Alumni Spotlight is pleased to announce The Top 100 Healthcare Executives of 2021. We recognize these extraordinary individuals for their positive impact on patients, communities, and their colleagues in the healthcare field. They are the cornerstone of patient care and operational excellence at each of the facilities and companies they lead. This year’s awardees guide medical centers and hospitals, health insurance groups, medical technology companies as well as other healthcare organizations and show their continuous dedication year after year. Their depth of knowledge, focus and collaboration has led to their career successes.
Kayode Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine, leads their organization in medical superiority and world-class care. Maurie Markman, President of Medicine and Science at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, guides their teams into new territories with advancements in cancer care and treatment delivery. Monika Roots, Co-Founder, President and Chief Medical Officer of Bend Health, has dedicated herself to providing easy access to expert mental health treatment for individuals and families in 32 states. Not only do they commit their time and energy to the healthcare field, but their work also provides hope and healing to so many in need. Their leadership is a crucial piece to the healthcare field and provides a foundation for continuous improvement and progress for individuals across the country.
Please join us in celebrating the achievements of the Top 100 Healthcare Executives of 2021.
1. Hemal Gada
Hemal Gada began his professional career over 16 years ago. Today, he is the President of the Heart and Vascular Institute of UPMC Pinnacle. The largest non-governmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates 92,000 employees, 40 hospitals and 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites. They are a nationally recognized leader in providing high-quality, patient-centered health care services in central Pennsylvania and surrounding rural communities.
Gada first got his start in 2005 as an internal medicine resident at Washington University School of Medicine. From there, he went on to Cleveland Clinic, before eventually becoming an assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers University, his most recent position prior to joining UPMC Pinnacle. Gada graduated from the University of Michigan - Stephen M. Ross School of Business with an MBA and from the University of Michigan Medical School with an MD.
10. Maurie Markman
Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Maurie Markman began his professional career 44 years ago. Today, he is the President of Medicine and Science at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). CTCA has continued to help lead the way in changing the delivery of cancer care, providing each patient a comprehensive treatment plan tailored specifically to his or her needs, goals and lifestyle.
Markman first got his start in 1977 as a chief resident of internal medicine at Bellevue Hospital-New York University Medical Center. From there, he went on to the National Cancer Institute before eventually rising to chairman for the Department of Gynecologic Medical Oncology at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Markman graduated from New York University with a master’s degree in health policy and management, from New York University School of Medicine with an MD and from the University of Southern California with an undergraduate degree in biology.
14. Scott Nygaard
Scott Nygaard is the Chief Operating Officer of Lee Health. He first joined the health system in 2010 as chief medical officer for physician services and network development. Lee Health is the leading provider of health care in Southwest Florida and serves the citizens of Lee County and surrounding communities.
Previously, Nygaard was a senior vice president for corporate services at Via Christi Health and before that a chief medical officer at Affinity Health System. Earlier in his career he worked with University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics as a resident of internal medicine. Nygaard earned an MBA from the University of St. Thomas - Opus College of Business, an MD from the University of Minnesota Medical School, and an undergraduate degree in biology from Hamline University.
19. Roger Bies
Roger Bies is the Chief Medical Officer of Dignity Health. Dignity Health provides quality, compassionate health care at more than 40 hospitals and care centers serving communities across California, Arizona, and Nevada. Bies has 29 years of experience in the hospital and healthcare field. He began his career in 1992.
Before joining Dignity Health, Bies was a senior managing partner at Central Arizona Heart Specialists and before that a founder and executive director at the Heart Health Organization. Earlier in his career he worked with the Institute of Molecular Genetics as a professor. Bies graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine with an MD and from the University of Colorado Denver with an undergraduate degree in chemistry and biology.
26. Phyllis Mason
Natchitoches Regional Medical Center
Phyllis Mason is the Chief Medical Officer of Natchitoches Regional Medical Center. Natchitoches Regional Medical Center serves Natchitoches, Winn, and Sabine parishes of Louisiana. They offer a continuum of care from newborns to centennials and are solely focused on the wellbeing of all those entrusted to their care.
Mason graduated from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center with an MD, from the University of Texas at Tyler with an MPA and from Grambling State University with an undergraduate degree in chemistry.
