The Top 25 Women in Healthcare recognition program honors those female healthcare executives who are making a difference in all sectors of the healthcare industry, including hospitals, health systems, physician organizations, insurance, government, vendors and suppliers, trade and professional organizations, and patients' rights groups. The list of the 2005 Top 25 Women in Healthcare honors women who have successfully served as a leader or managed an organization or company; shown the ability or power to effect change in the healthcare industry; demonstrated a willingness to share expertise with others in the field; has served as a role model or mentor to other female healthcare executives; and assumed a leadership position in the industry.
2005 Top 25 Women in Healthcare
Linda Aiken, 61, director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania, has conducted and published landmark research focusing on nursing retention strategies, connecting nurse satisfaction and appropriate staffing with improved outcomes and patient satisfaction.
With Mary Brainerd as president and CEO at HealthPartners, a Minneapolis-based integrated delivery system, the system announced in October 2004 that it would no longer pay for any of the National Quality Forum's 27 "never events." Brainerd, 51, also led HealthPartners to be chosen for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Pursuing Perfection initiative, using the grant to develop a care system to optimize quality and patient safety.
As senior vice president of corporate planning, community health and intergovernmental relations at the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., LaRay Brown directs strategic-planning efforts for New York's $3 billion public healthcare system. Brown, 52, also is responsible for the corporation's formulation and execution of its legislative initiatives and advocacy strategies and serves as its liaison to elected officials, government agencies and policy organizations.
Carolyn Clancy, 51, has directed HHS' Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality since 2002, refocusing the agency's mission on the production and use of evidence to improve healthcare practice and policy. Her projects this year include spearheading a new collaborative effort with health professional groups to improve the quality of care in ambulatory settings and directing the establishment of a new $139 million initiative to improve quality and safety through greater use of health IT.
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), a member of the Senate's Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, has turned her attention in recent years to quality improvements needed in the U.S. healthcare system, lauding the ability of healthcare information technology to achieve those goals. Clinton, 57, has called for improved research on quality of care, rewards for performance, and a national, interoperable IT infrastructure.
Molly Joel Coye
Molly Joel Coye, 57, is founder and CEO of the Health Technology Center, a not-for-profit research and education center that works to advance the use of technology to improve safety and quality in healthcare. A physician and former director of California's Department of Health Services, Coye's work as a member of the Institute of Medicine-she co-authored the reports To Err is Human and Crossing the Quality Chasm-has earned her national recognition. She also serves on the American Hospital Association's board of trustees.
Karen Davis is president of the Commonwealth Fund, a private nonpartisan philanthropy that supports independent research on health and social issues and makes grants to improve healthcare practice and policy. The fund awards about $16 million in grants each year. Davis, 62, is also a member of the governing council of the Institute of Medicine and a member of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured.
Suzanne Delbanco, 37, founding CEO of the Leapfrog Group, is committed to improving patient safety by reducing the number of medical errors made in healthcare. Since the group's launch in November 2000, it has grown from 60 to more than 140 Fortune 500 members who use their purchasing power to push for improved patient safety.
Rose Ann DeMoro
As executive director of the 45,000-member California Nurses Association, the country's largest professional association and union for registered nurses, Rose Ann DeMoro helps shape public policy in California and throughout the U.S. DeMoro, 56, led the push for California's landmark nurse-to-patient ratios that took effect Jan. 1, 2004. Under her direction, the CNA also has achieved ground-breaking patient advocacy legislation such as whistle-blower protection and prohibitions on unsafe floating policies for nurses and mandatory overtime.
Helping 1,500-plus not-for-profit hospitals and systems cut costs via bulk buying is the goal of Susan DeVore, president of Premier Purchasing Partners. DeVore, 46, has suppliers bid against one another for business in reverse auctions, which she hopes will save $68 million for hospitals by 2007. In 2003, Premier signed up more than 275 hospitals for the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration Project to test Medicare pay-for-performance.
Since Teri Fontenot, 51, became president and CEO of 262-bed Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge, La., net assets have grown from $61 million to $170 million and the hospital's birth rate has grown by almost 20%. Recently, Fontenot worked to pass a law protecting hospitals that provide regional referral services to Medicaid recipients from pay cuts being proposed by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.
Emily Friedman is a health policy and ethics analyst who is a widely published writer. Friedman, 57, also is a frequent lecturer, speaking on topics relating to health insurance and managed care, healthcare ethics, healthcare for the underserved, population demographics and the relationship between the public and the healthcare system.
