65 Physician Leaders of Hospitals and Health Systems

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The following is a list of some of the most recognized physician leaders of acute-care hospitals and health systems.


David Abelson, MD, CEO of Park Nicollet Health Services, St. Louis Park, Minn. Dr. Abelson became chief clinical officer in 2008 and president in June 2009. He led Park Nicollet's integrated medical record initiative. The system was the first in the area to adopt a fully integrated digital medical record in July 2004. Park Nicollet Health Services includes Methodist Hospital and Park Nicollet Clinic.


Richard Afable, MD, president and CEO of Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, Newport Beach, Calif. Dr. Afable runs the 12th largest hospital in California, with 498 beds. Previously, he was executive vice president and chief medical officer at Catholic Health East, which runs 31 acute-care hospitals, and before that, he was founder of Preferred Physician Partners, an Ohio-based physician practice management company that supported physician groups and provider networks.


Steve Allen, MD, CEO of Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Allen joined Nationwide Children's Hospital in July 2006, bringing with him a firm belief in population health and wellness. He is currently overseeing the largest pediatric expansion to date, adding 1.2 million square feet of clinical and research space, including a 12-story main hospital building.


Steven M. Altschuler, MD, president CEO of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Altschuler joined the hospital in 1982 as a fellow in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition and became CEO in 2000. He has clinical and research experience in pediatric medicine and has been an outside director of charitable organizations.


Ron J. Anderson, MD, CEO of Parkland Health and Hospital System, Dallas. Dr. Anderson became CEO of Parkland Health in 1982. He oversees a public system that includes 968-bed Parkland Memorial Hospital. Dr. Anderson continues to teach internal medicine and serves on the board of the American Hospital Association. He also served on the executive committee of the Texas Task Force on Indigent Health Care.


Timothy Babineau, MD, president and CEO of Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, R.I. Before being named to the post in Oct. 2008, Dr. Babineau was chief medical officer at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. Rhode Island Hospital has 719 beds, 6,863 employees and 1,570 physicians on staff. It is the main teaching hospital of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Babineau is a general surgeon by training.


George Brown, MD, president and CEO of Legacy Health System, Portland, Ore. Dr. Brown says healthcare quality is defined as "the rate at which you can repeat a desired outcome successfully." He is a proponent of population health management, saying, "We need to accept the notion of total health accountability and health management for defined populations."


Warren S. Browner, MD, CEO of California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco. Dr. Browner oversees one of the largest private, non-profit, academic medical centers in California. In addition to his work as CEO of this Sutter Health affiliate, he is engaged in research on human longevity and frailty and the association between osteoporosis and other diseases.


John B. Chessare, MD, CEO of Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Dr. Chessare joined the medical center in June 2010 after working as a consultant with regional and national healthcare organizations focusing on operational changes to improve patient flow and patient satisfaction while reducing costs. A pediatrician by training, Dr. Chessare also served as president of Caritas Norwood Hospital, a 264-bed hospital outside of Boston.


Jack Cochran, MD, executive director of the Permanente Federation, Oakland, Calif. Dr. Cochran represents the national interests of the regional Permanente Medical Groups, which employ 15,000 physicians caring for 8.8 million Kaiser Permanente members. Previously he was executive medical director, president and chairman of the board of the Colorado Permanente Medical Group for Kaiser Permanente.


Paul Convery, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer of Baylor Health Care System, Dallas. In this role since 2006, Dr. Convery works with physicians on healthcare improvement initiatives for outcomes improvement, patient safety, health equity, clinical informatics and the unified medical staff process. Baylor has 27 owned, leased or affiliated hospitals and six short-stay hospitals providing surgical services.


Lanny Copeland, MD, chief medical officer of LifePoint Hospitals, Brentwood, Tenn. Before assuming his position in 2007, Dr. Copeland served as vice president for medical affairs at Triad Hospitals in Plano, Texas, and before that he was vice president for primary care development at Phoebe Putney Health Systems in Albany, Ga. LifePoint has 50 hospital campuses in 17 states, with 23,000 employees and 2,500 physician partners.


Toby Cosgrove, MD, president and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic. Since assuming office in 2004, Dr. Cosgrove has focused on quality improvement, improved patient experience and greater transparency and accountability within the organization. He has divided clinical services into patient-centered, organ and disease-based institutes and launched major wellness initiatives for patients, employees and communities. In 2008, he oversaw the completion of more than 4 million square feet of new construction and improvements.


