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VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System

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Leadership Team

Portrait of Karin McGraw, MSN, FACHE

Karin McGraw, MSN, FACHE | 412-360-6391

Medical Center Director

Mrs. McGraw began her VA career as a nurse in 1979. On January 10, 2016, she assumed the role of Director of VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. Prior to this appointment, she served as Director of Beckley VA Medical Center. Her previous roles at Beckley VA Medical Center include Associate Director and Acute Care Service Line Chief.

Ms. McGraw holds a bachelor's degree in nursing from West Virginia University and received her master's degree in nursing administration from Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky.


Portrait of Ali Sonel, M.D.

Ali Sonel, M.D. | 412-360-6102

Chief of Staff

Dr. Ali Sonel oversees the clinical management of VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. Prior to this appointment, he served as the director of the medical center's cardiac catheterization laboratories and the associate chief of staff for its research and development program. A faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Sonel teaches advanced cardiac life support at VA Pittsburgh. He also performs cardiac catheterizations and conducts research at the health care system.

Sonel received his medical degree from Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey. His graduate medical training included a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in cardiology at Indiana University in Indianapolis. Sonel has co-written more than 30 research papers and currently serves as the primary investigator for four major research studies, as co-investigator for seven additional studies, and as a reviewer for multiple peer-reviewed medical journals. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians as well as the American College of Cardiology.


Portrait of Barbara Forsha, MSN, CPPS, ET

Barbara Forsha, MSN, CPPS, ET | 412-360-6101

Deputy Director

Barb Forsha has held her permanent position as VA Pittsburgh's deputy director since February 2015. From July 15 to October 31, 2015, she served as the interim director of VA Pittsburgh. Her previous roles include serving as the acting director for Erie VA Medical Center and as the quality management officer for VA Healthcare-VISN 4, a position she held since 2008. Forsha graduated from nursing school in 1981 and came to VA in 1998. She assumed her first position in quality management as the patient safety manager for VA Pittsburgh in 2001.


Portrait of Lovetta Ford, MSW

Lovetta Ford, MSW | 412-822-3325

Associate Director

Lovetta Ford has served as associate director of VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System since April 2011. Prior to this appointment, she worked as the behavioral health manager and homeless program coordinator for VA Healthcare-VISN 4. Ford began her career as a clinical social worker at VA Pittsburgh. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in social work from West Virginia University and has earned a post-master's certification in marital and family therapy from the University of Pittsburgh.


Portrait of Ira Richmond, DNP, RN, NEA-BC

Ira Richmond, DNP, RN, NEA-BC | 412-360-6103

Associate Director for Patient Care Services

Ira Richmond has served as associate director for patient care services at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System since March 2002. Prior to this role, Richmond worked as the associate director for patient care services at the VA Illiana Healthcare System in Danville, Ill. She has earned a bachelor's and master's degree in nursing from the University of Tennessee as well as an associate of arts degree in nursing from Memphis State University. Richmond is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in Nursing Administration-Advanced and as a clinical nurse specialist in adult psychiatric and mental health. In 2000, Richmond completed the University of Pennsylvania's Johnson & Johnson-Wharton Fellows Program in Management for Nurse Executives.