Team brings 100 years of experience to Michigan Veteran Health System

Published 6:00 pm Thursday, February 11, 2016

Five months after the creation of the Michigan Veteran Health System — an integrated health care system providing quality residential, long-term health care to veterans of all eras through Michigan’s two state veterans homes — CEO Leslie Shanlian today announced her full leadership team.

Together, the seven-person team has more than 100 years of experience in the public and private sectors, positioning MVHS to evolve to match the needs of those who served and continue offering care to veterans with needs ranging from post-traumatic stress to chronic presumptive conditions to end-of-life support.

“This is an exciting time for the Michigan Veteran Health System,” Shanlian said. “With this highly skilled team in place, we can create a unified vision for modern member care while preparing for the next generation of veterans who will live at our state veterans homes.”

Four newly appointed vice presidents will work with Shanlian and COOs Scott Blakeney and Brad Slagle and to align the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette into one integrated health system with standard processes and procedures designed to:

• Adopt best practices in both home management and service delivery.

• Place the homes in line with industry standards.

• Increase consistency and standardization in each home.

• Facilitate compliance with federal and state standards.

• Modernize current systems of operation.

• Provide quality and affordable health care to Michigan veterans now and in the future.

“For almost 130 years, since the end of the Civil War, Michigan veterans have had a place they could call home, where they could live with their fellow veterans and receive compassionate, highly skilled care,” Shanlian said. “Under MVHS, we will continue that tradition as we explore new ways to provide care for the next 130 years. This team has the knowledge, experience and passion to do just that.”

The MVHS leadership team includes:

Vice President of Nursing Services Eugenia Dumlao-Reedy will oversee all aspects of culture change and care in daily operations for MVHS. She has more than 20 years of experience in state government as a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) trained surveyor, nurse trainer and survey monitor in long-term care. Dumlao-Reedy previously worked in the private sector as a clinical instructor and initiated the nurse practitioner program in the Philippines.

She holds master’s degrees in nursing and pastoral studies and a certificate in special education.

Vice President of Social Services Dawne Velianoff has more than a decade of experience as an advocate, policy maker and grant writer. She previously worked as a director for Matrix Human Services, overseeing their community center and social service programs. She also has experience opening skilled-nursing facilities to ensure CMS certification as well as working for the AARP Foundation and Henry Ford Village, the state’s largest continuing care retirement community.

Her career with the state began in the Aging and Adult Services Agency, where she managed the state’s Medicare/Medicaid assistance program and served as the federal legal services developer. She also led the governor’s elder abuse prevention initiative.

Velianoff earned her master’s degree in social work from Wayne State University and holds a second master’s degree in urban planning, specializing in community development and housing.

Vice President of Business Services Ryan Engle previously worked for General Mills, leading operations and project management for the Yoplait brand. Engle earned a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and is currently pursuing his master’s of business administration from Grand Valley State University.

Engle is a former infantry officer and captain in the U.S. Marine Corps with deployments to Afghanistan as a rifle platoon commander and machinegun platoon commander. His military awards include the Combat Action Ribbon, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat “V.”

Vice President of Operations Steve Rolston comes to MVHS with experience founding a hospice as well as running a skilled-nursing facility. As a former CEO of an assisted and independent living facility, he has developed many partnerships in order to provide diverse services. Rolston will be involved as an operations resource for the health system and will explore ways the homes can partner to provide additional services to the state’s veterans.

Rounding out the team are the two COOs who manage the day-to-day operations of each home.

Since 2005, D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans COO Brad Slagle has been a proactive leader, using his accounting background and personable character to create a homelike environment for veterans to live. He served as business manager and deputy administrator of the home from 1999 to 2005 and has 10 years of experience working in the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Slagle is active in the National Association for State Veterans Homes and is a past president of the board. He has held his license as a nursing home administrator since 2001.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan and an associate’s degree in accounting from Bay de Noc Community College.

Grand Rapids Home for Veterans COO Scott Blakeney joined the MVHS team in December. He previously worked for the Michigan Department of Community Health, where he was responsible for marketing, increasing employee engagement, process improvement, property management and various health-related programs. He has also worked with private companies in retail operations, international petroleum marketing and multi-unit restaurant management.

Blakeney earned a bachelor of business administration from Eastern Michigan University.


About the Michigan 

Veteran Health System 

A part of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, MVHS was created to provide veterans of all eras with quality care, modernized medical systems, attractive facilities and recreational activities. MVHS delivers long-term care to more than 600 veterans at its two state-run veterans homes, the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans in Marquette. Learn more at or call 800-MICH-VET (800-642-4838).