26 women CEOs of hospitals and health systems to know

Women are increasingly taking on the top executive positions at hospitals and health systems across the U.S., bringing an important perspective to the organization.

Becker's is thrilled to honor the following women hospital and health system CEOs. We accepted nominations for this list and selected members based on their leadership roles and accomplishments. Individuals do not pay and cannot pay to be featured.

Members are listed in alphabetical order. Click here to find 2023 list nominations. Contact Laura Dyrda at ldyrda@beckershealthcare.com for more information about this list.

Nancy Agee, RN. President and CEO of Carilion Clinic (Roanoke, Va.). Ms. Agee is president and CEO of Carilion Clinic, a nearly $2 billion integrated health system serving more than 1 million people in Virginia and West Virginia. Carilion Clinic features seven hospitals at all scales, operates home health, imaging services, pharmacies and freestanding surgical clinics while employing more than 1,000 physicians. She helped to co-lead the clinic’s reorganization to the fully integrated, physician-led clinic it is today. Ms. Agee also has experience chairing the American Hospital Association and Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.

LaSharndra Barbarin, MHA, FACHE. CEO of Medical City Arlington (Texas). Ms. Barbarin has more than 20 years of healthcare leadership experience. She became CEO of Medical City Arlington, a 433-bed hospital, in June. She is leading the hospital's $132 million expansion that will add 60 more patient beds to support community growth. Ms. Barbarin has previous experience as CEO of Medical City Lewisville. Under her guidance, the hospital enhanced its services and expanded access points. She has also worked to make the hospital more diverse, equitable and inclusive, which has been accomplished via patient care, board representation, hiring practices and promotions.

Caitlin Beck Stella. CEO of Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital (Hollywood, Fla.). Ms. Stella, whose chief career focus is children's healthcare, joined Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital as CEO in 2018 with the goal of aiding the hospital in its growth. Prior to this role, she served as chief administrative officer for UC Los Angeles Mattel Children's Hospital and Women's Health. There, she created a systemic approach for the expansion of Southern California's children's health services and developed the "Everyday Wish Fund" at Mattel, which grants daily wishes to children at the hospital.

Mary Ellen Clyne, PhD. President and CEO of Clara Maass Medical Center (Belleville, N.J.). Dr. Clyne oversees the medical center's initiatives for the delivery of patient care and safety, financial stability, strategic planning, capital improvements, renovations, performance improvement, and community relations. Her leadership has resulted in the medical center's national recognition for excellent performance in quality and patient safety by Healthgrades. She has also implemented several initiatives designed to enrich underserved communities, including the Center of Excellence for Latino Health and the Clara Cares program for the elderly.

Lisa Deering, MSN, RN. CEO of Regency Hospital Company-Cleveland East at Select Medical (Mechanicsburg, Pa.). Ms.Deering is responsible for the operations of a 44-bed critical illness recovery hospital. Alongside her duties as chief executive, she's present for her team and celebrates wins big and small, including birthdays and work anniversaries. With a hands-on leadership style, she also offers clinical support to her teams and facilitates improvements in quality metrics and patient satisfaction.

Pamela Delagardelle. President and CEO of UnityPoint Health - Waterloo (West Des Moines, Iowa). Ms. Delagardelle acts as President and CEO of UnityPoint Health-Waterloo and CEO of UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown, a dual role that involves the oversight of two hospitals, 40 specialty clinics, an outpatient surgery center, a community mental health center, four urgent care clinics, two affiliate hospitals and Allen College, a school that trains healthcare students. In 2021, she stepped in to serve as UnityPoint Health's interim chief nursing officer as well. Using her extensive healthcare experience, she guided care team members through the strain of COVID-19, helped recruit new talent, and implemented programs and bonuses to aid in-house talent retention. Her leadership contributes greatly to patient safety, care, and satisfaction at the hospitals she oversees.

Marcy Doderer. President and CEO of Arkansas Children's Hospital (Little Rock, Ark.). Ms. Doderer leads the only pediatric health system in Arkansas, which provides care for over 700,000 children. She directs strategic vision and ensures financial and operational stability for the organization's two hospitals, research institute, philanthropic foundation, regional clinics and alliance, telemedicine and statewide outreach programs. She also acts as chair of the Children's Hospital Solutions for Patient Safety Board of Directors, member of the Children's Hospital International Executive Forum, and board member of Fifty for the Future. Her main objective is to transform Arkansas into a safer and healthier place for children.

Danielle Drummond. President and CEO of Lakeland (Fla.) Regional Health. In her role as president and CEO, Ms. Drummond works to ensure the optimal performance of all aspects of the health system, from the day-to-day operations to the long-term strategic development initiatives. One of her standout achievements was the creation of the Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness, a facility that provides access, service, safety and programming for those with behavioral health needs. She has also demonstrated her commitment to advancing women's empowerment via her capstone project, the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children, which is a dedicated pediatric emergency room for women and children.

