MEET THE LEADERSHIP
Meet The Leadership
Dr. Thomas F. Klobucar was named Executive Director in 2018. He leads the Office of Rural Health, managing a broad portfolio of partnerships with clinical program offices, research initiatives, and a strong innovation program that has produced no fewer than 20 rural promising practices and 50 Enterprise Wide Initiatives that have been disseminated across VHA to increase access to care for hundreds of thousands of rural Veterans.
Dr. Klobucar also oversees the activities of five Veterans Rural Health Resource Centers in Iowa City, Iowa; Salt Lake City, Utah; White River Junction, Vermont; Gainesville, Florida; and Portland, Oregon that serve as hubs of rural health care research, innovation and dissemination. Exercising oversight of the rural health initiative annual budget of $270 million, Dr. Klobucar ensures that ORH fulfils its legislative mandate as outlined in 38 USC § 7308 to conduct rural Veteran focused research, create innovative solutions to rural Veteran access challenges, and disseminate those solutions system-wide.
Dr. Klobucar previously served as a telehealth research associate at the Iowa City Veterans Rural Health Resource Centers. Before he came to VA, he worked in commercial research and academe, and has held faculty appointments at The University of Iowa College of Public Health and The Iowa State University Department of Political Science. A retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant, Dr. Klobucar spent his military career first as a Cryptologic Russian Linguist and then as an Arms Control Inspector/Interpreter working on execution of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987 and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) of 1990.
Dr. Klobucar is published in the fields of rural health, home telehealth, political science, Soviet studies, sociology and research methods.
Dr. Sheila Robinson was named Deputy Director in 2019. She manages the day to day operations of the Office of Rural Health, leading the rural health VA Central Office team in the development, dissemination and oversight of nationwide programs designed to increase access to care for hundreds of thousands of rural Veterans.
A retired Air Force colonel, Dr. Robinson served as a Personnel Officer for seven years before transferring to the Medical Service Corps. She served in various positions, culminating her active duty military career as the Director of Coalition and Non-Beneficiary Healthcare Programs for the Defense Health Agency and Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. Dr. Robinson served for more than 20 years and was awarded Defense Superior Service and Defense Meritorious Service medals.
Most recently, Dr. Robinson worked as a federal and Department of Defense consultant. As a consultant, she was responsible for leading and managing several projects that support the federal and military health systems. Dr. Robinson is also a board-certified fellow in health care management through the American College of Health Executives (FACHE). She holds a Doctorate in Health Administration from Central Michigan University, a Masters in Health Administration from Chapman University, and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Grambling State University.
Meet the rest of the ORH staff.