Rising Stars: 25 Healthcare Leaders Under Age 40

Share on Facebook
Here are 25 leaders of hospitals and healthcare systems under the age of 40.

Barry "Skipper" Bondurant, CEO of Baptist Memorial Hospital–Tipton (Covington, Tenn.).
Mr. Bondurant, 35, joined Baptist Memorial Hospital–Tipton in 2008, as administrator and CEO. He previously served as assistant administrator at Baptist Union City (Tenn.) and, before that, as director of wellness and cardiovascular rehabilitation for Baptist Memorial Hospital–Blytheville, Ark., now Great River Medical Center. Mr. Bondurant earned his MBA from Union University.

Damond Boatwright, CEO of Lee's Summit (Mo.) Medical Center.
Mr. Boatwright, now 38, became CEO of Lee's Summit Medical Center, an HCA hospital, in Nov. 2007. He previously served as COO of Henrico Doctors' Hospital, a 548-bed HCA operation in Richmond, Va. According to a interview in the Kansas City Business Journal, Mr. Boatwright recently led the hospital through the opening of a stroke clinic, as well as the development of a "nurse navigator" role that ensures even short-term patients receive a follow-up call. According to colleagues, Mr. Boatwright is the kind of CEO to walk the hospital halls, seeking out input and developing relationships with his staff.

Shane Brophy, chief strategy officer of Phoenix (Ariz.) Children's Hospital. Mr. Brophy, 38, first joined Phoenix Children's Hospital in 2001 as a strategic planning consultant on the hospital's turnaround team. After leading the hospital through the development of its first formal strategic plan as a free-standing children's hospital, he was named director of strategic planning. He also served as interim CFO and then vice president and chief strategy officer — his current position. According to a colleague, Mr. Brophy has been instrumental in the $588 million expansion of Phoenix Children's Hospital, which will open its brand-new 11-story patient tower in 2011 and thus be positioned as one of the nation's largest children's hospitals. In his current role, he is responsible for strategic planning, business development, government relations, marketing and communications and service-line business operations. Mr. Brophy is a graduate of Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, N.H.

Jim Brown, CEO of Memorial Hermann Sugar Land (Texas) Hospital. Mr. Brown, 35, has served as CEO of Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital since June 2007. During his tenure, the facility has enjoyed steady growth and expanded service lines in a highly competitive market. The hospital has also achieved financial stability, established high scores in patient satisfaction and reported physician satisfaction at the 94th percentile nationally. Prior to his work with Memorial Hermann Sugar Land, Mr. Brown served as COO of Doctors Hospital of Dallas, COO of Lea Regional Medical Center in Hobbs, N.M., and vice president of CHRISTUS St. Joseph's Health System in Paris, Texas. Mr. Brown holds a master's degree in healthcare administration from Trinity University.

Steven Burghart, COO of Good Samaritan Medical Center (West Palm Beach, Fla.). Mr. Burghart, 36, was appointed COO of Good Samaritan Medical Center in Dec. 2010. In his new role, he will oversee the day-to-day operations of the 333-bed acute-care hospital. Prior to joining Good Samaritan, Mr. Burghart served as COO of Hialeah (Fla.) Hospital  and as associate administrator of St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. At St. Mary's, he was responsible for operations of key ancillary support departments, as well as physician departments including neurosurgery, cardiology and psychiatry. Mr. Burghart has also served as corporate director of operations excellence for Tenet Healthcare Corp., as well as regional team leader of the company's Commitment to Quality and Target 100 quality initiatives. Regarding Mr. Burghart's appointment to the position at Good Samaritan, CEO Mark Nosacka said, "While leading Tenet's Commitment to Quality team in 2005, Steven Burghart had an opportunity to work with Good Samaritan Medical Center and we proudly welcome him back as an active member of our administrative team. He shares our commitment to Good Samaritan Medical Center's tradition of providing high quality healthcare to our patients."

Jason DeSantis, division CIO of University Hospitals (Cleveland, Ohio). Jason DeSantis, now 33, serves as division chief information officer of University Hospitals. In addition to his IT leadership role with the hospital system, he serves on a CMS advisory board helping set direction for meaningful use implementation — specifically the attestation and incentive payment processes. Mr. DeSantis also serves on the Healthcare Industry Strategy Council for Oracle Corporation, helping to guide their application development and technology strategy as it relates to the healthcare industry. Lastly, he serves on an internal University Hospitals team responsible for implementing the system's ACO model for its employee and eligible dependent population. The ACO model will go into effect Jan. 1, 2011, and will continue to evolve as the ACO CMS regulations are published.