Ralph de la Torre, MD, CEO of Steward Health Care System, Brighton, Mass. Dr. de la Torre had held his current position since May 2008. He founded the Cardiovascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and served as its president and CEO. He is cardiac surgeon with dual graduate degrees from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Victor J. Dzau, MD, CEO of Duke University Health System, Durham, N.C. Dr. Dzau has held his current post since 2004. Previously he was chairman of the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Dr. Dzau's academic interests are in cardiovascular translational research and mission-based education. The system includes Duke Raleigh Hospital, Duke University Hospital and Durham Regional Hospital.


A. Brent Eastman, MD, corporate senior vice president and chief medical officer of Scripps Health, San Diego. As co-chair of the Physician Leadership Cabinet, Dr. Eastman serves as the physician liaison between Scripps and its 2,500 affiliated physicians, ensuring open communication between administrators and clinical professionals. His clinical work in Scripps focuses on trauma care and trauma systems.


Melinda L. Estes, MD, president and CEO of Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, Vt. Dr. Estes assumed her post in 2003. She is a neurologist and neuropathologist with a master's degree in business administration. From 2001-2003, she served as chief executive officer and chair of the board of governors of Cleveland Clinic Florida. Fletcher Allen is an academic health center in partnership with the University of Vermont College of Medicine.


David Feinberg, MD, CEO of UCLA Hospital System, Los Angeles. A psychiatrist, Dr. Feinberg oversees Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital and Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA in Westwood, Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital. The 520-bed Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center was totally rebuilt to conform to the latest California seismic safety requirements and reopened in 2008.


Steven G. Gabbe, MD, CEO of Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio. Before assuming his post in 2008, Dr. Gabbe was dean of Vanderbilt University College of Medicine. Previously he chaired the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Ohio State and the University of Washington Medical Center. The medical center includes a medical school, six hospitals and a unified physician practice.


Patricia Gabow, MD, CEO of Denver Health, Denver. Dr. Gabow has been nationally recognized for her work to increase access to basic healthcare for all Coloradans, especially the underserved. She joined the staff of Denver Health in 1973 as chief of the Renal Division. In March, Denver Health won the Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence, an international award for excellence in operational efficiency.


W. Brian Gibler, MD, president and CEO of University Hospital, Cincinnati. Dr. Gibler took his post in 2010. Since 1995, he has been chair of emergency medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He founded the Heart ER Program at University Hospital and served as its director from 1991 through 1997. The hospital, affiliated with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, has 695 beds.


Joseph Golbus, MD, president of NorthShore University HealthSystem Medical Group, Evanston, Ill. Dr. Golbus, still a practicing rheumatologist, joined NorthShore University HealthSystem in 1988. The medical group, affiliated with a four-hospital system, has more than 550 physicians at about 75 sites. The medical group offers physicians both autonomy and support for key functions such as billing, coding, practice growth and office work flows.

 

Larry J. Goodman, MD, CEO of Rush University Medical Center, Chicago. Dr. Goodman also serves as president of Rush University, president of the Rush System for Health and principal officer of the Rush Board of Trustees. Previously he was senior vice president for medical affairs at Rush and dean of Rush Medical College. Dr. Goodman is currently overseeing the Rush Transformation, a 10-year construction project that includes a 14-story replacement of the main hospital, to open in 2012.


Gary Gottlieb, MD, CEO of Partners HealthCare, Boston. Before assuming his post in Jan. 2010, Dr. Gottlieb served as president of Brigham and Women's and Faulkner Hospitals since 2002. He came to Partners in 1998 as its first chairman of psychiatry and mental health and in 2000 added the role of president of North Shore Medical Center. Partners HealthCare, which also includes Massachusetts General Hospital, is affiliated with Harvard Medical School.


Howard R. Grant, MD, CEO of the Lahey Clinic, Burlington, Mass. An attorney as well as a physician, Dr. Grant has played a vital role in influencing patient safety at Lahey. Previously he was executive vice president and chief medical officer at Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa. Before that, he served in leadership roles at Temple University Health System in Philadelphia.


Robert I. Grossman, MD, CEO of NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, N.Y. Dr. Grossman assumed his post in 2007. He is also dean of the NYU School of Medicine, having joined NYU in 2001 as chairman of the department of radiology. He was previously chief of neuroradiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He is known for his work as a neuroradiologist in developing imaging techniques that have led to important new insights into multiple sclerosis.


Dean A. Gruner, MD, CEO of ThedaCare, Appleton, Wis. Dr. Gruner has served in his post since 2003, overseeing four hospitals and a physicians' group in central Wisconsin. He has served in many leadership positions at ThedaCare and affiliates since it was founded in 1987. Dr. Gruner was also one of the founding physicians of Touchpoint, an insurance plan.


