Walter F. Johnson III has resigned as president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Diversity in Health Management, a initiative launched in 1993 to expand healthcare management opportunities for minorities.
Johnson, 58, is leaving the institute at the end of this year to become a consultant with the Atlanta-based Eagle Group International, which helps companies develop cultural diversity programs.
The American Hospital Association announced Johnson's pending departure late last week. The AHA is working on finding a successor as well as meeting with the institute's board to map the group's future.
The AHA founded the institute four years ago with the American College of Healthcare Executives and the National Association of Health Services Executives. Johnson had been the group's only president and CEO.
During its four years, the institute has developed a number of programs to promote healthcare management opportunities for minorities, including a career awareness program, an educational assistance program, a career planning program and a professional placement service.
In 1994 nearly 80 national, state and local healthcare organization became institute co-sponsors. They include the Healthcare Financial Management Association, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and the National Association of Public Hospitals.
Despite the backing, the institute has had financial problems.
Last December it closed its Atlanta office and relocated to the AHA's Chicago headquarters.
Johnson said the institute is paying for its operations, but the AHA is subsidizing its overhead expenses. The institute has one full-time employee and five part-time staffers.
Johnson said he leaves the institute with new funding sources lined up. He declined to disclose its financial situation or the extent of the promised funding.
"For the first time, we think we have a funding stream," he said.