“I don't think he had a peer in the world as a technical cardiovascular surgeon and making very wise decisions about what he did and how he did it,” says Dr. James Willerson, president of the Texas Heart Institute, Houston, which Cooley founded in 1962.
Sister Mary Maurita Sengelaub also broke through barriers in her 60-year career in healthcare, which included roles as a nursing instructor, hospital and health system administrator and leader of the nation's largest advocacy organization for Catholic healthcare.
In 1970, she became the first woman—and nun—to become chief executive of the Catholic Hospital Association, the predecessor to today's Catholic Health Association.
Her many advocacy efforts included embracing a campaign to ensure access to healthcare for migrant farmworkers as well as being an early supporter for universal healthcare coverage in the U.S. “I would say the driving point of this is to serve the poor, the sick, the dying and the elderly—all the people in need,” Sengelaub says.
Donald Wegmiller, in shaking things up in healthcare delivery in the Twin Cities, rightfully earned the title of father of the modern integrated healthcare delivery system. His moves in healthcare administration and delivery systems had national repercussions.
He was among the first to see the necessity for healthcare consolidation, as well as the business case for slashing the number of beds at hospitals he led and negotiating mergers that would lead to a new organizational form.