Rodney Hochman, MD, CEO of Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, Wash. Since assuming the position in 2007, Dr. Hochman has set a number of priorities such as implementing a clinical information system, leading a long-term strategic planning process and enhancing key service lines. Before joining Swedish, he was executive vice president of Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk, Va.


Gary Kaplan, MD, chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason Health System, Seattle. Dr. Kaplan has held his position since 2000, overseeing a group practice of more than 440 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital. He has directed deployment of the Toyota Production System for healthcare management, aiming to reduce the high costs of healthcare while improving quality, safety and efficiency.


John Koster, MD, CEO of Providence Health & Services, Renton, Wash. Dr. Koster was formerly executive vice president and chief operating officer of Providence, which operates in Alaska, Washington, Montana, Oregon and California. Prior to that, he was senior vice president of targeted member services at VHA Inc. and served as vice president of Presbyterian Healthcare Services in Albuquerque.


Mark Laney, MD, president and CEO of Heartland Health, St. Joseph, Mo. Dr. Laney oversees a Heartland Regional Medical Center, Heartland Clinic, Heartland Foundation and Community Health Improvement Solutions. He joined Heartland Health in 2009 after serving for 15 years as president of the Cook Children's Physician Network at Cook Children's Health Care System. After he arrived, Heartland Health won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

 

Robert J. Laskowski, MD, president and CEO of Christiana Care Health System, Newark, Del. Dr. Laskowski oversees two acute-care hospitals with 1,100 beds as well as several clinics. Services include cardiac surgery, coronary angioplasty, cancer treatment and women's health services. Before assuming is post at Christiana Care in 2003, he was chief medical officer at Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network in Allentown, Pa., and president and group medical director at Northeast Permanente Medical Group in Hartford, Conn.

 

John McCabe, MD, CEO of Upstate University Hospital, Syracuse, N.Y. Dr. McCabe was the founding chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse. He served as editor of the journal, Resuscitation. The 409-bed teaching hospital is part of Upstate Medical University, formerly SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse.

 

Edward D. Miller, MD, CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore. Dr. Miller became dean of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and vice president for medicine of Johns Hopkins University in 1997. He is an anesthesiologist who has published more than 150 scientific papers and other works on cardiovascular effects of anesthetic drugs and vascular smooth muscle relaxation. In May, he announced he would retire sometime next year.

 

Edward G. Murphy, MD, CEO of Carilion Clinic, Roanoke, Va. Dr. Murphy oversees 600 physicians and eight hospitals. He previously served as executive vice president and COO of Carilion from Jan. 2000-Jan. 2001. Dr. Murphy is also professor of medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, which Carilion recently co-founded with Virginia Tech.

 

Elizabeth G. Nabel, MD, president of Brigham and Women's and Faulkner Hospitals, Boston. Dr. Nabel, a cardiologist, assumed her post in Jan. 2010. She was previously director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health. As a physician-scientist, Dr. Nabel's research has focused on molecular genetics of cardiovascular diseases.

 

Harris M. Nagler, MD, CEO of Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, N.Y. Dr. Nagler also serves as chairman of the department of urology at Beth Israel and is a recognized expert in the field of male infertility. Dr. Nagler is on the board of the Society for the Study of Male Reproduction. Beth Israel serves as the Manhattan Campus for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

 

Robert E. Nesse, MD, CEO of Mayo Health System, Rochester, Minn. Since joining the Mayo Clinic Rochester in 1980, Dr. Nesse has served as residency program director for family practice, vice chair of the family medicine department and president and CEO of Franciscan Skemp Healthcare, a member of the Mayo Health System, in La Crosse, Wis.

 

Stephen Newman, MD, COO of Tenet Healthcare Corp., Dallas. Dr. Newman is responsible for operational oversight of Tenet's acute-care hospitals and its ambulatory surgery centers and diagnostic imaging centers. Before his promotion to COO in Jan. 2007, Dr. Newman served as chief executive officer of Tenet's California operations since 2003.


John H. Noseworthy, MD, CEO of Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Noseworthy, a neurologist, became president and CEO of Mayo Clinic in 2009. He joined Mayo in 1990 and has served in various leadership positions, among them chairman of Mayo's Department of Neurology and vice chairman of its Rochester executive board.


