VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System (VCB)
Homero S. Martinez III | 956-291-9427
Homero S. Martinez III was appointed Director for VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System (VCB) in Harlingen, Texas, on January 22, 2019. Mr. Martinez leads a team of more than 1100 medical professionals and support staff in a healthcare system that serves 20 counties covering more than 20,000 square miles in deep south Texas. VCB encompasses the Laredo, McAllen, Harlingen, and Corpus Christi VA clinics, which account for more than 400,000 outpatient visits annually. VCB is responsible for serving over 100,000 Veterans of which more than 36,000 are enrolled. Mr. Martinez, an Air Force Veteran, enlisted on April 22, 1993 and was later accepted to Officer Training School. He received his commission on January 12, 2001. He worked in a various career specialties and programs throughout his military service, which include experience in operations, recruiting, financial management, and strategic planning and implementation. He held different positions in support of diverse missions and objectives under various military units and major Air Force commands. He was mobilized to Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (December 2004 – April 2005). While deployed, he served with the Multi-National Forces, Iraq. The 1990 La Feria High School graduate returned to the Rio Grande Valley in 2013 after serving 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. The former Air Force major and noncommissioned officer is a Leadership Veterans Affairs Fellow, and a member of American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). He holds a master’s degree in Business Administration, along with a bachelor’s, and associate degree. He is also a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.
Charles A. Harpel | 956-291-9995
Charles A. Harpel is the Associate Director for VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System (VCB). He formally took over the position of associate director on April 15, 2019. Mr. Harpel is a U.S. Navy Veteran, who served in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Operation Deny Flight Bosnia aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71). Upon completing his military service in 1997, the former sailor went to work for Defense Finance Accounting Services (DFAS) in vendor pay located in San Antonio, Texas. Mr. Harpel formally began his career in the VA in 1999 by accepting a position with the Department of Veteran Affairs Financial Services Center (FSC) in Austin, Texas, as an accounting technician in the Intergovernmental Accounting Department. In 2005, he transitioned into an accounting technician position within the Engineering Service at South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS) where he helped manage facility and construction costs. He later took on more responsibilities in 2008 after being selected as the administrative officer for the Engineering Service. Three years later, he was selected as the administrative officer for Nursing Service and assisted the health care system's two top senior nursing officers with the implementation of the VA Initiative for Staffing Methodology. The year 2013, saw him take on his third senior officer role, after being selected as the administrative officer for Geriatrics and Extended Care (GEC) where he assisted in the implementation of Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 17 first Hospital In Home (HIH) Program. Mr. Harpel graduated from the 2015 VISN 17 Leadership Development Institute (LDI) prior to joining VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System in April 2017. The former Navy petty officer also earned a Master of Business Administration degree in 2008 from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Eric D. Kendle | 956-291-9333
Chief of Staff
Dr. Eric D. Kendle is the Chief of Staff for VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System (VCB). Prior to his current position, Dr. Kendle was named the deputy chief of staff in August 2017, and was most recently commissioned to lead the healthcare system’s SAIL Project for Effects, Actions and Results (SPEAR) team. The VA physician is a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and combat Veteran who served two deployments during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Dr. Kendle began his military career with a direct commission into the Arizona Air National Guard in May of 1992. He joined the 162nd Fighter Wing as a general medical officer and then completed the Aerospace Medicine Primary Course in November of 1993 while simultaneously continuing his general surgery residency which he completed in 1996. In 2004, he was one of the first Air National Guard flight surgeons to serve in the Baghdad Expeditionary Medical Support facility (EMEDS) at Sather Air Base. There he served as a flight and trauma surgeon proving the worth and value of Air National Guard flight surgeons in the combat theatre. In 2005, he was selected as the Chief of Aerospace Medicine, 162nd Medical Group. In 2007 he served another tour in Iraq as Chief of Aerospace Medicine at the Sather AB EMEDS. In 2008 his 162nd MDG achieved a score of 98 during a Health Services Inspection, which was the highest score recorded by a medical unit at the time. This same Medical Group later received the Theodore Marrs Award in 2008 for its outstanding provision of medical support for all flying personnel and unit members. In February 2010, he was selected to take command as the 162nd Fighter Wing’s Medical Group commander. He led the Medical Group to Vigilant Guard Guam, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IX Joint forces mass casualty and disaster preparedness exercise, in August of 2010.
Catherine G. Mezmar | 956-291-9339
Nurse Executive and Associate Director for Patient Care Services
Catherine Mezmar was appointed as the Nurse Executive for VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System on July 8, 2018. From 2010 to 2018, she served as the health care system’s Chief of Quality Management. Originally from Pennsylvania, she received her bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Penn State and a master’s degree in Psychiatric Nursing from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Ms. Mezmar has been employed as an associate degree nursing instructor, staff nurse in post-partum and oncology, mental health center nursing supervisor, performance improvement coordinator, Medicare outpatient reimbursement coordinator, and coding supervisor.
Jennifer A. Wood | 956-291-9125
Deputy Chief of Staff
Dr. Jennifer A. Wood, was appointed Acting Deputy Chief of Staff for VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System effective April 17, 2018. A native of South Texas, she completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Mississippi returning to Texas to complete both internship and fellowship at South Texas VA Health Care System’s Audie L. Murphy VA Medical Center. Following her clinical training, she accepted a position as staff psychologist at the Harlingen VA Outpatient Clinic. In 2010 Dr. Wood was appointed as the Associate Chief of Staff for Mental Health for VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System. In that role she oversaw mental health programming for 7 facilities as well as multiple telemental health sites of care. She initiated an APA approved Psychology Internship program as well as a partnership with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Medical School for a Psychiatry Residency. Dr. Wood has successfully secured multiple grants to enhance clinical care, completed several VISN and VACO level leadership trainings, is certified in Prolonged Exposure Therapy and has training in systems redesign. In addition to her clinical duties, Dr. Wood holds academic appointments with both the University of Texas Health Science Center, Department of Psychiatry as well as the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and Neurology as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Wood’s clinical and research interests include: evaluation of telemental health interventions, application of innovative service delivery systems in rural settings, as well as geriatric and neuropsychological assessment.