Today's headlines regarding the corporate and public sectors are, to say the least, less than uplifting. The news is filled with tales of executives running empires of greed, fraud and mismanagement. When their schemes blow up, they deny responsibility. Public servants often seem more interested in themselves than the public. They prefer catering to special interests rather than promoting the common good.
This constant rain of bad news about bad behavior is enough to make you vulnerable to an infection of despair. Luckily, there are vaccines available, and we are proud to showcase three of the strongest in this special section of the magazine. The 2004 inductees into the Health Care Hall of Fame, sponsored by Modern Healthcare, exemplify the best in executive leadership and public service. The hall was founded in the late 1980s to honor individuals who dedicated their lives to advancing the health of people in this country and around the world. The trio being honored in 2004 represent the best of this tradition.
Ruth Rothstein has distinguished herself as a pioneering healthcare administrator, using her competence, good judgment and compassion to work her way into the hospital executive office. Taking the reins at Mount Sinai Hospital and later at Cook County Hospital, both in Chicago, Rothstein strove to improve the health and quality of life for many impoverished citizens.
Robert Shelton, who died last year, made his mark by advancing the profession of financial management at hospitals. He took over a fledgling organization and built it up to become the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Shelton expanded the group and promoted information sharing. He helped the industry cope with the inception of Medicare.
Finally, the late Luther Terry showed what a dedicated physician and public servant can accomplish. A surgeon general under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, he issued the first report from that office on smoking and health. Relying on science, and defying the tobacco lobby, Terry launched a government campaign against smoking that, according to one of his successors, has saved millions of lives.
Seventy people have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since its inception. A complete list of past inductees appears on pages H9 and H10, and brief profiles of each can be found in the Awards and Honors section of modernhealthcare.com. This year's inductees, like their predecessors, offer a badly needed tonic of inspiration in discouraging times.