Josh DeTillo, COO of St. Mary's Medical Center (West Palm Beach, Fla.).
In March 2010, the St. Mary's Medical Center administrative team chose its newest member — 35-year-old COO Josh DeTillo. In his new role, Mr. DeTillo is responsible for managing the operations of the 463-bed acute-care hospital, which lists departments and services such as a comprehensive stroke center, trauma, high-risk OB and an 81-bed children's hospital. Prior to joining St. Mary's, Mr. DeTillo was COO of North Shore Medical Center in Miami, a 357-bed acute-care hospital that, under Mr. DeTillo's guidance, achieved Tenet's Circle of Excellence in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Mr. DeTillo has previously served as associate administrator of Aventura Hospital and Medical Center and as an administrative fellow at Cedars Medical Center (now University of Miami Hospital).

Alex Fernandez, CFO of North Shore Medical Center (Miami, Fla.).
In his present role as CFO of North Shore Medical Center, Alex Fernandez, 30, is responsible for promoting the hospital's mission and executing its strategic plan. He oversees the overall financial operations of the acute-care hospital, including budgetary, tax, accounting and other financial planning activities. He has worked with Tenet hospitals for the last eight years, contributing his experience with healthcare accounting and finance to the ongoing health of the institution. Prior to joining North Shore, Mr. Fernandez worked as assistant controller of Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach — and, before that, as a staff accountant at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach. He received his MBA from Florida Atlantic University and currently is a member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Gabrielle Finley-Hazle, COO of North Shore Medical Center FMC Campus (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.). With over 10 years of healthcare leadership experience, Ms. Finley Hazle, 33, is responsible for the daily operations of a broad range of medical, surgical and ancillary services at North Shore Medical Center FMC Campus. Prior to joining the FMC Campus, Ms. Finley-Hazle served as CEO and COO of a large multi-specialty physician group in Broward County. She has also held several positions at the North Broward Hospital District, including associate administrator at Broward General Medical Center and administrative officer of health services integration at Broward Health's Corporate Headquarters. Ms. Finley-Hazle earned her MHA from Cornell University.

Dustin Greene, COO of Emory Eastside Medical Center (Snellville, Ga.). At 31 years old, Dustin Greene is the youngest hospital COO in Georgia. He became COO of Emory Eastside in 2008 and currently takes responsibility for operations of the medical center, which includes more than 400 physicians and 1,500 staff. Mr. Greene began his career with HCA, Emory Eastside's parent company, on the accounting and finance side. In an interview with Atlanta Business Chronicle, Mr. Greene said he eventually felt "pigeonholed" into working on financial issues and cold-called former Georgia division president Michael Joyce to ask for a shot at operations. He also said he expects rapid growth from Emory Eastside, following a substantial inpatient admission rate of 7 percent in 2008. Prior to his current role, Mr. Greene served as associate administrator at Emory Eastside and Northlake Medical Center in Tucker, Ga.

Kevin Joseph, MD, president and CEO of UC Health West Chester (Ohio) Hospital. Dr. Kevin Joseph, 36, served as interim president and CEO for West Chester Hospital for five months before officially assuming the position in Sept. 2010. He was the first physician involved in the hospital in 2008 before it opened in 2009 and served as medical director of the hospital's emergency department until this year. He still practices one day a week. Dr. Joseph is currently focused on implementing an approach to involve hospital leadership in patient care, allocating a few hours each day for interaction with patients. "Something I'm really focused on, and the team's really focused on, is delivering quality, evidence-based medicine," he told the Journal News.

Ben Koppelman, CEO of St. Joseph's Area Health Services (Park Rapids, Minn.).
Mr. Koppelman, now 37, serves as president and CEO of 25-bed St. Joseph's Area Health Services. The executive was only 22 — a recent college graduate — when he was hired as administrator of Albany (Minn.) Area Hospital and Medical Center and tasked with turning around the financially troubled facility. He took the hospital from an annual loss of $100,000 to a 13 percent operating margin in five years, while the hospital's patient satisfaction scores shot up. He arrived at St. Joseph's in 2007 and has since helped with the completion of a major expansion and renovation project and the promotion of numerous quality initiatives. He has also promoted healthy communities through working with a local youth drug and alcohol task force to develop education and intervention in the school and the community to reduce youth substance abuse.

