AVAPL Executive Committee

Thomas Kirchberg, Ph.D. 

Thomas Kirchberg, Ph.D.

The first three years of Dr. Kirchberg's VA career were spent with the inpatient and outpatient substance use disorder clinics. The next eleven years were devoted to inpatient psychiatry. He provided supervision in assessment, individual and group psychotherapy for Psychology Interns rotating on that unit. He taught clinical interviewing, an overview of psychological testing, and provided supervision to psychiatry residents and M3s on the VA inpatient psychiatric unit. Additionally, he provided clinical supervision for VA Psychology Interns and Psychiatry Residents on rotation in the Psychiatric Emergency Room at the Regional Medical Center, Memphis. Over the past 15 years, he has provided group and individual care for WWII Combat Veterans with PTSD. He works with Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Officers. CIT provides training nationally for law enforcement officers who intervene with persons in mental health crisis. We have been successful in developing this unique program for training regional law enforcement officers to successfully resolve Veteran related mental health/behavioral crises without injury to Veterans, their families, or law enforcement officers. This work with CIT complements his work with the national Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Committee. Since 2006, he has served as Chief Psychologist at the VAMC Memphis. He has also served as EAP Director for the Medical Center. 

Ronald Gironda, Ph.D. 

Ronald Gironda, Ph.D.

Dr. Gironda began his career as a psychologist as a predoctoral intern almost eighteen years ago at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital (Tampa VA). Following internship and a brief period as a VA merit review grant project manager, he received Associate Investigator and then Career Development award funding through the VA Rehabilitation & Research Development Office. At the same time, he served as a clinician and internship rotation supervisor in the Tampa VA Chronic Pain Rehabilitation Program, an interdisciplinary team that was recognized with the Secretary of the VA’s Olin Teague Award (2004) and the American Pain Society’s Clinical Center of Excellence Award (2007). He was also given the opportunity to serve on a few national committees including the VA National Pain Management Coordinating Committee. In 2008, he was given the opportunity to serve in his current dual role as Assistant Chief of Mental Health and Behavior Sciences and Chief of the Psychology Section. In these roles, he has attempted to continue to promote the growth of psychology through active advocacy and support for training, research, and the implementation of evidence-based practice.

John McQuaid, Ph.D. 

Past President
John McQuaid, Ph.D.

Dr. John McQuaid spent the first 14 years of his VA career at the San Diego VA, running a mood clinic and participating in research and teaching. He then moved into the position of Associate Chief of Psychology. With mentorship of exceptional colleagues, he developed an appreciation for the challenges and opportunities a leadership role provided, and the importance of bringing the voice and perspective of psychology to our facility. For the last four years, he has served as the Associate Chief of Mental Health at the San Francisco VA and has continued to value the opportunity that serving in leadership provides to improve systems and better serve veterans. 

Steve Cavicchia, Ph.D., Secretary, AVAPL 

Steve Cavicchia, Ph.D.

Dr. Stephen Cavicchia started his VA career as an intern at the Coatesville VA Medical Center.  He came on staff shortly thereafter and became Assistant Chief in 1987 then Chief, Psychology Service in 1991.  With the changes in VHA in the 90's and the movement to patient care services, he was appointed the ACOS, Mental Health in 1997.  He was President of the Association of VA Chief Psychologists in 1996 (now AVAPL).  During his tenure the Association changed its name to AVAPL to reflect the broadening roles of psychologists in leadership positions as well as the decrease in traditional Psychology Services.  He served as Editor of the AVAPL Newsletter from 1997-2000.  In 1997 he worked with a community provider to establish a VA Homeless Grant and Per Diem program on the grounds of the Coatesville VAMC.  This was the first program which made use of the new sharing agreement legislation permitting utilization of vacant buildings on Federal property.   He worked with the same provider to establish the first funded Drop-In Center for Homeless under the VA Homeless Grant and Per Diem Program.  A VA CBOC was co-located on the grounds of the Drop-In Center.   Subsequently, he worked to establish  one of the largest residential programs for women veterans, a 30-bed program also funded under VA Homeless Grant and Per Diem called Walker House.  He was appointed the VISN 4 MH Clinical Lead from 2002-2004 and was Co-Chair of the Committee on Care of Veterans with SMI from 2003-2007.  Among its accomplishments, the Committee recommended that VHA commit to creating and implementing a Mental Health Strategic Plan which it did in July of 2004.  In 2007 he resumed his role as Chief, Psychology Service at the Coatesville VAMC.

Mary Beth Shea, Ph.D., Treasurer 

Mary Beth Shea, Ph.D.

Dr. Mary Beth Shea is the Local Recovery Coordinator (LRC) at the Orlando VA Medical Center (OVAMC). She also serves as the Program Manager for the Orlando Veterans’ Integration to Academic Leadership (VITAL) program and Chair of the facility IRB. Dr. Shea is a VISN-8 CPT Trainer and PE Supervisor, and serves on the facility Psychology Professional Standards Board. In her role as LRC, Dr. Shea is a consultant to all of the mental health programs and staff at the Orlando facility and its 6 affiliated OPCs/CBOCs, serving more than 100,000 Veterans.
Dr. Shea completed her Ph.D. in Clinical and Community Psychology at the University of South Carolina in 1990. After completing a Geropsychology internship at the Bay Pines VAMC (1989-1990), she joined the staff at the WJB Dorn VAMC in Columbia, SC as a geriatric/medical psychologist (1990-1998). In 1998, she accepted a position as the MST Coordinator at the Columbia, SC Vet Center, where she remained until 2006. At that time, she moved to the Tampa VAMC, and later transferred to the Orlando facility (at the time, an OPC of Tampa), where she is now an active part of the mental health management team. In her tenure with VA, Dr. Shea has served on numerous and varied committees across hospital functions, including among others, the Women Veterans’ Advisory Committee, the Emergency Medical Response Team (now NEMRT), Hospice Consultation Committee, End Stage Renal Disease Committee, Cancer Committee, and Geriatrics Curriculum Committee. She also served as a trustee for the National Organization of VA Psychologists.