Our Team

Robert Lerma, MS


Robert Lerma, MS – CEO
[email protected]

Robert joined Austin Lakes Hospital in 2013 as the Director of Business Development. Prior to coming to Austin Lakes, Robert worked in Schizophrenia/Bipolar research, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. He has a Bachelor’s from California State University and a Master’s in Clinical Psychology from California Lutheran University. Prior to relocating to Austin, he worked as a law enforcement officer and with a residential treatment center for youth in California. He is a member of the American Psychological Association, American College of Healthcare Executives, Texas Psychological Association, Capital Area Psychological Association and Capital of Texas Counseling Association. He is also a member of the Austin/Travis County Crisis Services Implementation Committee, Austin/Travis County Mental Health Court, Williamson County Crisis Intervention Committee, Williamson County Mental Health Task Force, Hill Country Crisis Intervention Committee, Highland Lakes Suicide Prevention Committee and Burnet County Crisis Intervention Committee

Vanajakshi Paturu, M.D.

Medical Director of Psychiatric General Services

Dr. Vanajakshi Paturu began her career as a practitioner in general medicine and an instructor in the Dept of Pharmacology at Siddhartha Medical College University of Health Sciences & Research Institute in India. While earning her medical degree, Dr. Paturu also received a distinctive National Merit Scholarship. Her outstanding achievements have been noted in both her academic and professional endeavors working with adult and geriatric populations.

After moving to the United States, she performed research for Beth Israel Medical Center in NJ. Dr. Paturu then completed her residency in psychiatry at Bergen Regional Medical Center in NJ, and a fellowship in geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in NY. Dr. Paturu is Board Certified. Dr. Paturu joins Austin Lakes Hospital after being in private practice since 2001 and working in various health care settings.

Shiva K. Lam, M.D.

Executive Medical Director & Clinical Director for Adult Services

Dr. Shiva Lam graduated from Gandhi Medical College in Hydeabad, India with his Medical Degree. He completed his residency and fellowship at Austin State Hospital. Dr. Lam was awarded the Capital Area Mental Health Center Award for his outstanding service to the Austin Mental Health community. He has supervised Psychiatry Residents from the Austin Psychiatry Residence program since 1999 and also provides psychiatric services to a wide range of individuals.

Dr. Lam is a Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist, Board Certified in Psychiatry and has been an Attending Psychiatrist with St. David's Pavilion since 1998. Dr. Lam is now the Executive Medical Director of Austin Lakes Hospital.

Dr. Hatem Nour, MD

Medical Director of Psychiatric General Services

Dr. Hatem Nour, MD is the Medical Director of Psychiatric General Services at Austin Lakes Hospital.

Gregory Wysocki


Greg Wysocki – Controller
[email protected]

Greg is a graduate of the University of Texas-Austin with a degree in Accounting and is a CPA licensed in Texas.   He has over 15 years of healthcare finance and accounting experience.  In addition to his finance and accounting background, Greg’s healthcare experience includes oversight of dietary, housekeeping and plant operations/maintenance.


Dan B. Smith, B.A.

Human Resources Director

Dan Smith – Human Resources Director
[email protected]

Dan has worked in behavioral health since the 1970s, initially as a Mental Health Worker and Center Supervisor.  He received his degree from Southwest Texas State University in 1976. In 1983 he began his career in Human Resources and has served with various behavioral health facilities and corporations at the director level since 1985.  In 2007, after a 14-month Human Resources/Management Consultant adventure working with a Department of Defense contractor in multiple locations in Iraq, he returned to behavioral health, participating in the opening of Austin Lakes Hospital.

Heather Hill

Director of Risk Management/PI

Heather Hill – Director of Risk Management/PI
[email protected]

Heather joined Austin Lakes Hospital in 2009 and currently serves as the Performance Improvement and Risk Management Director. She earned her Bachelor’s from Texas State University in Recreation Administration her Master’s in Business Administration, with emphasis on Organizational Development, from Concordia University. She most recent volunteer work has included working as a Business Consultant for Alerosoft, LLC; as well as working for The Johnson Center for Child Health and Development as a website analyst.