Michael K. Lauf, president and CEO of Cape Cod Healthcare (Hyannis, Mass.). Mr. Lauf was named president and CEO of the Cape Cod Healthcare system in Dec. 2010, making permanent his previous role as acting president and CEO. With his new appointment, Mr. Lauf became the fourth CEO of the 13-year-old system that operates Cape Cod Hospital, Falmouth Hospital and other healthcare entities on Cape Cod. Prior to assuming the position of acting president and CEO, Mr. Lauf served as the system's COO since July 2008. He has also served as COO of Bristol (Tenn.) Regional Medical Center and as president and CEO of Miners Medical Center in Pennsylvania, part of Conemaugh Health System. "We are fortunate to have an executive of Mr. Lauf's caliber and experience," said Thomas Wroe, Jr., chairman of the CCHC board of trustees upon Mr. Lauf's appointment to system leader. "Over the past two-and-a-half years, he has established a strong track record of working closely with physicians and staff to enhance patient care and to dramatically improve clinical, operational and financial performance."

Haru Okuda, MD, assistant vice president of New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. In his current role, Mr. Okuda, 38, — one of Crain's New York Business' top "40 Under 40" for 2010 — is assisting with  new training tools to Health and Hospital Corp.'s 11 acute-care facilities. A number of computerized medical mannequins are more lifelike and responsive to a trainee's treatment, allowing current physicians, nurses and other clinical staff to hone their skills without using real patients. Dr. Okuda has been named the director of a $10 million medical simulation training center located in the Bronx, an endeavor officials hope will reduce the frequency of medical error and improve care. Dr. Okuda attended Brown University and New York Medical College.

Adar Palis, vice president of administration and CIO of Harrison Medical Center (Bremerton, Wash.).
Adar Palis, 32, joined Harrison Medical Center in 2002 as a network engineer and was later named CIO of the hospital in 2005, becoming the organization's youngest executive at age 27. He quickly initiated significant changes at the hospital, such as establishing a more customer-focused IT department, constructing a state-of-the-art data center, installing a new network infrastructure to include remote campuses digitizing X-rays and introducing free wireless across Harrison campuses. Mr. Palis has spearheaded a multi-year project to implement a $30.5 million electronic medical record across all Harrison campuses. After three years, the project is three-quarters complete, with bedside medication bar-coding and computerized physician order entry on tap for 2011. As part of his continuing efforts to implement electronic health record technology, Mr. Palis will lead the rollout of a community-wide HIE in early 2011. Mr. Palis graduated magna cum laude from Seattle Pacific University and holds six Microsoft technical certifications.

Isaac Palmer, COO of Florida Hospital Heartland Division (Sebring, Fla.).
Mr. Palmer, 34, was named COO of three-hospital Florida Hospital Heartland Division in 2007, after serving as CEO of Adventist Bolingbrook (Ill.) Hospital. "One of Isaac's greatest strengths is that he doesn't profess to know everything," former head of Adventist's Midwest region Ernie Sadau told Chicago Business. "He never stops asking questions." Upon Mr. Palmer's move to Florida Hospital Heartland Division from Adventist Bolingbrook, CEO of Hinsdale-based Adventist Midwest Health David L. Crane praised Mr. Palmer's hard work and success in planning and opening Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital.

Carrie O. Plietz, COO of Sutter Medical Center (Sacramento, Calif.). The 34-year-old Ms. Plietz is the 2010 recipient of the Robert S. Hudgens Memorial Award for Young Healthcare Executive of the Year, given by the American College of Healthcare Executives. She currently serves as COO at Sutter Medical Center a Sutter Health affiliate in Sacramento, Calif., Before joining SMC on Dec. 27, 2010, Ms. Plietz served as COO of Mills-Peninsula Health Services, a system that implemented an EMR and continued the development of a 241-bed replacement hospital during her 27-month tenure. Before joining Mills-Peninsula in Aug. 2008, Ms. Plietz spent nine years with California Pacific in San Francisco, starting as an administrative resident and moving to assistant administrator, compliance office, vice president of clinical services and eventually chief administrative officer for the Pacific campus and vice president of operations for specialty services.

Kimberly Russo, COO of The George Washington University Hospital (Washington, D.C.). Ms. Russo, 39, became COO of The George Washington University Hospital effective April 1, 2009, before which she served the hospital as associate administrator since Aug. 2004. She holds more than 11 years of clinical and operational experience and holds a master's of science in speech language pathology from Rush University in Chicago, Ill. According to a report in the Washington Business Journal, Ms. Russo has worked hard to expand service lines and increase profits at the 371-bed hospital, which serves 145,000 patients annually. She described her leadership style as "clearly [communicating] expectations of driving and being committed to excellence," among other qualities. Ms. Russo earned her MBA with a focus on executive leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Jennifer Sinclair, CFO of St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson (Miss.).
Ms. Sinclair was named to the Mississippi Business Journal's "Top 40 Under 40" executive list in April 2006, an honor that made mention of her two greatest strengths: intelligence and drive. In an interview, Paul Airington, vice president of business development at St. Dominic, said, "Jennifer is very focused and works diligently to accomplish what she's good at. Her gifts and ability were evident when she was a college student. [She] worked full-time as an accounts payable manager … while taking classes four nights a week, and still managed to earn her degree in three years." Ms. Sinclair joined St. Dominic from River Oaks Health System in Flowood, Miss., a 22-bed, two-hospital system where she served as director of accounting. She joined St. Dominic in 2001 as controller and then vice president before assuming the role of CFO.