Stephanie Duggan, MD. Regional President and CEO of Ascension Michigan Mid and Northern Region (Warren, Mich.). Dr. Duggan oversees four hospitals in Ascension Michigan's mid and northern regions and is responsible for strategic growth, business partnerships and clinical program development, talent development and retention, quality and fiscal outcomes, and community reputation, engagement and advocacy. She was a key player in securing a $125 million investment from Ascension in 2021, which has supported continued growth in the region. She also serves as a board member for several organizations, including the American Association of Physician Leadership, the Saginaw County Board of Public Health, the Saginaw Future Economic Development Corporation, and Saginaw Promise.

Karen Duncan, MD. President and CEO of JPS Health Network (Fort Worth, Texas). Dr. Duncan leads all clinical, operational and financial aspects of the JPS Health Network, which includes 27 locations and serves over a quarter-million patients each year. As the health system moves forward with its planned clinical and physical plant upgrades, Dr. Duncan will take ownership of this next phase of the system's growth. She previously served as the organization's COO and is now the only female and minority healthcare CEO in Tarrant County, Texas.

Liz Dunne. President and CEO of PeaceHealth (Vancouver, Wash.). Ms. Dunne's leadership of PeaceHealth's operations, finances, community investments, philanthropy and strategic direction has resulted in a 7 percent year-over-year growth for the organization. She is the first laywoman leader of the health system, so chosen because of her commitment to modernizing the organization in service of its mission to provide accessible and affordable care to the community. Thanks to her background in nutrition, she has a particular interest in addressing social determinants that act as barriers to wellness. One of her chief steps towards the pursuit of health justice was incorporating social determinants into EHRs.

Jill Hoggard Green, PhD, RN. President and CEO of The Queen's Health System (Honolulu). Since joining The Queen's Health System in 2019, Dr. Hoggard Green has led the organization in quality improvement, cost reduction, market share growth, innovation and the attainment of a positive operating margin. She also facilitated the system's three-party affiliation agreement that led to the creation of Queen's University Medical Group, which will improve education and training for healthcare professionals. Her service extends to her community as well, as she serves on the boards of Child and Family Services, Hawaii Cancer Consortium, Hawaii Homeless Healthcare Hu and the Girls Scouts of Hawaii.

Emily Holliman. Chief Hospital Executive of Hackensack Meridian Pascack Valley Medical Center (Westwood, N.J.). Ms. Holliman brought over 16 years of health care experience to her current role, 11 of which were spent serving as a hospital CEO. Her leadership contributed to the acquisition of Bergen Medical Associates, which nearly tripled the amount of employed providers in the system, helped bring physicians back to the community and ultimately gave residents in the area more care options. As a leader, she actively listens to the feedback of community members and focuses on providing them with the services they most want and need. Her innovative approach to patient satisfaction has won the hospital numerous awards for a bedside concierge program, a digital platform where patients can use their smartphones to communicate while in the hospital.

Wendy Horton, PharmD. CEO of UVA Medical Center (Charlottesville, Va.). Ms. Horton directs the UVA Medical Center towards high-quality, affordable, patient-centric care and provides support to almost 9,000 healthcare employees. She began working at UVA Health in April 2020 as COO of the UVA Medical Center, and became CEO in November 2020. During her tenure at the UVA Medical Center, she has focused on operational optimization and creating a culture of innovation to address the health system's underlying challenges.

Shubhada Jagasia, MD. President and CEO of Ascension Saint Thomas Hospital, Midtown and West Campuses (Nashville, Tenn.). Dr. Jagasia brings 30 years of clinical and healthcare administration experience to the role and is responsible for the midtown and west campus facilities, which house 879 beds and produce over $4.1 billion in revenue. Presently, she is managing the expansion of the heart transplant, neuroscience and critical care programs on the West campus, as well as a $300 million reconstruction of the Midtown campus. Her other role as a practicing endocrinologist gives her a unique insight into the needs of caregivers and informs her passion for improving patient access, forming new models of healthcare delivery, and building clinical programs with physicians.

Laura Kaiser. President and CEO of SSM Health (St. Louis). Ms. Kaiser, who brings over 30 years of experience in health care, directs SSM Health, a system that includes 23 hospitals, 40,000 team members and over 11,000 providers. In her role, she leads strategy, increases clinical quality and innovation, drives growth, and develops advantageous partnerships. Prior to her role at SSM Health, she was executive vice president and COO at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City.

Vicki Lewis. CEO of Coffee Regional Medical Center (Douglas, Ga.). Ms. Lewis joined Coffee Regional Medical Center as CEO in 2014, bringing more than 25 years of healthcare leadership experience to the role. She leads the 88-bed hospital, which delivers both emergency care and a range of nonemergent services. Prior to this, she served as the president of two acute care hospitals in Wisconsin, where she aimed to enhance patient experience and form a strong bond with the community.