Julie Cooper, CCA

Director of Medical Records

Julie Cooper – Director of Medical Records
[email protected]

Julie joined Austin Lakes Hospital in 2011 and currently serves as the Director of Medical Records.  Prior to coming to Austin Lakes, Julie worked for a multi-physician private practice managing medical records and for a durable medical equipment company handling Medicare appeals.  She has 11 years experience in the medical field and completed her Certificate of Medical Coding at Austin Community College in 2006.  Julie is a Certified Coding Associate through the American Health Information Management Association since 2007.  She began her career with Austin Lakes Hospital as a medical coder before becoming the Director in 2013.

Rocio Avila, LMSW

Director of Clinical Services

Rocio joined Austin Lakes Hospital in 2014 and currently serves as Director of Outpatient Services. Rocio earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work from Texas State University- San Marcos, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. Prior to joining Austin Lakes Rocio worked as a medical social worker in the acute inpatient medical setting for 5 years. She previously worked for Lakeway Regional Medical Center and South Austin Medical Center. While at Lakeway Regional Medical Center she assisted with community education about mental health and mental health services. While at South Austin Medical Center she was a member of the bioethics committee.  She has experience in case management, dealing with grief and loss, crisis intervention, end of life, mother/ baby, and acute psychiatric intervention and discharge planning.

Miriam “Mimi” Nelson, RN, BSN

Director of Utilization Review

Mimi joined Austin Lakes Hospital in January 2013. She graduated from the University of Texas School of Nursing in Houston, Texas. She has worked as a psychiatric nurse in multiple Texas and California  facilities, ranging from a methadone clinic, chemical dependency units, intensive care units and inpatient psychiatric units with children, adolescent and adults. Additionally, she has worked as a charge nurse, house supervisor, nursing manager and Director of Nursing.  Mimi’s current role involves oversight over clinical care coordination of patients, ensuring medical necessity criteria is met.

Shawnetta Duncan, RN, MBA

Chief Nursing Officer

Shawn joined Austin Lakes Hospital in March 2017 as Chief Nursing Officer, having been at other UHS hospitals since 2010. Shawn completed her Associate’s in Nursing at Arkansas State University, Bachelor’s in Nursing at University of Central Arkansas and Master’s in Business Administration, with emphasis in Healthcare Administration at Harding University. Shawn has experience in various healthcare settings. including Med-Surg, Orthopedics, Pre-Operative and Post-Operative, nurse educator, rehabilitation, behavioral health, military, quality control and infection prevention. Shawn is a member of American Psychiatric Nurses Association and Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. Shawn’s work has been highlighted in the community, as well as as publications on behalf of Nursing and Business.

Sarah Edwards, LCSW-S

Director of Admissions

Sarah Edwards joined Austin Lakes Hospital in 2018. Prior to joining the team, Sarah was the Program Manager for Psychiatric Emergency Services at Integral Care. In this capacity, she managed the 24/7 operations, crisis hotline and associated grants and contracts. Sarah spent years as a mobile crisis responder in Travis County, has worked in a local emergency department and also volunteered as a member of a sexual assault response team; all of which highlights her passion for the crisis services continuum of care. Sarah enjoys teaching and is certified as an instructor for Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid. Sarah earned her Bachelor’s and Master's degree in Social Work from Texas State University and is licensed as a clinical social work supervisor.

Benjamin Richardson

Director of Plant Operations

Ben Richardson is graduate of the University of North Texas with a degree in Emergency Administration and Community Planning with a minor in Spanish Literature. Ben has been in health care for 13 years starting out as a Fleet Marine Force Naval Corpsman serving with the United States Marine Corps. Following the military Ben worked as a clinician in the Emergency Department for 6 years until he made the transition to Safety and Plant Operations. He is currently a Board certified health care emergency professional.

Courtney Stokes, MBA

Director of Business Development




Jerry Cypert II, LPC, LCDC

Director of Outpatient Services