TOP 10: Most Influential Physician Executives of 2015
Every year, Modern Healthcare compiles a list of the most influential physician leaders. This year’s ballot was composed of 150 names based on nominations from readers (a total of 23,000 ballots were submitted).
As in previous years, readers’ votes counted for 50 percent of the outcome while the other 50 percent was based on the opinions of senior editors at the brand to determine the final ranking.
The following names made it to the top of the list.
10. Gary Kaplan
Dr. Gary Kaplan has been CEO and chairman of the Virginia Mason Health System in Seattle since 2000. Kaplan, 63, is a practicing internist and chairman of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s board. He pioneered the standardization of health care procedures by developing a customized version of the Toyota Production System.
9. Charles Sorensen
Dr. Charles Sorenson has been president and CEO of Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare since 2008, where he oversees a network that includes 22 hospitals, more than 185 clinics and 1,100 physicians. A board-certified urologic surgeon, Sorenson has served as chairman of the committee on young surgeons for the American College of Surgeons, president of the Utah Urologic Society and as speaker of the House of Delegates of the Utah Medical Association.
8. Karen DeSalvo
Dr. Karen DeSalvo, 49, is the fifth physician to be named head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS, serving in that role since early 2014. Before her appointment at ONC, DeSalvo was the health commissioner for New Orleans and senior health policy adviser for New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
7. James Madara
Dr. James Madara is executive vice president and CEO of the American Medical Association, serving in those roles since 2011. A pathologist by training, Madara is recognized as an authority on epithelial cell biology and gastrointestinal disease. Madara has served as president of the American Board of Pathology, editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Pathology, and is a past recipient of a prestigious MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health.
6. John Noseworthy
Dr. John Noseworthy has been president and CEO of the Mayo Clinic since 2009. A neurologist by training, Noseworthy, 63, is widely known for his two decades of research in multiple sclerosis. Since joining the Mayo Clinic in 1990, Noseworthy has held several leadership positions, including chair of Mayo’s Department of Neurology, chair of the Science Committee of the American Academy of Neurology in 2006, and he served a stint as editor-in-chief of the journal Neurology.
5. Jonathan Perlin
Dr. Jonathan Perlin serves as president of clinical services and chief medical officer at HCA, the country’s largest hospital chain by revenue. Before joining the Nashville-based company in 2006, Perlin, 54, was undersecretary for health at the Veterans Affairs Department, the VA’s top healthcare post.
4. Atul Gawande
Dr. Atul Gawande is a best-selling author, Harvard professor, surgeon and public health researcher. Gawande, who practices general and endocrine surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, wrote the New York Times best-selling books “Complications,” “Better,” and “The Checklist Manifesto,” which promoted the idea of using checklists to prevent medical errors. Gawande, 49, is also executive director of Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation.
3. Thomas Frieden
Since 2009, Dr. Thomas Frieden has served as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the nation’s health protection agency. He leads initiatives that help the U.S. to reduce the impact of chronic diseases, and to prepare for, rapidly detect and respond quickly to infectious diseases, food-bourne illnesses and other potential outbreaks. Frieden, 54, also worked as a CDC epidemic intelligence service officer in New York City and is a former commissioner of the city’s health department.
2. Richard Gilfillan
Dr. Richard Gilfillan became president and CEO of Trinity Health in 2013, the same year the Livonia, Mich.-based system finalized the combination of Trinity Health and Catholic Health East. Gilfillan, 65, joined Trinity after stepping down as director of the CMS’ Innovation Center, the Affordable Care Act laboratory for new healthcare delivery models that was launched with Gilfillan as its first director in 2010.
1. Robert Watcher
Dr. Robert Wachter, 57, is associate chairman of the department of medicine and chief of the division of hospital medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, where he has been practicing since 1995. One year later, he became widely known for coining the term “hospitalist” and forecasting the ensuing boom of inpatient medicine specialists.
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