CEO James Elrod: The Nation's Longest-Tenured Hospital Administrator

James Elrod, FACHE, has served as president and CEO of Willis-Knighton Health System in Shreveport, La., since 1965, making him the longest-tenured hospital administrator in the nation.

When Mr. Elrod joined Willis-Knighton as a 27 year old, it was a struggling 66-bed hospital. Since then, he has completely transformed the organization into a flourishing system comprised of the original hospital and three satellite hospitals. Additionally, Mr. Elrod has built a strong network of 350 employed physicians, a hospital-owned HMO and Louisiana's largest retirement community, The Oaks of Louisiana.

Beyond his career leading Willis-Knighton, Mr. Elrod contributed time to the healthcare industry and the local community. On the healthcare side, he has served on the governing boards for the American Hospital Association, VHA and the Louisiana Hospital Association. Additionally, Mr. Elrod serves as an advisor to Waco, Texas-based Baylor University's program in Health Administration and the James K. Elrod School of Health Administration at Louisiana State University in Shreveport.

Outside of healthcare, Mr. Elrod is the founding president of Shreveport's Inner-City Entrepreneurial Institute, which promotes leadership education for inner-city, at-risk children. He is also involved in several organizations that support economic, educational, cultural and humanitarian initiatives and has been recognized by the Human Rights Commission for his activities related to advancing human equality.

Mr. Elrod served in the United States Air Force and earned a master's degree in hospital administration from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. In 2012, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the school's Health Administration Program.

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