Swedish Health in Seattle names CEO

Elizabeth Wako, MD, is now the permanent president and CEO of Seattle-based Swedish Health Services after fulfilling the role in an interim capacity since May. 

Providence Swedish announced Dr. Wako's appointment on Nov. 15, effective immediately. Dr. Wako stepped in to head up the organization as interim CEO in May, succeeding Guy Hudson, MD, after his 16-year tenure with the organization. 

Dr. Wako will continue to report to the Swedish Board of Trustees and to Rod Hochman, MD, president and CEO of Renton, Wash.-based Providence.

"This is an exciting moment for the organization as Dr. Wako's appointment represents a number of historic firsts for Swedish," R. Omar Riojas, chair of the Swedish Board of Trustees, said in a news release. "She is the first woman and first African American to lead the organization since it was founded by Dr. Nils Johanson 113 years ago. As a nurse, physician, woman of color, wife, and mother of four, she brings a unique perspective that is critical in shaping health-care delivery of the future." 

Dr. Wako previously served as chief executive of Providence Swedish's Central Service Area. She joined Swedish in 2011, fulfilling a number of executive roles since, including chief medical officer, COO and chief executive for Swedish First Hill campus in Seattle. 

Providence and Swedish affiliated in 2012. Providence Swedish today is the largest healthcare delivery system in Western Washington, with 22,000 caregivers, eight hospitals and 244 clinics.

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