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America’s Essential Hospitals Announces New Board Leadership

WASHINGTON — America’s Essential Hospitals and its research, education, and leadership development arm, Essential Hospitals Institute, today announced new board chairs and members, who will begin their roles guiding the organizations’ work July 1.

“Our association and Institute leaders know, firsthand, the indispensable role essential hospitals play in the nation’s health care safety net,” said Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, president and CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals. “Their perspectives will be invaluable as we work to win support for our members in a challenging health care landscape.”

Charlie Shields, president and CEO of University Health, in Kansas City, Mo., becomes America’s Essential Hospitals’ board chair. He succeeds Eric Dickson, MD, MHCM, president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health, in Worcester, Mass., who becomes past chair.

“I am honored to serve as board chair for the coming year,” said Shields. “America’s Essential Hospitals’ mission reflects that of its more than 300 members, each dedicated to ensuring quality care for all, closing health disparity gaps, and improving patient safety. I’m excited to take on board leadership for an organization making such an incredible impact across the nation at a time when it’s needed most.”

Jacob Cintron, MAcc, MBA, president and CEO of University Medical Center of El Paso, in El Paso, Texas, becomes the association’s new chair-elect. Joseph Webb, DSc, MSHA, FACHE, CEO of Nashville General Hospital, in Nashville, Tenn., becomes the board’s secretary. Jennifer DeCubellis, MA, CEO of Hennepin Healthcare, in Minneapolis, becomes the board’s treasurer.

Susan Cooper, MSN, RN, FAAN, chief integration officer and senior vice president of Regional One Health, in Memphis, Tenn., becomes the Institute’s board chair. She succeeds Stuart Guterman, MA, an independent consultant from Silver Spring, Md., who becomes past chair.

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve as the Institute’s board chair and to work with such an amazing group of forward-thinking executives who are dedicated to providing equitable, high-quality care to all, especially our most vulnerable,” Cooper said. “This work makes a positive difference in the lives of our patients, and I look forward to a productive year as we advance the work of essential hospitals nationally on behalf of the communities we serve.”

The Institute’s chair-elect and secretary is Brenda Battle, MBA, RN, senior vice president of community health transformation and chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer of UChicago Medicine, in Chicago. Rohit Bhalla, MD, MPH, senior vice president and chief clinical and quality officer of Stamford Hospital, in Stamford, Conn., becomes treasurer. Siegel continues as recording secretary (ex officio).

New and Continuing Directors

America’s Essential Hospitals’ board welcomes these new at-large member directors:

  • Steve Arner, MBA, president and chief operating officer, Carilion Clinic, Roanoke, Va.
  • Danny Jacobs, MD, MPH, president, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Ore.
  • Dixie James, MBA, president, central region, Jefferson Health, Philadelphia.
  • Anita Jenkins, MBA, CEO, Howard University Hospital, Washington, D.C.
  • Shane Strum, MBA, president and CEO, Broward Health, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

These member leaders continue as at-large association board directors:

  • Nina Dusang, MBA, chief financial officer, DCH Health System, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
  • Chester Kunnappilly, MD, CEO, San Mateo Medical Center, San Mateo, Calif.
  • Sheldon McLeod, CEO, NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County, Brooklyn, N.Y.
  • Cam Patterson, MD, MBA, chancellor, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Ark.
  • Thomas Quatroche Jr., PhD, president and CEO, Erie County Medical Center, Buffalo, N.Y.
  • Israel Rocha Jr., MPA, CEO, Cook County Health, Chicago.
  • Albert Wright Jr., PharmD, MHA, president and CEO, West Virginia University Health System, Morgantown, W.Va.

The Institute board added these new member directors:

  • Luke Day, MD, chief medical officer, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, San Francisco.
  • Christopher Lombardozzi, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer, quality, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System, Spartanburg, S.C.
  • Wendy Wilcox, MD, MPH, MBA, chief women’s health officer, NYC Health + Hospitals, New York.

These member leaders continue as at-large Institute board directors:

  • Tim Curtin, MSW, MBA, executive director of community services, Memorial Healthcare System, Hollywood, Fla.
  • Michelle O’Keefe, MA, chief communications officer, Eskenazi Health, Indianapolis.
  • Shannon Sale, MHA, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, Grady Health System, Atlanta.
  • Deborah Visconi, MS, president and CEO, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, Paramus, N.J.

These leaders continue as outside, at-large Institute directors:

  • Melinda Abrams, MS, executive vice president for programs, The Commonwealth Fund, New York.
  • Anand Shah, MD, MS, vice president of social health, Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif.
  • Kevin Weiss, MD, MPH, MHSA, chief sponsoring institutions and clinical learning environment officer, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, Chicago.

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About America’s Essential Hospitals
America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading association and champion for hospitals dedicated to equitable, high-quality care for all, including those who face social and financial barriers to care. Since 1981, America’s Essential Hospitals has advanced policies and programs that promote health, health care access, and equity. We support our more than 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, education, and leadership development. Communities depend on essential hospitals for care across the continuum, health care workforce training, research, public health and health equity, and other services. Essential hospitals innovate and adapt to lead all of health care toward better outcomes and value. Learn more at

About Essential Hospitals Institute

Essential Hospitals Institute leads research, education, dissemination, and leadership development for America’s Essential Hospitals. To advance the quality, equity, safety, and affordability of care at essential hospitals, the Institute identifies promising practices in the field, provides professional development training, promotes practice improvements, and disseminates innovative approaches to care. It does this with an eye toward improving individual and population health, especially for underrepresented and marginalized people and communities.

Carl Graziano


About the Author

Dedicated staff at America's Essential Hospitals work together to produce high-quality, reliable content. Please view the about section for more details about staff.

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