Leadership Team - Southern Arizona VA Health Care System
Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Southern Arizona VA Health Care System


Leadership Team

Jennifer S. Gutowski, MHA, FACHE, Director

Jennifer S. Gutowski, MHA, FACHE | 520-792-1450


Jennifer S. Gutowski, MHA, FACHE was appointed director of the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS) on February 2, 2020. Ms. Gutowski joined the VA in 1999 and has a track record of progressive professional development and career growth spanning field management experience, operations support, and program management. Ms. Gutowski served as Director of the VA Pacific Islands Health Care System (VAPIHCS) Honolulu from May 2017 to January 2020. In that position, she oversaw a broad range of medical services, with an annual budget of over $335 million with more than 1,400 employees and serving approximately 129,000 Veterans throughout Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa and Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Ms. Gutowski was Interim Director of the SAVAHCS from January 2016 through March 2017. She served as the System’s Associate Director from July 2012 through January 2016 and again from March through May 2017. Prior to 2012, Ms. Gutowski had served as Acting Associate Director and Assistant Director of the Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital near Chicago, and held various positions at the VA Long Beach (California) Health Care System. Ms. Gutowski graduated with a master’s degree in Health Administration from Tulane University in New Orleans. She is also a Certified Healthcare Executive, a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) and a graduate of the VA Executive Career Field. She has received awards and other recognition for her growing responsibilities and leadership within VA. The SAVAHCS is comprised of a VA Medical Center in Tucson, and seven community clinics located in Safford, Casa Grande, Sierra Vista, Yuma, Green Valley, and Northwest and Southeast Tucson.

Katie A. Landwehr, MBA, FACHE, Associate Director

Katie A. Landwehr, MBA, FACHE | 520-792-1450

Associate Director

Katie A. Landwehr, MBA, FACHE, was appointed the Associate Director of the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS) in September 2017. As the Associate Director, Ms. Landwehr provides oversight for Financial Management, Human Resources, Health Administration Service, Engineering, Pharmacy, Police Services, Space and Interior Design, Emergency Management, Privacy, EEO, and Facility Planning. From January 2012 – September 2017, Ms. Landwehr served as the SAVAHCS’ Assistant Director. Prior to her tenure at SAVAHCS, Ms. Landwehr served in a variety of positions at the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System including Chief, Non VA Care, Staff Assistant to the Director, and Acting Associate Director. Ms. Landwehr joined VHA as a Business Office Technical Career Field Intern in November 2004 and prior to joining VHA in 2004, she served as the Associate Director for Undergraduate Admissions at Saint Cloud State University in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. Ms. Landwehr has a Master of Business Administration degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biomedical Science from Saint Cloud State University, St Cloud, MN. She is board certified in Healthcare Management as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). In 2017, she was awarded with the ACHE Federal Excellence in Healthcare Management Award

Steven J. Sample, Assistant Director

Steven J. Sample | 520-792-1450

Assistant Director

Steve Sample was appointed as Assistant Director for the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS) in January 2018. He provides direct oversight of business operations related to Logistics, Voluntary Services, Environmental Management, Veteran Experience, Public Affairs, Medical Media, System Redesign, Prosthetics, and is the facility liaison for Veteran Canteen Service, Information Security and Information and Technology Service Operations. He is a 2017 graduate of Leadership VA (LVA) and Health Care Leadership Development Program (HCLDP). Mr. Sample joined the VA as the Tucson VA Compliance Officer in 2007. He subsequently served as the team lead for the Office of Compliance and Business Integrity’s Consultation and Assessment Section under Quality, Safety and Value. Prior to his appointment to the Executive Leadership Team, he served as the Chief of Group Practice and Management Support Service encompassing patient access to care, strategic planning, executive decision support, systems redesign, VERA, managerial cost accounting, and data analytics. Prior to his tenure with the VA, Mr. Sample served in a variety of leadership positions, completing 23 years of service in the Air Force. He was a command pilot and flew combat missions during Operations Desert Storm and was the deployed commander of a combat flying squadron during Operation Allied Force. Mr. Sample is a graduate of the Air War College and Air Command and Staff College.

