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Alexandria VA Health Care System


Leadership Team

Portrait of Peter C. Dancy, Jr.

Peter C. Dancy, Jr. | 318-466-2205

Medical Center Director

Mr. Peter Dancy was appointed as the new director of the Alexandria Veterans Affairs Health Care System (AVAHCS) effective January 24, 2016. Mr. Dancy has held progressive leadership positions within VA in major medical centers and the private sector during his career. He also served for 22 years as a U.S. Army Medical Service Corps Officer. He received his Bachelor degree in Accounting from Morehouse College at Atlanta, Georgia, Master’s degree in Business Administration from St. Mary’s University at San Antonio, Texas and a second Master’s degree in Health Administration from Baylor University at Waco, Texas.

Mr. Dancy is a board certified health care executive with the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), has served as a surveyor with the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) and as a preceptor with the Baylor University Graduate Program in Health Administration.

Portrait of Lisa M. Hamilton

Lisa M. Hamilton | 318-466-2208

Associate Director

Portrait of Harlan M Guidry

Harlan M Guidry | (318) 466-2202

Chief of Staff

Harlan “Mark” Guidry, MD, MPH has over 22 years of physician executive experience in the public sector. Prior to VA service, he was CEO and health authority for Galveston County Health District, overseeing federally-funded primary care clinics, EMS ambulance services, and public health services. His experience includes (1) service as Texas Regional Director of a 16-county area of southeast Texas with a population of over five million and (2) service as Acting Texas Associate Commissioner of Family Health overseeing statewide health programs and related community grants. Dr. Guidry has extensive experience responding to several large scale public health emergencies and disasters, providing health advisories to the public, community stakeholders, and elected officials.

After obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, he obtained his Doctor of Medicine from the UT Medical Branch at Galveston. He completed Family Practice Residency at LSU Moss Regional Hospital in Lake Charles (internship) and at the UT San Jacinto Hospital in Baytown, where he was Chief Resident. Since 1990, Dr. Guidry has maintained board certification with the American Board of Family Practice. Finally, Dr. Guidry completed his Master of Public Health degree from the UT School of Public Health in Houston.

Dr. Guidry has received numerous awards and recognitions for exceptional performance, including the 2016 Texas Academy of Family Physicians’ Public Health Award and being named Texas’ Top Health Official by the Texas Association of Public Health Officials (2008).

Portrait of Jose N. Rivera

Jose N. Rivera | 318-466-2202

Deputy Chief of Staff

José N. Rivera, MD, has served as the Chief of Primary Care, the Chief of Medical Service and as the Acting Chief of Staff at the Alexandria VA Health Care System (AVAHCS). He has also held several roles as a hospitalist and hospitalist supervisor at the AVAHCS and as a hospitalist at the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center.

In April of 2009, Dr. Rivera served as the implementation leader for the transition into Patient Aligned Care Teamlets (PACT) at the AVAHCS. He led the VISN 16 Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Million Lives Team in improving the care of patients with CHF through implementation of the recommendations at the CHF 5 Million Lives Conference in 2009. He supported the Primary Care Mental Health Integration by serving as the lead physician in improving the care of Veterans suffering from minor depression and anxiety in the Primary Care setting.

Dr. Rivera is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves with the responsibility of maintaining and supporting the fighting force through leading staff in preparation for deployment. He served in four deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the first at the Darnall Army Community Hospital in Fort Hood, Texas in 2003; the second in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany in 2006; the third at the Brooks Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas in 2008; and the fourth in Kuwait in 2012. He has also served in multiple medical readiness trainings at locations such as Japan, Ecuador, Guatemala, Lame Deer, and Haiti.

Dr. Rivera’s education includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the Interamerican University in San German, Puerto Rico; Doctor of Medicine from the Ponce School of Medicine in Ponce, Puerto Rico; and an Internal Medicine Residency at the La Concepcion Hospital in San German, Puerto Rico, serving as the Chief Resident. He is a recipient of the Harvey Ramirez Bates Memorial Award for excellent patient care, team member, and leadership.

Portrait of James Lawhorn Jr., DNP, RN, NE-BC, CMSRN

James Lawhorn Jr., DNP, RN, NE-BC, CMSRN | 318-466-2558

Associate Director – Patient Care Services

Dr. Lawhorn is an Army Veteran with over 25 years of military service. During his military career he held numerous progressive leadership positions both as an enlisted Soldier and Army Nurse Corps Officer. He is a combat Veteran and was deployed in support of combat operations in Iraq during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Dr. Lawhorn received his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville Alabama in 2005, his Master of Science in Nursing from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix Arizona in 2011 and his Doctorate of Nursing Practice from the prestigious Rush University in Chicago Illinois in 2015. He has national certifications as both a Nurse Executive and Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse. Dr. Lawhorn is also an active member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Following a successful military career Dr. Lawhorn joined the Veterans Health Administration in December of 2015 as the Associate Chief Nurse for Acute and Outpatient Care Services. His performance, exceptional leadership skills and past military experience made him an excellent choice in being selected to fill the role of Associate Director for Patient Care Services which became effective on August 7, 2016.

As a member of the executive team Dr. Lawhorn is responsible for all clinical nursing practice and has oversight of approximately 500 employees at the Alexandria VA Healthcare System. He is one of four facility senior leaders jointly responsible for strategic planning, clinical outcomes and financial management of the facility.