VHA Innovation Ecosystem Team

 Ryan Vega, MD

Dr. Ryan Vega
Chief Officer, Office of Healthcare Innovation and Learning

Ryan Vega, MD, MSHA, currently serves as the Chief Officer of the Office of Healthcare Innovation and Learning in the VHA Office of Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks where he oversees the management of both grassroot and strategic innovation initiatives across VHA. Dr. Vega is a graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Medicine and completed his Internal Medicine residency at the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System where served as Chief Medicine Resident in the Department of Internal Medicine as well as the VA Chief Resident for Quality and Safety. He also gained additional training in clinical quality through the Advanced Training Program at Intermountain Health Care under the tutelage of Dr. Brett James and received his Master of Science in Healthcare Administration from Virginia Commonwealth University where he was an A.D. Williams Scholar.
Innovation Superpower: Leadership

 Beth Ripley, MD, PhD Enterprise Lead,

Dr. Beth Ripley
Deputy Chief Officer, Office of Healthcare Innovation and Learning

Beth Ripley, MD, PhD, serves as the Deputy Chief Officer for OHIL where she oversees strategic operations to advance innovation efforts across VHA. She is a leader in the expansion of 3D printing technology capabilities and applications across VHA and serves as the Enterprise Lead for the VHA 3D Printing Network Initiative, Director for VA Ventures, and Chair for the VHA 3D Printing Advisory Committee. Dr. Ripley collaborates with talented and diverse staff throughout the VA system, experts across federal agencies, and industry partners to improve the delivery of personalized healthcare solutions for Veterans through 3D printing solutions. Dr. Ripley is a staff radiologist at the Seattle Division of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System and an Assistant Professor of Radiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She received her bachelor’s degree in Art History from Stanford University and her MD and PhD in Neurosciences from University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. She completed radiology residency training and a cardiovascular imaging fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and a body imaging fellowship at the University of Washington.
Innovation Superpower: Empowerment

 Kristopher

Kristopher "Kit" Teague
Executive Director, VHA Innovation Ecosystem

As Executive Director for VHA Innovation Ecosystem (IE) in the Office of Healthcare Innovation and Learning, Mr. Teague is responsible for both strategy and operations for VHA IE in order to advance care delivery and service through mission-driven innovation that changes and saves Veteran lives. VHA IE’s four portfolios—VHA Innovators Network, Diffusion of Excellence, Care & Transformational Initiatives, and National Centers for Innovation to Impact—are tasked with identifying and scaling innovations and best practices by empowering frontline employees and leveraging external partners as force multipliers to build VA's culture and capacity for transformational health care innovation. Prior to this role, he served as the Deputy Director for VHA IE. Mr. Teague has over 20 years of experience in health care between his time in the private sector and VA. 17 years of this experience has been with VA, with nine of those years incubating, evaluating, and scaling clinical and administrative innovation across VHA. He started his VA career in 2003 as an Auditor for the VA Office of Inspector General in Washington, DC. Since then, he has sought to diversify his experience by holding positions at both the regional and local levels of VHA. He served as a Contracting Officer for the VISN 21 Network Contracting Office and Chief of Personnel Security for the VA Palo Alto Health Care System prior to rejoining the VA Central Office with VHA IE. With VHA IE, he has served in a leadership capacity for the past four years and personally managed over 21 different innovation projects, including software prototypes for various clinical specialties, production pilots of emerging technologies, regional rollouts of innovative clinical treatments, multi-site equipment activations, and complex clinical data mapping and informatics. Mr. Teague earned a bachelor’s degree in History/Political Science at Arkansas Tech University and Federal Acquisition Certification for Program and Project Managers through VA Acquisition Academy. He was nominated for the VHA Robert L. Jesse Award for Excellence in Innovation in 2020.
Innovation Superpower: Persistence

 Allison Amrhein,

Allison Amrhein, MPH
Director of Operations, VHA Innovators Network

As Director of Operations for the VHA Innovators Network, Allison Amrhein guides a team of incredible Innovation Specialists from VA Medical Centers across the country through operational day-to-day functions and leads operational strategic planning for the VHA Innovators Network. Particular areas of leadership responsibility include financial maintenance and planning, internal VA communications and relationship building, development of value metrics and oversight of data collection, and management of the annual Spark-Seed-Spread Innovation Investment Program application and review process. Prior to her role as Director of Operations, Allison served as an Innovation Coordinator, managing high-value innovation projects and contracts, as well as the Director of Executive Correspondence for the Office of the Under Secretary for Health for Operations and Maintenance during her tenure at VA. Prior to joining VA, she was a health systems researcher and technical writer for a number of non-profit organizations. Allison received her Master of Public Health from the University of Kentucky and Health Administration degree from Indiana University. She is also a certified yoga instructor, dog mom, and has a four-year-old son named Charlie.
Innovation Superpower: Perseverance