35. James Wantuck
James Wantuck is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of PlushCare. PlushCare provides same-day doctor’s appointments from wherever the patients are. Patients can book a visit to see a doctor from the top 50 U.S. medical schools or see a therapist through their online therapy program. Wantuck has 11 years of experience in the healthcare field. He began his career in 2010.
Before joining PlushCare, Wantuck was an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and before that a physician at Palo Alto VA Hospital. Earlier in his career he worked with Stanford University Medical Center as a resident physician. Wantuck graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine with an MD and from the University of Pittsburgh with an undergraduate degree in chemistry and neuroscience.
View the complete list of awardees.
41. Stephen Gordon
Stephen Gordon is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Edenbridge Health. Edenbridge Health is a mission-driven, for-profit care delivery organization founded in 2016 with the mission of providing comprehensive, integrated, community-based, and person-centered care to the elderly. Gordon has 8 years of experience in the hospital and healthcare field. He began his career in 2013.
Before joining Edenbridge Health, Gordon was a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and before that a staff physician at Uphams Corner Health Center. Earlier in his career he worked with Hebrew SeniorLife as an attending physician. Gordon graduated from Yale University School of Medicine with an MD, from The Wharton School with an MBA and from Harvard University with an undergraduate degree in history and science.
47. Kris Giese
Providence Medical Center
Kris Giese is the Chief Operating Officer for Providence Medical Center in Nebraska. She first joined the medical center in 2013 as the director for allied health and ancillary services. Providence Medical Center offers acute, skilled/swing-bed care, palliative care, as well as Medicare certified Home Health, Hospice, and private pay personal care. The non-profit hospital remains one of the best small, rural hospitals in northeast Nebraska, employing nearly 200 individuals, and providing state-of-the-art healthcare to more than 15,000 area residents.
Prior to joining Providence Medical Center, Giese was a director for laboratory services at Mercy Medical Center in Iowa. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management with a master’s degree in healthcare administration.
50. Sarju Shah
Sarju Shah is the Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director for Beaumont ACO of Beaumont Health. He first joined the system in 1994 as a medical director. Beaumont Health is Michigan’s largest health care system. It was formed in 2014 to provide patients with compassionate, extraordinary care, no matter where they live in Southeast Michigan.
Previously, Shah was a private practitioner at Cherry Hill Medical Group. Earlier in his career he worked with the United States Air Force as an Occupational Health Physician. Shah earned an MBA from the University of Detroit Mercy and an undergraduate degree in medicine and surgery in India.
51. Michael Baker
Michael Baker is a Chief Operating Officer for UnitedHealth Group. UnitedHealth Group is a health and well-being company that offers health care products and insurance services. They are committed to helping individuals live healthier lives by providing a health system that works for everyone. Baker has 27 years of experience in the hospital and healthcare field. He began his career in 1994.
Before joining UnitedHealth Group, Baker was a vice president and chief of staff at First Data Corporation and before that a manager of consumer contact centers with The Hershey Company. Earlier in his career he worked with First Data Corporation as a manager. Baker graduated from Dartmouth College with a master’s in healthcare delivery science and from the University of Phoenix with an MBA.
53. Kristine Donahue
Kristine Donahue is the Chief Operating Officer of Beaumont Health, Michigan’s largest health care system. Their culture of caring partnerships and care delivery model of patient and family-centered care demonstrates their commitment to engaging patients, their family, and the community to promote continuous health care improvements. Donahue has over 8 years of experience in the hospital and health care field. She began her career in 2013.
Donahue graduated from Central Michigan University with a master’s in health and healthcare administration & management and from Oakland University with an undergraduate degree in nursing.
57. Eithne-Marie Barton
Community Health Alliance Nevada
Eithne-Marie Barton began her professional career 25 years ago. Today, she is the Chief Medical Officer of Community Health Alliance Nevada. The Community Health Alliance Nevada provides a wide range of services, including medical, dental, and behavioral health care. As a Federally Qualified Health Center, they also provide community education on health issues and outreach to underserved populations.
Barton first got her start in 1996 as an assistant director for the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago. From there, she went on to the Chicago Health and Aging Project, before eventually rising to a geriatric fellow at Beaumont Health, her most recent position prior to joining Community Health Alliance Nevada. Barton graduated from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine with a DO and from Carleton College with an undergraduate degree in American history.