Christopher Olivia, MD,
president and CEO of West Penn Allegheny Health System, Pittsburgh. Dr. Olivia was appointed in 2008, overseeing two tertiary and four community hospitals, serving nearly 79,000 patients. He has helped cultivate effective integration of staff and services within the organization. He previously served as president and CEO of the Cooper Health System in Camden, N.J.


Herbert Pardes, MD, CEO of New York-Presbyterian Health Care System, New York, N.Y. Dr. Pardes is a proponent of academic medicine, children's health education, mental health issues, access to care and information technology in medicine. Before joining the hospital in 1999, he served as vice president for health sciences at Columbia University and dean of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.


David C. Pate, MD, CEO of St. Luke's Health System, Boise, Idaho. Dr. Pate oversees five hospitals as well as regional services and clinics. An attorney as well as a physician, he also serves as hospital director of Blue Cross of Idaho Health Service. Before assuming his CEO post in 2009, he was senior vice president at St. Luke's Episcopal Health System, an unrelated organization in Houston.


Barbara R. Paul, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer of Community Health Systems, Franklin, Tenn. Dr. Paul is responsible for maintaining and enhancing CHS' relationship with affiliated physicians, developing physician leaders, and providing strategic direction to enhance quality of care in 120 CHS-affiliated hospitals. Through its subsidiaries, the company owns, leases or operates 133 hospitals in 29 states, with a total of about 19,500 licensed beds.


Ronald Paulus, MD, CEO of Mission Health System, Asheville, N.C. Before joining the organization in Sept. 2010, Dr. Paulus served as executive vice president for clinical operations at Geisinger Health System. Before that, he was president and CEO of CareScience, a clinical solutions and data analytics provider that aims to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare, now part of Premier healthcare informatics.


Jonathan Perlin, MD, chief medical officer and president of the clinical services group of HCA, Nashville. Dr. Perlin oversees clinical services and initiatives to improve performance at HCA's 163 hospitals and more than 600 outpatient centers and physician practices. He has been implementing electronic health records throughout HCA, raising clinical "core measures" to benchmark levels and leading patient safety programs.


Wright Pinson, MD, CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn. Before becoming CEO, Dr. Pinson was chairman of the medical board at the medical center and chief of staff of 600-bed Vanderbilt Hospital. The medical center also includes a medical school, children's hospital, clinic and cancer center. He is an active clinical researcher and maintains a laboratory for transplantation surgery.


Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, executive vice president for medical affairs at University of Chicago Medical Center. Dr. Polonsky oversees the research and education programs in the biological sciences and medicine and reports directly to the president of the University of Chicago Medical Center. He is a prominent diabetes researcher, physician and educator.


Robert W. Pryor, MD, president and CEO of Scott and White Healthcare, Temple, Texas. Formerly the chief operating officer and chief medical officer of Scott & White, Dr. Pryor has been working in tandem for a year with his predecessor, Alfred B. Knight, MD, who will be retiring soon. Scott & White is a fully integrated, non-profit collaborative health system with 12 hospitals or hospital partners, two nursing facilities and more than 60 clinics.


Patrick J. Quinlan, MD, CEO of Ochsner Health System, New Orleans. In the CEO post since 2001, Dr. Quinlan is responsible for all operations and the strategic growth and development of the health System. Before joining the Ochsner Foundation in 1998, he was chief medical officer of Lovelace Health Systems in Albuquerque, N.M. The flagship hospital, Ochsner Medical Center, outside of New Orleans, has 473 beds.


Paul Ramsey, MD, CEO of UW Medicine, Seattle. Dr. Ramsey is also executive vice president for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Washington. He served as chair of the Department of Medicine until 1997, when he was appointed vice president for medical affairs and dean. Dr. Ramsey oversees three medical centers, a medical school and a large physician practice.


William L. Roper, MD, CEO of UNC Health Care System, Chapel Hill, N.C. Dr. Roper is also dean of the School of Medicine and vice chancellor for medical affairs. He is also professor of pediatrics in the school of medicine and professor of health policy and administration at UNC School of Public Health. Dr. Roper served as a senior healthcare policy advisor for President George H.W. Bush.


Lee B. Sacks, MD, CEO of Advocate Physician Partners, Oak Brook, Ill. Dr. Sachs has held the post since 1997. His duties include negotiating managed care contracts and enhancing medical management for eight physician-hospital organizations. In his other roles as chief medical officer for Advocate since 1995, he is responsible for health outcomes, information systems, research and medical education.