Matt Sogard, COO of The Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children (Denver, Colo.).
As COO of HealthONE's Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center, Mr. Sogard assumes responsibility for planning and oversight of capital construction projects, including the construction of the new children's facility on the P/SL campus, management of perioperative services and food and nutrition services and environmental services. Prior to joining HealthONE, he worked at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics in Iowa City. According to Jeff Dorsey, HealthONE President/CEO, Mr. Sogard is a talented leader who brings fresh insight and enthusiasm to this new role with RMHC. He is known for his collaborative style with physicians and nurses and ability to solve complex issues with clear communication and an open, positive style.

David Stark, president and COO of Blank Children's Hospital (Des Moines, Iowa). Mr. Stark, 39, currently serves as president and COO of Blank Children's Hospital and executive vice president for Iowa Health–Des Moines. He serves on the American Heart Association Board and on the executive committee of the Iowa Association of Healthcare Leaders. According to a colleague, "Mr. Stark is an amazing leader, and there's not a person on his staff who doesn't think highly of him. He is an incredible individual that our community and hospital system is fortunate to have." Mr. Stark holds a master's degree from the University of Iowa, and he is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.  

Jennifer Swenson, president of Fort Hamilton (Ohio) Hospital. Fort Hamilton, the ninth hospital member of Kettering Health Network in Dayton, Ohio, named Jennifer Swenson, 39, its new president on Nov. 19, 2010. Ms. Swenson joined the hospital with 17 years of experience in healthcare finance and administration, having previously served as COO and vice president of finance at St. Helena Hospital Clearlake in California. Fred Manchur, president and COO of Kettering Health Network, called Ms. Swenson the "clear choice" for Kettering "because of her proven ability to energize a wide variety of teams to attain exceptional clinical outcomes, outstanding patient satisfaction marks and strong financial performance" in a system news release.

Winjie Tang Miao, president of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital (Azle, Texas). Ms. Miao, 29, joined Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital as its president in 2007, having worked for Texas Health Resources since 2000. Ms. Miao began her career with the hospital system at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where she worked as an administrative resident, administrative fellow and interim director of digestive diseases and women's specialty services. She has also directed the hospital's women's and children's clinics. Ms. Miao received a Texas Health Mosaic Pin award in 2001, an honor that recognizes outstanding support of diversity in the workplace and community. Ms. Miao received her bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University and a master's degree in healthcare administration from the University of North Carolina.

Nathan Tudor, CEO of Otto Kaiser Memorial Hospital (Kenedy, Texas).
Nathan Tudor, 31, joined Otto Kaiser Memorial Hospital as CEO in Sept. 2010, having previously served as CEO of 20-bed Stonewall Memorial Hospital in Aspermont, Texas. During his 16 months at Stonewall, Mr. Tudor was invaluable in establishing a regional health information system with three other community hospitals to improve care delivery. "Rural hospitals often struggle to keep up with technology implementations, but we realized we could band together to improve care for all the patients in this area of Texas," Mr. Tudor said in an interview with Breitbart. "By working together, we are able to overcome some of the obstacles that have traditionally stood in the way of implementing electronic medical records." Mr. Tudor also led Stonewall in implementing 52 new policies on safety and compliance issues, including diabetes management in the hospital's patient population. "I've had a lot of great mentors in healthcare," he said in an interview with HCE Exchange. "But one of the things I was told early on that has stuck with me is that the first priority is to take care of your patients. Everything else can wait [until] morning."

Faraaz Yousuf, COO of Good Samaritan Hospital (San Jose, Calif.).
At 34, Mr. Yousuf is the youngest COO in HCA's top tier of hospitals. Between the ages of 25 and 30, he oversaw $2.5 billion in facility development working on capital projects in the Western Group of HCA. As director of planning in the same group, he was part of the first team to evaluate how to re-establish healthcare services at Tulane and other HCA facilities in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he also received a master's degree in healthcare administration. During his time working for a different healthcare system, he was part of a team that provided support local hospital response to the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.

Please contact Rachel Fields at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2012. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.