Patricia Gabow, CEO and medical director of Denver Health, led the transition of Denver Health and Hospitals from a government department to an independent public authority. Gabow, 61, also a research nephrologist, is known for her dedication to improving access to healthcare for underserved communities in Colorado.
As the first woman director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Julie Gerberding, 49, oversees an annual budget of $7.7 billion as well as the 12 institutes dedicated to protecting the health and safety of U.S. citizens. At the CDC since 1998, Gerberding has been involved in leading the U.S.' response to infectious diseases, including anthrax and SARS. She became interested in infectious diseases during her training as a physician at the University of California at San Francisco.
Karen Ignagni, 51, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, has long been considered among the most powerful lobbyists on Capitol Hill. While heading up the former American Association of Health Plans she orchestrated the defeat of patients' rights legislation, and later led the October 2003 merger of the AAHP and the Health Insurance Association of America. Earlier, Ignagni held key positions with HHS, the AFL-CIO and the U.S. Senate's labor and human resources committee.
Kathleen King, 53, former vice president of health policy at the National Academy of Social Insurance, began a new role this month as a director of healthcare for the Government Accountability Office, focusing on health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. King's career in health policy includes posts as vice president of the Washington Business Group on Health and executive associate administrator of CMS' predecessor, HCFA.
Risa Lavizzo-Mourey is president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which distributed about $250 million in grants and contracts last year. A physician, Lavizzo-Mourey, 50, became the first woman to head the foundation in January 2003. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine and served as co-director of the IOM's committee on eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in medical care.
Janet Marchibroda, 42, is CEO of eHealth Initiative, a not-for-profit organization that aims to drive improvement in healthcare quality, safety and efficiency through the use of health IT. The organization has 200 members representing all facets of the healthcare industry. Under her leadership, the initiative is working toward an interoperable, interconnected health information infrastructure at the local, regional, state and national levels.
Margaret O'Kane is president of the National Committee for Quality Assurance, the group that accredits most of the nation's largest HMOs. O'Kane, 57, founded the NCQA in 1990 and has since made it the leading authority on healthcare quality assessment and performance measurement. She has been credited with elevating the discussion on quality improvement to the top of the healthcare agenda.
Pamela Pure is executive vice president of McKesson Corp. and president of McKesson Provider Technologies. At the latter, a $1.4 billion division of McKesson, she is responsible for leading initiatives across a broad range of customer and operation activities. Credited with boosting software sales and increasing the company's international presence, Pure, 44, provides strategic vision and operational leadership with the goal of digitizing healthcare processes to improve care safety.
As a senior fellow at Project HOPE, an international health education foundation, Gail Wilensky analyzes and formulates health policy. She is also co-chair of the President's Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery for Our Nation's Veterans. Wilensky, 61, frequently testifies before Congress, advises members of Congress and speaks for professional, business and consumer groups. She was chairwoman of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and served for two years as administrator of HCFA (now the CMS).
Trish Riley, director of Maine's Governor's Office of Health Policy and Finance, is also director of Dirigo Health. Riley, 54, was the principal architect of the Dirigo Health Reform Act, designed to solve the cost and access problems within the state's healthcare system while ensuring that all of Maine's 1.3 million residents have access to healthcare by 2009.
Diane Rowland, executive director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, is an expert in federal policy relating to health insurance coverage; access to care; and healthcare financing for low-income, elderly and disabled populations. Rowland, 56, also serves on the board of the Academy for Health Services Research and Health Policy and the Secretary's Task Force on Infant Mortality.
Sister Mary Jean Ryan
The leadership of Sister Mary Jean Ryan, president and CEO of SSM Health Care in St. Louis, helped SSM become the first healthcare organization to earn the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for its commitment to continuous quality improvement. Since accepting that award, Ryan, 66, has reached out to healthcare leaders, speaking to more than 120 audiences about what she has learned through the quality-improvement processes at SSM.
Lynn Shapiro Snyder
A senior partner at Epstein, Becker & Green, Lynn Shapiro Snyder, 48, serves as lead counsel for large healthcare companies, representing them in cases relating to Medicare and Medicaid, fraud and abuse, and managed care. She also founded the Women Business Leaders of the U.S. Health Care Industry Foundation, which aims to meet the professional needs of senior executive women in the field and increase the number of women on boards of directors.
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