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James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center - Altoona, PA

 

Leadership Team

Portrait of Charles R Thilges

Charles R Thilges | (412) 822-3322

Interim Director


Portrait of Ali Sonel, M.D.

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

Interim 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 Charles T. Becker

Charles T. Becker | 814-943-8164 ext.7031

Associate Director

Mr. Becker is responsible for administrative services at the medical center, including Facilities, Human Resources, Nutrition and Food, Chaplain, Health Information Management, Health Administration, Pharmacy, Police, and Fiscal. He was appointed to his present position on July 24, 2005. A native of Altoona, Pennsylvania, Mr. Becker graduated from Penn State University in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. Upon graduation, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and was ordered to active duty where he served with the 82nd Airborne Division, U.S. Army Special Forces, and with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Following his Active Duty, Mr. Becker served in the U.S. Army Reserve in various assignments until his retirement in 1998 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He began his VA career at the VA medical center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as a Fiscal Officer Trainee in 1974. In 1975, he continued as an Assistant Fiscal Officer at the VA medical center in Perry Point, Maryland, later progressing to the Fiscal Officer position at that same facility. In 1984, Mr. Becker began his tenure at the Altoona VA Medical Center as the Chief, Information Resource Management and IFCAP Developer. In 1995, he became the Manager, Resources Department and served as the Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Becker received a Master degree in Business Administration from Loyola College, Baltimore, in 1982. He was licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in 2000.


Portrait of Joan Perove

Joan Perove | 814.943.8164.

Associate Director for Patient/Nursing Services

Ms. Perove is accountable and responsible for the overall administration of Patient/Nursing Services and its related programs at the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center. She was appointed to her present position on September 15, 1996. Ms. Perove began her career in the Department of Veterans Affairs as a staff nurse at VAMC Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1975. In 1976 she was a staff nurse with VAMC Altoona, PA. She continued her career with VAMC Altoona in the following positions: Nursing Care Coordinator; Nursing Programs Coordinator; Assistant Chief Nursing Service for Special Programs; Associate Chief of Nursing Service; Chief of Nursing Service; Associate Director of Nursing; to present position. Ms. Perove is a native of Pennsylvania. She attended Carlow College in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing; and Central Michigan University where she earned a Master of Science Degree in Administration with concentration in Health Care Services. Ms. Perove also holds certification in Nursing Administration through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.