Leadership Team - VA Providence Healthcare System
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VA Providence Healthcare System


Leadership Team

Lawrence B. Connell, Director

Lawrence B. Connell | 401-457-3042


Lawrence B. Connell was appointed Director of the VA Providence Healthcare System in June, 2020. Previously, he served as the VHA Chief of Staff from July 23, 2018. Mr. Connell also served as the Acting Medical Center Director of the Washington, DC VA Medical Center and is a retired U.S. Army colonel, where he served as the Deputy Chief of Operations, Joint Cyber Center, United States Pacific Command. Mr. Connell served more than 30 years as an Army medical service officer, including 15 years as a medical evacuation helicopter pilot. Additionally, Mr. Connell served as the Chief Operating Officer, Pacific Regional Medical Command, Honolulu, Hawaii; the Chief Executive Officer of Stuttgart U.S. Army Medical Health Clinic; the Commander of the 43rd Area Support Medical Battalion; and other medical-related staff positions. His military awards include the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster award and two Air Medals. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and a graduate of the Disney Institute for Health Care Excellence. Mr. Connell holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from the University of Rhode Island and a master’s degree in International Relations from Troy State University.

Erin Clare Sears, MBA, MSW, Associate Director for Operations

Erin Clare Sears, MBA, MSW | 401-457-3041

Associate Director for Operations

Ms. Erin Clare Sears served as Acting Director from November 2019 to June 2020 and was appointed Associate Director for Operations of Providence VAMC in April 2013. She also served as Acting Medical Center Director for the Providence VAMC from July 2017 to March 2018. Previously Ms. Clare Sears served as the Chief of the Social Work Service and Geriatrics and Extended Care from 2009. She began her career with the VA in Providence in May 1996, as a graduate social work intern in both primary care and mental health. After graduation, she worked at two community hospitals, and then returned to Providence VAMC in April 2001. Ms. Clare Sears holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, a Master of Social Work (clinical concentration) at Boston College, and a Master of Business Administration (management concentration) from Salve Regina University.

Satish Sharma, MD, Chief of Staff

Satish Sharma, MD | 401-457-3040

Chief of Staff

Satish Sharma, M.D., was appointed Chief of Staff of Providence VAMC in March 2015. Dr. Sharma has served the Veterans of New England for more than 35 years. He was appointed as the Chief of Cardiology at Providence VAMC in 1983 and has held positions of increasing responsibility, including Director of the Residency Program, Associate Chief of Medicine, Chief of Medicine, and VISN 1 Specialty and Acute Care Director. Dr. Sharma has received numerous honors and awards including the “VHA Healthcare Employee of the Year” award from the VFW in 2002 and Professional Employee of the Year, 2002, from the Rhode Island Federal Executive Council. In addition to his administrative activities, Dr. Sharma has been actively involved in patient care, teaching, and clinical research throughout his career. Dr. Sharma holds a faculty appointment at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University as Professor of Medicine.

Matthiew Goulet, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Associate Director for Patient Care & Nurse Executive

Matthiew Goulet, MSN, RN, NE-BC | 401-273-7100 Ext. 3564

Associate Director for Patient Care & Nurse Executive

Mr. Matt Goulet was appointed Associate Director for Patient Care / Nurse Executive (ADPC/NE) in Oct. 2018. Prior to this, he served as acting ADPC/NE, and before that was the Deputy Nurse Executive of the VA Boston Healthcare System. Mr. Goulet graduated from Norwich University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and began his nursing career in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas. Following active duty, he worked briefly as a nurse in the private sector before beginning his VA career at the Providence VAMC as an intensive care unit nurse. He advanced to the role of nurse manager of the telemetry/stepdown unit. Mr. Goulet then transferred to VA Boston as nurse manager of a surgical/telemetry ward and was mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2007, serving at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the surgical intensive care unit (SICU). He returned to VA Boston in 2008, and in 2012 became nurse manager of the SICU. In 2012, Mr. Goulet graduated from Norwich University with a Master of Science in Nursing. In 2014, he was selected as Associate Chief Nurse for Acute Inpatient Nursing and in 2017 was selected Deputy Nurse Executive, both at VA Boston. Mr. Goulet completed the VA Healthcare Leadership Development Program, is a board-certified nurse executive, and certified VA Coach and Mentor. He is a member of the American Organization for Nurse Leadership, the American Nurses Association, and the National Organization of VA Nurses.