Kevin Lofton, Teri Fontenot to receive AHA's highest honor

Kevin Lofton, CEO emeritus at Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health, and Teri Fontenot, CEO emeritus of Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge, La., will receive the American Hospital Association Distinguished Service Award, the association's highest honor.

The American Hospital Association said in an April 22 news release that it is presenting the 2021 Distinguished Service Award to Mr. Lofton "in recognition of his significant lifetime contributions to the nation's healthcare institutions and associations and unwavering commitment to increasing diversity in healthcare and reducing health disparities."

Mr. Lofton led CommonSpirit with Lloyd Dean when CommonSpirit was formed from the merger of San Francisco-based Dignity Health and Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives in February 2019. Mr. Dean became the sole CEO of CommonSpirit in July 2020 after Mr. Lofton retired

Within the American Hospital Association, Mr. Lofton was founding chair of the Health Equity Initiative, served as board chair in 2007 and was a founding board member of the Institute for Diversity for Health Management (now known as Institute for Diversity and Health Equity).

"Kevin's dedication to increase equity in healthcare and ensure that we keep a sharp focus on serving the most underrepresented individuals in our communities has made him one of the most influential and transformational leaders in our field,” American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack said in the release. "His commitment has helped accelerate the pace of progress for the entire field, and his strong and passionate leadership has made a real difference that will improve the lives of millions of Americans."

Mr. Lofton will receive the award April 25 at the American Hospital Association Annual Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C. Also at that time, Ms. Fontenot will receive the 2020 Distinguished Service Award, the presentation of which was delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The American Hospital Association said in a news release that Ms. Fontenot is receiving the award "in recognition of her significant lifetime contributions to the nation's healthcare institutions and unwavering commitment to improving healthcare in Louisiana and neighboring states."

Ms. Fontenot served as leader of the independent, nonprofit Woman's Hospital for 23 years and retired from that role in summer 2019.

Within the American Hospital Association, Ms. Fontenot has been active in committee groups since 1997 and chaired the board of trustees in 2012, according to the organization.

"Throughout her career, Teri has demonstrated a never-ending commitment to improving the health of women and infants with innovative strategies to strengthen community partnerships and improve the health of those she served," Mr. Pollack said in a news release. "She showed incredible leadership in response to Hurricane Katrina when it came to protecting moms, babies and the people of Louisiana. Through her leadership and dedication, she provided many significant contributions to our field and to the AHA."

Currently, Ms. Fontenot is the chair of the audit committee for LHC Group, a national provider of in-home healthcare services and innovations, and is on Orlando (Fla.) Health's board.

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