Amy Mansue. President and CEO of Inspira Health (Vineland, N.J.). Ms. Mansue, who has a nearly 30 year background in the healthcare field, was named president and CEO of Inspira Health in 2020. She is particularly dedicated to educating future healthcare professionals and plays a key role in forming and strengthening partnerships with the local medical community and educational institutions. Before taking on her current role, she acted as executive vice president and chief experience officer at RWJBarnabas Health

Holly McCormack, DNP, RN. CEO of Cottage Hospital (Woodsville, N.H.). After 12 years of advancing through the ranks at Cottage Hospital, Ms. McCormack was named CEO of the 35-bed critical access hospital in 2021. Thanks to her background as a practicing nurse and her prior role as chief nursing officer, she brings an intimate understanding of hospital staff's experiences and needs. Her main goal is to bring high-quality care to the rural area's local community.

Michele Morrison, RN. President and Chief Hospital Executive of Hackensack Meridian Southern Ocean Medical Center (Manahawkin, N.J.). Ms. Morrison leads Southern Ocean Medical Center's business economics, strategic development, philanthropy and hospital operations. Notably, she led the hospital in treating patients, tripling critical care space and operationalizing daily needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her ability to solve complex problems, create strategic vision plans and build community contributed to making the 2021 fiscal year the medical center's most successful yet.

Margaret Peterson, PhD. CEO of AHMC Anaheim Regional Medical Center (Los Angeles). Dr. Peterson has worked in nonprofit, for-profit, system and independent hospitals across four states, giving her a well-rounded perspective of the healthcare system. She specializes in forming strategic visions that help hospitals grow and stabilize within their communities. She has experience managing a medical group, forming a population health program, working with medical residency programs, and overseeing hospital building developments.

Candice Saunders. President and CEO of Wellstar Health System (Marietta, Ga.). Ms. Saunders is responsible for the strategic vision and direction of all aspects of Wellstar Health System's delivery of care, operations, financial performance and community outreach. Her leadership extends to over 14,000 team members across 10 hospitals, more than 300 medical offices, 74 rehabilitation centers, 34 imaging centers, 17 urgent care locations, nine cancer centers, five health parks, three inpatient hospice facilities, two assisted living facilities, and a pediatric center. Her work focuses on improving access to vital healthcare needs, implementing new and improved care models, instituting more efficient operational processes, and enriching the overall patient care experience.

Deanna Sperling, RN. President and CEO of RWJBarnabas Health Behavioral Health Center (Toms River, N.J.). Ms. Sperling serves as president and CEO of RWJBarnabas Health Behavioral Health Center, a psychiatric facility that provides both inpatient and outpatient behavioral healthcare services and mental health treatments. Under her leadership, staff is trained to deliver trauma-informed care and to treat patients with respect, kindness, and compassion. Yielding the knowledge that behavioral health does not exist in a vacuum, she strives to bridge the gap between behavioral and non-behavioral health services.

Johnese Spisso. President of UCLA Health and CEO of UCLA Hospital System (Los Angeles). Ms. Spisso brings over 30 years of experience to her role and is responsible for overseeing all functions of UCLA's hospitals and clinics, along with the organization's regional outreach strategy. Prior to joining UCLA in 2016, she served as chief health system officer and vice president of medical affairs for the University of Washington. There, she assisted in the expansion of partnerships with nearby hospitals, helped key community hospitals integrate into UW Medicine, and led the creation of a statewide trauma system.

Airica Steed, EdD, RN. President and CEO of MetroHealth (Cleveland). Dr. Steed stepped into her new role as MetroHealth's CEO in December, after having served as executive vice president and system COO of Sinai Chicago Health System and president of Mount Sinai and Sinai Children's Hospital. During her time at Sinai Chicago, she was the guiding force behind clinical, operational, financial and cultural changes that generated over $200 million in improvements across three years. Her work also led to enhanced publicly reported quality indicators and a 40 percent decrease in mortality rates and infections caught in the hospital.

Amie Thornton. President and Chief Hospital Executive at Hackensack Meridian JFK University Medical Center (Edison, N.J.). Ms. Thornton leads operational divisions that include the JFK University Medical Center, the Johnson Rehabilitation Institute and the New Jersey Neuroscience Institute. Her efforts also drive all facets of performance excellence and strategic positioning for the medical center. Her results-oriented approach has led to the growth of several departments, services, and operations throughout the medical center. Among her key triumphs was the successful development of hospital-physician joint ventures that resulted in multimillion-dollar bottom-line improvement.

Beth Walker. CEO of Ochsner Baptist (New Orleans). Ms. Walker directs all hospital operations, including the management of over 900 physicians, over 1,000 employees and 124 beds. She has worked within the Ochsner Health organization since 2002 and has held various leadership roles across clinical departments. Her notable career achievements include coordinating patient, outpatient and long-term care and successfully transforming a pediatric clinic into a general medicine clinic while acting as manager of general internal medicine at Ochsner Medical Center when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.








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