Meet the Hospital Administrators

Rob Calhoun, President and Chief Executive Officer
Rob Calhoun, MHA is the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for West Jefferson Medical Center. He comes to West Jefferson with more than 16 years of healthcare leadership experience. He began his healthcare career as an administrative resident at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina. He went on to serve in numerous leadership positions, including his most recent appointment as Chief Executive Officer of Merit Health Biloxi in Mississippi. In that role he successfully led the recruitment of 25 new providers to join the medical staff while decreasing nursing turnover by 21 percent. He also spearheaded many initiatives that led to improved access, increased physician and employee engagement, and zero serious safety events within a two-year span. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Clemson University, and a Master of Health Administration from Medical University of South Carolina. His little something extra is taking the time to get to know his hospital family.


Robert (Eli) SmithRobert (Eli) Smith, Chief Operating Officer
Eli Smith, MBA is the Chief Operating Officer for West Jefferson Medical Center. Eli is an accomplished healthcare executive and comes to West Jefferson with more than 20 years of experience in overseeing hospital operations, physician recruitment and strategic planning for many hospitals and health systems across the country. He most recently served as Chief Strategy Officer for LCMC Health’s Adult Hospital Market, after serving as Vice President of Business Development at University Medical Center New Orleans. In his previous roles, he was responsible for leading operational improvement efforts and consolidating physician practice management functions to enhance the patient experience. Prior to joining University Medical Center, Eli served in multiple leadership roles including the Carle Physician Group in Champaign-Urbana Illinois, the Saint Francis Health System in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the CHRISTUS Spohn Health System based in Corpus Christi, Texas. Most recently, he served as Vice President-Primary Care and Medical Specialties for the Carle Physician Group where he led the clinical and budgetary operations of Carle Physician Group’s Champaign-Urbana-based primary care and medical specialty clinic site(s)—a $255 million enterprise—comprised of 250 physicians and 75 advanced practitioners. Eli holds a Master of Business Administration from Oklahoma State University and Bachelor’s Degree in Corporate Communication from The University of Texas at Austin. He serves on the Board of Directors for the New Orleans Chamber of Commerce and LCMC Health Urgent Care. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Jay PennissonJay Pennisson, Chief Financial Officer
Jay joins us as an accomplished healthcare executive with more than 20 years of experience in financial oversight of healthcare systems and facilities across the country. He most recently served as Group Chief Financial Officer for Brookwood Baptist Health System and Chief Financial Officer of Brookwood Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama. In his previous roles, Jay was responsible for leading strategic financial planning and implementing revenue cycle related initiatives to improve the financial performance of multiple organizations. Jay earned his Master of Business Administration from Tulane University, A. B. Freeman School of Business and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Louisiana State University. He is an active member of Healthcare Financial Management Association and is a Certified Healthcare Financial Professional honored by the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Robert Chugden, M.D., Chief Medical Officer wjmcRobert Chugden, MD, Chief Medical Officer
As Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Robert Chugden ensures patients receive the highest quality treatment possible by hiring, evaluating and training new physicians. He works closely with physicians, nurses and staff to create and enforce clinical guidelines that help make the Medical Center’s healthcare delivery run smoothly, and he acts as a liaison between the medical staff and the hospital’s executives. For more than 30 years, Dr. Chudgen, board-certified in emergency medicine, has served as an ER physician for West Jefferson Medical Center and as the ER’s Medical Director for 18 years. In addition, he has held various positions with the hospital’s medical committees. Prior to joining West Jefferson, Dr. Chugden was an ER physician at Charity Hospital, St. Jude Medical Center and Hotel Dieu Hospital. He also served as clinical assistant professor of medicine at LSU School of Medicine. Dr. Chugden received his medical degree from LSU and completed his general surgeon residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.


Monica Bologna, Chief Nursing Officer
As Chief Nursing Officer, Monica Bologna’s primary role consists of providing strategic and operational leadership to the Nursing Department, while assisting the Medical Center to maintain and advance cost-effective quality care and patient satisfaction. Prior to being promoted to this position, Monica was the Vice President of Inpatient and Outpatient Medical Surgical Services for West Jefferson Medical Center. She has been part of the West Jefferson family for nearly a decade. A registered nurse for 20 years, Monica has a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from William Carey College and her Master’s in Heath Systems Administration from Loyola University. She resides on the West Bank and since 2008 has served in various nursing leadership roles at West Jefferson. Monica’s background includes critical care in the area of cardiac services and cardiothoracic surgery. For several years, Monica has been part of the Medical Center’s senior leadership and has worked closely with staff and members of the medical staff across the organization.


Dean Roy, Vice President of Physician ServicesDean Roy, Vice President of Physician Services
As Vice President of Physician Services, Dean Roy’s primary role consists of providing strategic and operational leadership to the Physician Clinics, while working with the rest of the executive team to develop partnerships to further the mission of the hospital. Prior to being promoted to this position, Dean led several areas of the organization including Decision Support, Marketing and several outpatient departments. He has been part of the West Jefferson family for over 7 years. While a native of Belle Chasse, Dean received his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Georgia and his Master’s in Business Administration with a focus on Healthcare Leadership from Yale University. Dean resides in the Lakeview neighborhood with his wife and three children – all born at West Jefferson Medical Center.


Darlene Gondrella, VP of QualityDarlene Gondrella, VP of Quality
Darlene, CPHQ has over 26 years of nursing experience and has spent the last 10 years over Quality, Risk Management and Infection Prevention. Over the course of her 20-year career at West Jefferson Medical Center, she has managed departments such as Case Management, Guest Services and Patient Experience, and Nurse Education. She loves her work family and was honored to be chosen as a New Orleans CityBusiness Healthcare Hero in 2006. Darlene received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from LSU School of Nursing and is a Certified Case Manager, and Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality. Darlene lives with her wonderful husband and son, who was born at West Jefferson.