Steven M. Safyer, MD, CEO of Montefiore Medical Center, New York, N.Y. Dr. Safyer has held a string of leadership positions at Montefiore since 1995. As CEO since 2008, he has led the implementation of Montefiore's patient care and quality initiatives. He oversees a system of four hospitals with a total of 1,491 beds. In addition, faculty practices at Montefiore provide more than 1.1 million office visits a year.


Joseph A. Scopelliti, MD, co-CEO for Medical Affairs, Guthrie Health, Sayre, Pa. Dr. Scopelliti, a gastroenterologist by training, is also president & CEO of 260-physician Guthrie Clinic. Guthrie Health includes 238-bed Robert Packer Hospital and 32-bed Troy Community Hospital. Previously he served as medical director of the Guthrie Clinic and Robert Packer Hospital, vice president of medical affairs for the clinic and chairman of the clinic management team.


Peter L. Slavin, MD, president of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. Slavin, an internist, assumed his post in 2003. From 1999–2002 he was chairman and CEO of the Massachusetts General Physicians Organization. From 1997–1999, he was president of Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Massachusetts General, with 900 beds, is the major teaching hospital of Harvard University and has one of the largest hospital-based research budgets in the world.

 

Charles W. Sorenson, MD, CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City. Dr. Sorenson served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Intermountain from 1998 until he assumed his current position in Jan. 2009. He oversees 23 hospitals, about 700 employed physicians and managed care plans with 500,000 covered lives.


Glenn Steele Jr., MD, CEO of Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa. Dr. Steele, a surgeon and oncologist, assumed his current post five years ago, after Geisinger's failed merger with Penn State Hershey Medical Center. This physician-led health system, with four hospitals, has been using an electronic health record for 10 years. In Feb. 2006, Geisinger launched ProvenCare, which features a fixed-price mechanism for certain procedures, a strict reliance on evidence-based medicine and use of patient engagement.


Paul Summerside, MD, board member of Aurora Baycare Medical Center, Green Bay, Wis. Dr. Summerside, an emergency physician, also serves as director of wellness at BayCare Sports Medicine and chairman of medical education at the University of Wisconsin affiliated medical school program in Green Bay. The 167-bed Aurora BayCare Medical Center was recently the first U.S. hospital to be recognized as an emergency center of excellence by Emergency Excellence.

 

Ronald W. Swinfard, MD, CEO of Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown, Penn. Dr. Swinfard served as chief medical officer of the network since 2003 and became CEO in Nov. 2010. He said he would focus the hospital's efforts on improving patient health behaviors, keeping a close watch on readmissions and hospital infections and maintaining the network's role as a community healthcare provider.


Nick Turkal, MD, president and CEO of Aurora Health Care, Milwaukee. Dr. Turkal joined Aurora Health Care in 1987 as a faculty member in one of its family practice residency programs. Since then he has served as vice president of academic affairs as well as senior vice president and chief medical officer, where he led development and implementation of best practices in clinical improvement and disease management. As former president of Aurora's metro region, he oversaw operations in the Milwaukee area.


Karl J. Ulrich, MD, president of the Marshfield (Wis.) Clinic. Dr. Ulrich joined Marshfield Clinic in 1995 and chaired its psychiatry department from 1997-1999. He oversees a system of 54 clinic locations and two hospitals in central, western and northern Wisconsin. Dr. Ulrich testified before Congressional committees planning the healthcare reform law in 2009.


Paul K. Whelton, MD, CEO of Loyola University Health System, Chicago. Dr. Whelton assumed the post 2006. Previously he was senior vice president for health sciences at the Tulane University Health Sciences Center as well as dean of the Tulane University School of Medicine. A native of Cork City, Ireland, Dr. Whelton is an epidemiologist.


Suzanne R. White, MD, chief medical officer and executive vice president of the Detroit Medical Center. Starting as an emergency medicine resident at Detroit Receiving Hospital, Dr. White has been with DMC for 22 years. She was named to her current post in Jan. 2011. Previously she was executive vice president and chief medical officer of the medical center.


Nicholas Wolter, MD, CEO of Billings (Mont.) Clinic. Dr. Wolter has been CEO of Billings Clinic since 1997. It is an integrated healthcare organization with more than 230 physicians, more than 60 physician assistants and nurse practitioners, and a 272-bed hospital. In 1993, Dr. Wolter helped guide the merger of Billings Clinic with Deaconess Hospital, becoming the new system's medical executive officer. Dr. Wolter has also served as a commissioner of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.

 

A previous version of this story incorrectly listed Gregory Simone, MD, as president and CEO of WellStar Health System. He left Wellstar in Sept. 2010. We apologize for this error.

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