Healthcare Business News
Deborah Bowen, president and CEO of the American College of Healthcare Executives

ACHE taps Bowen for CEO post

By Ashok Selvam
Posted: January 2, 2013 - 4:00 pm ET

Deborah Bowen has been promoted to president and CEO of the American College of Healthcare Executives, according a news release (PDF). She succeeds Thomas Dolan, who has headed the organization for more than two decades.

Bowen, 57, works currently as ACHE's executive VP and COO, a post she's held since 2003. She'll start her new job May 13, after Dolan's retirement. She joined the Chicago-based ACHE in 1992 as director of government relations. ACHE officials selected Bowen after a nationwide search precipitated by Dolan's retirement announcement, which came in the summer. His departure in May will cap 22 years heading the organization. Dolan will serve in the honorary role of ACHE president emeritus following his retirement.

A native of Park Ridge, Ill., Bowen comes from a social work background. She said that embracing healthcare executives from untraditional backgrounds, who studied something other than healthcare administration, will be a key organizational goal when she starts as CEO.

“We know as we move to population health, we'll need more interactions and interface with public health and other organizations like that,” Bowen said.

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ACHE Board Chairman Gayle Capozzalo headed a nationwide search for a new CEO. In 1994, ACHE named Bowen VP, division of administration, a post she held until 2000, when she left to serve as deputy executive director of the Society of Actuaries, Schaumburg, Ill.

“Deborah showed us that she has the vision and capability to lead our organization in this time of significant change,” said Gayle Capozzalo, who also serves as executive VP of strategy and system development at Yale New Haven (Conn.) Health System, in the release. “We are confident that, with Deborah as president, ACHE will build upon its past successes and make the changes required to remain the premier professional society for healthcare executives dedicated to improving healthcare delivery.”

Mentoring was a staple of Dolan's tenure, and Bowen praised the outgoing CEO for his support during her time at ACHE. Dolan is also known for his commitment to improving diversity in the ranks of healthcare administration. Bowen pledged to continue that and mentioned a soon-to-released ACHE study on gender and a policy statement on the inclusion of gay, bisexual and lesbian patients and employees.

“The transformation of healthcare, I think, is an important turning point,” she said. “I think healthcare is at a very significant crossroads and I know our leaders and members are working with their clinical partners to make new and innovative things to happen … I think this is a chance of a lifetime.”

Dolan will receive an annualized base salary of $635,935 for his work as CEO from Jan. 1 through his May 10 retirement date, an ACHE spokeswoman said. Bowen's annualized base salary will be $542,700 for her work starting on May 13, when she begins as CEO. She received an initial three-year contract.

ACHE has about 43,000 members.

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