 Brynn Cole Director of Programming, VHA Innovators Network

Brynn Cole
Director of Programming, VHA Innovators Network

A VHA employee of over 10 years, Brynn Cole is thrilled to be currently serving as Director of Programming for the VHA Innovators Network. In this role, Brynn’s primary focus is coordinating training and events, managing alumni relationships, facilitating the annual Spark-Seed-Spread Innovation Accelerator, identifying and fulfilling training needs for both Innovation Specialists and Investees, and establishing external industry and academic partnerships. Previously the Innovation Specialist at the White River Junction VA Medical Center, Brynn brings unique perspective to her current role and is energized to bring together people and ideas to act as a catalyst of positive change and as an antidote to the "can’t do" attitude that some believe inherent to the federal government. Brynn earned her Bachelor of Arts from Johnson State College in Johnson, VT, with a focus on Gender Studies and Sociology and has recently returned to her native Vermont after years in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is obsessed with her snug cabin on 11 acres of Vermont mountainside, enjoys rambling around in the woods with her nieces and nephews, 12-year-old Golden Retriever (Angus), and two bobtailed cats, which makes for quite a scene! This winter, Brynn discovered a love affair with cross-stitch and fermenting vegetables, but she promises that she is still a lot more fun than that makes her sound.
Innovation Superpower: Foresight

 Blake Henderson
                            Director, Diffusion of Excellence

Blake Henderson
Director, Diffusion of Excellence

Blake Henderson is an experienced product developer and teambuilder working as an advocate for frontline employee innovators at VHA. He has been integral in the development of VA business systems, such as VA’s Light Electronic Action Framework (LEAF), and clinical platforms like the Remote Veteran Sleep Apnea Management Platform (REVAMP). He currently serves as the Director for Diffusion of Excellence, which identifies, replicates, and scales promising practices throughout the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Innovation Superpower: Imagination

 Joshua Patterson
                        Director, Care & Transformational Initiatives

Joshua Patterson
Director, Care & Transformational Initiatives

Joshua Patterson is the Director for Care & Transformational Initiatives in the VHA Innovation Ecosystem. Leading Care & Transformational Initiatives, he focuses on driving five strategic priorities in the VHA Innovation Ecosystem to include: Augmented/Virtual Reality, Precision/Personalized Medicine, 3D Printing (national scaling), Artificial/Machine Intelligence, and Veteran-facing Solutions. He aims to provide an avenue to source innovation through internal and external partners (i.e., industry, academia, and other government agencies) to accelerate innovation in VHA. Joshua has over 19 years of experience in the government with 14 years within VA. He started with VA at the former Health Administration Center (now within the Office of Community Care) where he worked on providing data/business analytics and strategic planning within the Office of the Director. He has been supporting innovation at VHA Innovations for eight years, serving as a project manager for projects from development through national deployment.
Innovation Superpower: Tenacity

 JThomas Osborne, MD Director, National Center for Collaborative Healthcare Innovation

Dr. Thomas Osborne
Director for NCCHI

Thomas Osborne, MD, is the Director of the National Center for Collaborative Healthcare Innovation (NCCHI) and Chief Medical Informatics Officer (CMIO) at VA Palo Alto Health Care System. As Director of NCCHI, he is leading multidisciplinary teams in the co-development and implementation of pioneering healthcare solutions throughout VA, with other government agencies, and with leading technology companies. His teams overarching goal is to deliver the best and most advanced healthcare solutions to our Veterans. He is the inaugural recipient of the VA Under Secretary for Health Robert L. Jesse Award for Excellence in Innovation. His work has been published in numerous medical journals and textbooks on topics such as predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, sensor technology, augmented reality, virtual reality, and the future of health care. Dr. Osborne received his medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School, completed his residency at Harvard Mount Auburn Hospital, and fellowship at Harvard Massachusetts General Hospital. He is board certified in both Diagnostic Radiology and Neuroradiology. Dr. Osborne is also a staff neuroradiologist at VA Palo Alto Healthcare System and Clinical Associate Professor (affiliated) at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Innovation Superpower: Grit

 Suzanne Shirley, LCSW Director of Partnerships & Community Engagement

Suzanne Shirley, LCSW
Director of Fellowships & Community Engagement

Suzanne Shirley serves as the Director of Fellowships & Community Engagement with the Veterans Health Administration Innovation Ecosystem (VHA IE). In this role, she oversees the Fellowship tracks, the MIT Catalyst Fellowship Program in VHA, and leads community engagement efforts across VHA IE. Through the strategic implementation of experiential learning opportunities that aim to shape future thought leaders in health care and deliver enterprise-wide solutions, Suzanne engages the skills and talents of a strong community of innovators spanning across government, academia, non-profit organizations, and industry.
Innovation Superpower: Vision