2009 and June 2010. In January 2007, she was appointed Director of the Primary Care Service Line at Truman VA. Dr. Zerrer began her VA career in August 2005 as a staff physician and Primary Care Provider at the same facility. A native of Missouri, Dr. Zerrer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, in 1995 and her medical degree from the University of Missouri School of Medicine in 1999. She completed a residency in internal medicine in 2002 at the University of Missouri and is board certified. Dr. Zerrer served in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps, achieving the rank of Major, from 2002 to 2005. Her military experience included deployment to Kyrgyzstan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Dr. Zerrer is a member of the American College of Physicians.

Paul Hopkins, Associate Director

Paul Hopkins | 573-814-6301

Associate Director

Paul Hopkins, MBA, was appointed Associate Director of Truman VA effective Aug. 2, 2020. Prior to his new role, Mr. Hopkins served as Assistant Director over Facilities Management, Police, Voluntary Services, and the medical center’s Safety program. He also served as Truman VA’s Chief Financial Officer. In addition to his current role, his most recent VA details include serving as interim director of John J. Pershing VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff in 2020. He also served in St. Louis in 2019, Kansas City in 2018, and Oklahoma in 2017, where he had oversight of Fiscal, Facilities Management, Police, Environmental Management, Privacy, Mobility Manager, Prosthetics, Food and Nutrition, Medical Administration, Logistics, and Public Affairs. In all, Mr. Hopkins has served in VA for 29 years. A lifelong resident of Columbia, Mr. Hopkins received a Bachelor of Science degree from Columbia College in 1991, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from William Woods University in Fulton, Missouri, in 2005. In addition to his VA career, Mr. Hopkins also served in the U.S. Army Reserve ― during which time he was activated twice ― to include a deployment to Afghanistan in 2002 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He retired from the U.S. Army Reserve in April 2007. Mr. Hopkins is the recipient of the CFO of the Year Award for Innovation and is a graduate of the VA’s Health Care Leadership Development Program. Mr. Hopkins is married to his wife Michelle Scheidt-Hopkins. Together, they have a 22-year-old daughter, Alexis; a 20-year-old son, Braden; and a 15-year-old daughter, Addison.

Stephanie Absher, RN, Nurse Executive

Stephanie Absher, RN | 573-814-6255

Nurse Executive

Stephanie Absher, RN, was appointed Associate Director for Patient Services and Nurse Executive effective August 1, 2019. Ms. Absher is responsible for the provision of professional nurse practice and executive oversight of inpatient care wards. Those areas include the Intensive Care Unit, the Step-Down Unit and the Community Living Center; the Ambulatory Procedures Unit; Specialty Care Outpatient Clinics; Sterile Processing; Ward Administration; and Social Work and Chaplain Services. Ms. Absher has worked as a Master-prepared registered nurse at Truman VA for 18 years. She began her career in 2001 as a staff nurse in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Ms. Absher began her leadership career – first by becoming an ICU charge nurse. In 2009, she became the ICU Nurse Manager. In those roles, Ms. Absher also was able to assist several of her nurse colleagues in their pursuit of achieving leadership positions at Truman VA. In 2015, Ms. Absher became the Surgical Inpatient nurse manager. She continued to serve in various roles throughout the hospital, to include Associate Chief Nurse of the Operating Room, Emergency Department, Cardiology and Specialty Clinics. In 2017, Ms. Absher accepted the Associate Chief Nurse position over the inpatient wards and staffing office. In 2018 and 2018, she worked with a facility team to successfully open two new units, which increased bed availability at the medical center.

Andrea Wiggins, Assistant Director

Andrea Wiggins | 573-814-6282

Assistant Director

Ms. Wiggins was appointed as Assistant Director, effective October 11, 2020. She directs Facilities Management, Police, Voluntary Service, Nutrition and Food Services, and the medical center’s Employee and Environmental Safety Program. Previously, Ms. Wiggins served Truman VA as Staff Assistant to the Director from October 2016 to October 2020, as Patient Services Operations Manager from July 2014 to October 2016, as a Communications Specialist from June 2010 to July 2014, and as an Administrative Intern from May 2009 to June 2010. In all, Ms. Wiggins has provided more than 11 years of service to Truman VA. Ms. Wiggins received master’s degrees in both Business and Health Administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2010. She received a bachelor’s degree in International Business from MU in 2005. Ms. Wiggins is a 2019 Partnership in Public Service, Excellence in Government Fellow, which inspired her to serve as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). Additionally, she is Lean Black Belt Certified and served as an adjunct faculty member for the MU School of Medicine’s Department of Health Management and Informatics for the 2020 spring and fall semesters. Ms. Wiggins, a resident of Columbia since 2003, also serves her community as a Girl Scout Brownie troop leader and is a 2016 graduate of Leadership Columbia. Ms. Wiggins and her husband Scot have two children, Caty and Sara.

Crystal Aholt, Executive of High Reliability

Crystal Aholt | 573-814-6637

Executive of High Reliability

Crystal Aholt, RN, MBA, was appointed Executive of High Reliability at Truman VA effective June 21, 2020. In this role, Ms. Aholt is responsible for guiding Truman VA through the high reliability journey, to include oversight of Quality Management (Infection Control, Utilization Management, Risk Management, VA Surgical Quality Improvement Program, Admission Advisor, Controlled Substances, and Accreditation), Compliance, Patient Safety, Credentialing and Privileging, Patient Experience, System Redesign, Clinical Team Training, and High Reliability Organizational activities. Ms. Aholt grew up in the Kansas City area. She moved to Columbia to attend the University of Missouri and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Ms. Aholt’s first role in health care was as an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital in Jefferson City. Ms. Aholt began her VA career in 1996 by joining Truman VA as a surgical ICU nurse. At that time, there were three separate ICU’s ? surgical, medical and cardiac. She also served as an ICU-PRN (from the Latin phrase pro re nata, which means, “as the situation demands”) float nurse at both University Hospital and Boone Hospital Center. After receiving a master’s in business degree from Columbia College, Ms. Aholt became Facility Revenue Manager in Finance in 2006. In 2010, she became Chief of QM ? a position she held until becoming Truman VA’s Executive of High Reliability. Ms. Aholt is married to her husband Dennis. They have three children.