John B. Kettelle, MD, Chief of Staff

John B. Kettelle, MD | 520-792-1450

Chief of Staff

Dr. John Kettelle was appointed Chief of Staff of the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS) in August 2019. Dr. Kettelle is a U.S. Navy Veteran. He received his MD from the University of California Davis, School of Medicine. He completed his residency in General Surgery at San Joaquin General Hospital in Stockton, CA. Dr. Kettelle completed his fellowship in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at the California Institute of Minimally Invasive Surgery in Fresno, CA. Prior to VA, Dr. Kettelle held several leadership positions within the University of Arizona Healthcare System. Dr. Kettelle began his VA career in August 2015 and became the Chief of Surgical Services at SAVAHCS in May 2017. He is a member of the Fellow of American College of Surgeons, Society of American Gastrointestinal end Endoscopic Surgeons, Association of VA Surgeons and the Tucson Surgical Society.

Francisco Rivera-Pabon, MD, Deputy Chief of Staff

Francisco Rivera-Pabon, MD | 520-792-1450

Deputy Chief of Staff

Dr. Francisco Rivera Pabon was appointed Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS) Deputy Chief of Staff on January 5, 2020. Dr. Rivera was previously the SAVAHCS Chief of Primary Care and Community Clinics since July 2017. Dr. Rivera is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. He attended medical school at the Ponce School of Medicine in Puerto Rico and completed his residency at the VA Caribbean Health Care System in Puerto Rico. Dr. Rivera is a member in good standing of the American College of Physicians. Prior to working at the SAVAHCS, Dr. Rivera was the Associate Medical Director at Heartland Hospice and Medical Director of Home Health of Arizona. He also worked as a Primary Care Physician with Northwest Allied Physicians for close to four years, having participated in multiple presentations and community events in Southern Arizona.

Kerri B. Wilhoite, Associate Director for Patient Care Services

Kerri B. Wilhoite | 520-792-1450

Associate Director for Patient Care Services

Dr. Wilhoite was appointed September 3, 2018 to Tucson, AZ VAMC as Associate Director of Patient Care Services/Nurse Executive (ADPCS/NE). Dr. Wilhoite has worked at the Northern Arizona VA Healthcare System (NAVAHCS), Durham VAHCS, Washington, DC, and Tennessee Valley Healthcare System during her 20-year VA career. She has been a staff nurse, psychiatric nurse manager, Local Recovery Coordinator, Mental Health Field Advisor, Associate Chief Nurse at Durham, North Carolina and most recently a ADPCS/NE at NAVAHCS. In this role, she had oversight of the Women Veterans Program, Nutrition & Food Service, Social Work, Acute Care, Geriatric & Extended Care, Education and Sterile Processing Service. She has demonstrated the ability to recruit high quality staff in key leadership positions and mentor staff for upward mobility positions. She has experience with developing programs and demonstrated the ability to successfully deploy in a complex two-division medical centers. Dr. Wilhoite has a passion for mentoring others and has been a coach in the Healthcare Leadership Development Program (HCLDP) for the last three years. Dr. Wilhoite’s educational preparation includes a bachelor of science in nursing, master’s degree in business administration and a doctorate in Nursing Practice.

Aimee Manion, Deputy Associate Director of Patient Care Services

Aimee Manion | 520-792-1450

Deputy Associate Director of Patient Care Services

Dr. Aimee Manion, DNP, RN-BC, NEA-BC, was appointed as the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System (SAVAHCS) Deputy Associate Director of Patient Care Services effective December 31, 2019. Dr. Manion has a diverse background from working in the VA, academia, community, and military during her 20-year career. Her leadership experience includes serving as the Associate Nurse Executive at the Atlanta VA Medical Center where she directed a large variety of clinical operation to include Community Living Center, Emergency Department, Perioperative and Surgical Services, Sterile Processing Service, Radiology, Crucial Care Units, and Education. Additionally she has served as Adjunct Assistant Professor at Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing/VA Nursing Academic Partnership and the Director of Atlanta VA Nurse Residency Programs/Nurse Educator.