The Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare for 2012, presented in alphabetical order.
Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare (text list)
Dr. Kelvin Baggett, 40, has served as chief medical officer for Tenet Healthcare Corp., Dallas, since 2009. He earlier worked as vice president of clinical strategy and chief operating officer for HCA's clinical services group. Among Baggett's accomplishments has been establishing Tenet's Clinical Innovation Awards, which recognize system hospitals for progress in implementing ideas and solutions to improve patient outcomes while staying committed to safety, quality and service.
Since the end of 2009, Dr. Regina Benjamin has served as U.S. surgeon general in the Obama administration. Benjamin, 55, is the country's 18th surgeon general, and previously served as associate dean for rural health at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. The American Medical Association appointed her in 1995 as its first African-American female board member, as well as the first doctor younger than 40 on the board. Her numerous awards include the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Three years ago, Tanya Blackmon began her tenure as president of 60-bed Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville (N.C.), where she oversees more than 600 employees. Blackmon, 52, started in 1992 with the Presbyterian family of hospitals as director of inpatient planning and eventually became director of clinical improvement and community-care services. Before taking the helm at the Huntersville hospital, she served as chief operating officer of Presbyterian Orthopaedic Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., beginning in 2004.
Since 1999, John Bluford has served as president and CEO of Truman Medical Centers, Kansas City, Mo. Bluford, 62, has more than 30 years in the healthcare field, including six years as CEO at Hennepin County Medical Center, Minneapolis. He served as board chairman of the American Hospital Association in 2011 and chairman of the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems in 2008. He appeared on the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare list in 2006 and again in 2010.
Dr. Benjamin Chu, 60, has been group president of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan's Southern California and Hawaii regions since 2005. His career includes a stint as senior vice president for medical professional affairs for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. Previously, Chu was senior associate dean at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons for the Harlem Hospital Affiliation in New York. He's currently chairman-elect of the American Hospital Association's board of trustees.
While Dignity Health, San Francisco, changed names this year from Catholic Healthcare West and cut official ties to the Roman Catholic Church, Lloyd Dean, the company's president and CEO, still remains a fixture on Modern Healthcare's list of the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare. Dean, 61, one of the most influential healthcare administrators in the country, has led Dignity since 2001. He also has appeared on Modern Healthcare's 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare ranking every year since 2005.
In 2008, Dr. Ralph de le Torre became CEO of Steward Health Care System in Boston, a for-profit that he also serves as chairman. De la Torre, 45, also founded the CardioVascular Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and served as its CEO. During that time, he also was chief of cardiac surgery at the hospital. He also appeared on Modern Healthcare's 50 Most Influential Physician Executives in Healthcare list in 2010.
Jackie DeSouza last November was named CEO of Lee's Summit (Mo.) Medical Center, owned by Nashville-based HCA. But she's no newcomer to HCA. DeSouza, 37, has been working at the chain since 2000, when she began as an administrative resident at Medical Center of Aurora (Colo.). Most recently, starting in 2006, she was chief operating officer at HCA's Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo. Only months on the job at Lee's Summit, she's begun some innovations at the hospital, including the start of town-hall style meetings for employees to share ideas.
Since 2002, Paul Diaz has worked as CEO of post-acute-care giant Kindred Healthcare, Louisville, Ky., gaining the president's title in 2004. Diaz, 50, appears on Modern Healthcare's list of the Top 25 Minority Executives for the third time. He also has been named to Modern Healthcare's rankings of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare for the past four years. Before joining Kindred, Diaz served from 1996 to 1998 as chief operating officer at Mariner Health Group, a post-acute company based in Atlanta.
For the past two years, Saad Ehtisham has served as CEO of University Medical Center, Lebanon, Tenn., the seventh-largest hospital in the metro Nashville market. Before April 2010, Ehtisham, 42, served as senior vice president of clinical operations and chief nursing officer at six-hospital Via Christi Wichita (Kan.) Health Network. Ehtisham also worked as interim CEO for the Medical Center of Southern Indiana, Charlestown, and has spent 22 years in the healthcare industry.
Cleaster “Cle” Ewing joined HealthSouth Corp. in 2010 and serves as chief compliance officer for the Birmingham, Ala.-based chain. Ewing, 52, worked in the same capacity for HealthSpring, a Nashville-based operator of Medicare Advantage plans. Ewing is responsible for the compliance programs at HealthSouth's hospitals, 26 outpatient rehabilitation clinics and 25 home health agencies. She also worked for 11 years at Brentwood, Tenn.-based American HomePatient as vice president of corporate compliance, clinical/regulatory compliance and governmental affairs.
Dr. Atul Gawande, 46, wears many hats along with his title of associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School in Boston. Gawande, who practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, is a staff writer for the New Yorker magazine, covering topics pertaining to healthcare. Gawande also is an associate professor in the department of health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health. From 1992 to 1993, he served as a senior health policy adviser to Bill Clinton's presidential campaign and the White House.
