Lexington Fisher House
Lexington VA Health Care System is having a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the Lexington Fisher House on March 24 at 10 a.m.
Biographies for the speakers at the event
M. Christopher Saslo, DNS, ARNP-BC-FAANP
Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Patient Care Services / Chief Nursing Officer, Veterans Health Administration
Dr. M. Christopher Saslo assumed the role of the Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer (AUGS-PCS/CNO) on October 8, 2022. In this role, he serves in as principal executive for oversight of Nursing, Social Work, Caregiver Support, Connect Care, Pharmacy, Sterile Processing, Geriatrics and Extended Care, Population Health, Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation, Physician Assistants, and Rehabilitation and Prosthetics.
Dr. Saslo served as the Acting AUSH-PCS/CNO, July 2022 thru October 2022 and prior to that as the Acting Senior Advisor to the AUSH-PCS/CNO from January 2022 thru June 2022. He has served as Associate Director for Patient Care Services at Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System since 2014. Dr. Saslo has served as Interim Director from June 2017 to January 2018 and as acting Deputy Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health: Clinical Operations from October 2018 thru May 2019. In his role as ADPCS, Dr. Saslo has oversight for Inpatient and Outpatient Nursing service as well as the Office of Social Work, Sterile Processing, Clinical Informatics, Food & Nutrition and Chaplain Services. Dr. Saslo has been a Nurse for more than 37 years and has served VHA for more than 27 years. He has worked in areas including Ambulatory Care as both Nurse Practitioner and Program Manger, Medicine Service in the HIV and Hepatology clinics and Associate Chief Nurse for Clinical Practice in Nursing. Dr. Saslo has served as the Past President for the Florida Nurse Practitioner Network and the local NP of Palm Beach County.
Dr. Saslo holds a Bachelor's Degree from Marywood University in Scranton, PA, his Masters from LaSalle University in Philadelphia, PA and a Doctorate in Nursing from Florida Atlantic University. He has been actively involved as local and national levels including the past Chair of the National Ethics Advisory for HIV/Hep C Clinical Case Registry.
Russell Armstead, CGFM
Executive Director, Lexington VA Health Care System
Mr. Russell Armstead assumed the duties of Executive Director at VA Lexington Healthcare System in February of 2023.
Mr. Armstead joined VA in 2011 as an Administrative Officer for VISN 6 Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network after serving 21 years of active duty in the United States Army. Russell is a combat Veteran who was awarded two Bronze Star medals for exemplary achievements in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Prior to his appointment as the Executive Director, he served as Acting Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director at VA Connecticut Healthcare System. Mr. Armstead also served as Assistant Medical Center Director and Associate Medical Center Director at VA Maine Healthcare System. Russell is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a graduate of the VA Health Care Leadership Development Program, a Certified Government Financial Manager, and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
2023 – Present Executive Director, Lexington VA Health Care System, Lexington, KY
2022 – 2023 Acting Executive Director, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT
2021 – 2022 Deputy Executive Director, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, West Haven, CT
2019 – 2021 Associate Director, VA Maine Healthcare System, Augusta, ME
2018 – 2019 Assistant Director, VA Maine Healthcare System, Augusta, ME
2012 – 2018 Program Analyst, VHA Office of Policy and Planning, Washington, DC
2011 – 2012 Administrative Officer, VA Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network (VISN 6), Durham, NC
2009 Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Management, American Military University, Charlestown, WV
2008 Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies, American Military University, Charlestown, WV
David A. Coker, President, Fisher House Foundation
David Coker has 43 years of experience in nonprofit management and the military health system. He was selected as the first employee of Fisher House Foundation in 1994 when the program had 14 houses. He has the privilege of working with Ken Fisher, the Fisher family, and the Board of Trustees to expand the Foundation’s programs and the network of Fisher Houses. The program has flourished and is now recognized as one of the premiere nonprofits working to support the quality of life for our military and veteran families.
David joined the Foundation in 1994 following his retirement from the U. S. Army. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and a Master of Health Administration from the U. S. Army - Baylor University Graduate Program in Health Care Administration. Coker has served on the Board of Directors for the Military, Veterans, and Patriotic Service Organizations of America and the Independent Charities of America.
Coker first became involved with the Fisher House program as a volunteer at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center. He helped prepare the house for its first guests. He also founded and served as the first elected president of the Friends of the Fisher House at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, a local nonprofit organization established to support the Fisher House.
Coker comes from a military family with more than 100 years of service in the United States Army.
Charlotte La Belle, Principal of Global Military Affairs
Works at Amazon, and is an Ohio native with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications and Public Relations from The University of Akron, and a Master's of Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from Ohio University. Sher served in the United States Army as a Logistics Officer for eight years - on her very first day of Active Duty she met her husband, Andrew La Belle, who is now a Pilot and Flight Instructor. They have two boys, James who is 3-years-old, and Maxwell (Max) who is 1-years-old. During her transition from active duty she worked as an intern in Mayor Gorton’s office, then began her journey at Amazon through the Military Pathways Program as an Operations manager in Lexington KY, and then as a Senior Operations Manager for Amazon Air in Hebron KY before starting her role in Global Military Affairs. She is passionate about developing suicide-safer communities through advocacy and training. She has been teaching Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) from LivingWorks Education for the last 7 years within our military communities and to surrounding community leaders.