Albert Gutierrez, 57, oversees St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka, Ind., where he has been president and CEO since 2010. His career in healthcare has spanned more than three decades. Gutierrez is the former president and CEO of Shore Memorial Hospital in Somers Point, N.J., where he held the post from 2002 until joining St. Joseph. He also serves as a member of the Indiana University School of Medicine's Oncology Advisory Board.
The Senate confirmed Dr. Howard Koh's appointment as the 14th assistant secretary for health at HHS in 2009. The 60-year-old Koh came from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, where he served as director of the division of public health practice, associate dean for public health practice and as the Harvey V. Fineberg professor of the practice of public health. From 1997 to 2003, Koh served as commissioner of public health for Massachusetts.
Since 2005, Wright Lassiter III has served as CEO for Alameda County Medical Center in Oakland, Calif. Lassiter, 48, previously worked for three years as senior vice president of operations at JPS Health Network, a government-run health network that also includes a 532-bed hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. Alameda County is a publicly funded, six-facility healthcare system, and Lassiter is credited with bringing stability to the system, which had 10 CEOs in almost a decade before his arrival.
Since 2003, Kevin Lofton has led Englewood, Colo.-based Catholic Health Initiatives as its president and CEO. The 57-year-old Lofton joined CHI in 1998, and has seen the organization continue to grow as one of the country's largest health systems. CHI consists of more than 50 hospitals across 16 states. He has appeared on all four of Modern Healthcare's Top 25 Minority Executives lists and has been named to the magazine's list of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare multiple times.
Before Dr. Geeta Nayyar joined AT&T ForHealth in Miami as the company's first chief medical information officer in August 2011, she served as interim chief medical officer for Vangent, a healthcare IT and business systems firm based in Arlington, Va. Prior to that, Nayyar, 33, was CMO from 2008-10 at APCO Worldwide, a Washington, D.C.-based marketing firm. Nayyar also serves on the American College of Rheumatology's Government Affairs Committee.
President Barack Obama appointed Todd Park in March as U.S. chief technology officer. Before that, the 39-year-old Park worked with HHS, starting in 2009, as chief technology officer. While there, his accomplishments included the unveiling of Health Care.gov, which allows users to search the availability of health insurance plans using a ZIP code. Park in 1997 co-founded Athenahealth, a Watertown, Mass.-based developer of Web-based portals for providers.
Dr. Ram Raju more than 20 years ago transitioned from his career as a trauma surgeon to the executive side of healthcare. He's now CEO at Cook County Health & Hospitals System, Chicago, effective last fall. Raju, 61, previously served as executive vice president, chief medical officer and chief operating officer for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. During his tenure there, the system became the first in the state to post quality data on its website. He also worked in various capacities from 2002-06 at Coney Island Hospital in New York, most recently as COO.
Since 2006, Dr. Samuel Ross has served as CEO of the Baltimore division of Bon Secours Health System, a 13-hospital Catholic system, headquartered in Marriottsville, Md. Ross, 57, also serves as the Catholic system's market leader for its Kentucky division. He managed a family physicians practice before working as chief medical officer at Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas, where he served in various other posts, including vice president of the employee medical practice.
Dr. Richard Shinto, 57, leads Aveta, the Fort Lee, N.J.-based managed-healthcare provider, as president and CEO. He's also CEO of four Aveta subsidiaries: MMM Healthcare, PMC Medicare Choice, which offers Medicare Advantage Plan in Puerto Rico, MSO of Puerto Rico and North America Medical Management. Shinto's work includes bringing the concept of medical provider networks to Puerto Rico. MSO aids 27 medical groups and healthcare organizations in the commonwealth.
This is the third time Dr. Reed Tuckson has appeared on Modern Healthcare's biennial Top 25 Minority Executives list. Since 2006, Tuckson, 61, has served as executive vice president and chief of medical affairs at UnitedHealth Group, based in Minnetonka, Minn. He has been with UnitedHealth since 2000, and from 1997 to 2000 worked as senior vice president of professional standards for the American Medical Association.
Since 2009, Michael Ugwueke has served as a senior vice president and CEO at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, overseeing Methodist North and Methodist South hospitals in Memphis, Tenn. Ugwueke, who turns 54 later this month, began at Methodist in 2007. From 2003-07, he worked at Provena St. Joseph Medical Center, Joliet, Ill., as vice president of operations. Before that, from 2001-03, he served as vice president of support services and strategic planning at Washington (D.C.) Hospital Center.
After previous stints in law and government, J. Alex Valdez, 56, has been serving as president and CEO of 180-bed Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, N.M., since 2004. From 2002-04, Valdez served as the hospital's general counsel and vice president of government relations. He continues to teach business law part time at Northern New Mexico College in Espanola. From 1995 to 2003, Valdez served as Cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Department of Health, appointed by then-Gov. Gary Johnson.
Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, 55, serves as senior vice president of community health and equity and chief wellness officer at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. Wisdom was the state of Michigan's first surgeon general, serving from 2003-10. President Barack Obama also appointed Wisdom to the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health. Her 30-year career in healthcare also includes teaching as an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.
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