63. Barbara Jacobs
Anne Arundel Medical Center
Barbara Jacobs is the Vice President of Nursing and Chief Nurse Officer of Anne Arundel Medical Center. AAMC has been a beacon for the community with recognition for its joint replacement center, emergency heart attack response and cancer care. They are committed to lighting the way, not just for their patients, but for their entire community.
Previously, Jacobs was a senior director and chief nurse officer at Suburban Hospital and before that a director for critical care at George Washington University Hospital. Jacobs earned an MSN from The George Washington University and an undergraduate degree in nursing from the University of Rochester.
View the complete list of awardees.
71. Michael-Anne Browne
Stanford Children’s Health
Michael-Anne Brown is the Associate Chief Medical Officer of Accountable Care with Stanford Children’s Health | Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. Stanford Children’s Health is the largest health care system in the San Francisco Bay Area and one of the few in the country exclusively dedicated to pediatric and obstetric care.
Prior to joining Stanford Children’s Health, Browne was a medical director for Blue Shield of California. She was also previously an executive consultant with Medical Pathways and a medical director for FHP Healthcare in California. Brown graduated from Stanford University with an undergraduate degree in human biology and from the University of California Irvine with an MD.
77. Chris Ward
Comanche County Memorial Hospital
Chris Ward is the Chief Nursing Officer at Comanche County Memorial Hospital, an independent, non-profit, acute care facility that prides itself on putting the patient first and providing award-winning care. The hospital is located in Southwest Oklahoma and provides emergency, surgical and primary care services to the surrounding community. Ward has nearly 45 years of experience in the hospital and healthcare field. He began his career in 1979.
Prior to joining Comanche County Memorial Hospital, Ward held interim positions as a director for an emergency department, chief nursing officer and case management director for various medical facilities. He earned a BSN from Liberty University, an MSN from the University of Phoenix, and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt from Motorola University.
81. Nicole Telhiard
Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center
Nicole Telhiard is the Chief Nursing Officer of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. She first joined the center in 1993 as a vice president for children’s services. Our Lady of the Lake is a not-for-profit 850-bed medical center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with more than 7,300 employees committed to building a healthy community through excellence in patient care and education.
Telhiard earned a doctorate in nursing practice from Rush University, a master’s degree in nursing from Loyola University in New Orleans and an undergraduate degree in nursing from Southeastern Louisiana University.
84. Michael Paolello
New Bridge Medical Center
Michael Paolello began his professional career 31 years ago. Today, he is the Chief Clinical Officer for Addictions Treatment with New Bridge Medical Center. New Bridge Medical Center, a clinical affiliate of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, is the largest hospital in New Jersey and provides a continuum of health care services in critical areas including behavioral health, medical detox and substance abuse treatment, long term care and acute care.
In 1990 Paolello was a director for substance abuse treatment at Hoboken University Medical Center which is his most recent position prior to joining New Bridge Medical Center. Paolello graduated from New Jersey City University with a master’s degree in psychology.
87. Lori Popkes
Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center
Lori Popkes is the Chief Nursing Officer of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center. As a member of Avera Health, the region's largest and strongest health care network, their patients at Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center receive excellent care of the highest clinical quality.
Previously, Popkes was an associate chief nursing officer at Avera McKennan and before that an assistant vice president for women and children's services at Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center. Popkes earned an MBA from Colorado Technical University-Sioux Falls and an undergraduate degree in nursing from Augustana College.
96. Pamela Hermon
Pamela Hermon began her professional career 20 years ago. Today, she is the Chief Operating Officer of Lakeview Village, a leading and largest Continuing Care Retirement Community in Kansas. Its range of services includes independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, in-home care and rehabilitation services, as well as a variety of amenities and support services for people 62 and older.
In 2001 Hermon was a director of nursing services at Aberdeen Village. From there, she went on to Brandon Woods where she was the director of nursing. Hermon graduated from Labette Community College with an undergraduate degree in nursing.
99. Linzi O'Laughlin
Nursing Beyond Borders
Linzi O'Laughlin is the President of Nursing Beyond Borders. Nursing Beyond Borders is a 501(c)3 public charity which exists to deliver preventative healthcare and education to children and their communities on a global scale. O'Laughlin has over 13 years of experience in the hospital and healthcare field. She began her career in 2008.
Before joining Nursing Beyond Borders, O'Laughlin was a registered nurse at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles and before that a PACU registered nurse at UCLA Health. Earlier in her career she also worked with Children’s Mercy Hospital as a registered nurse. O'Laughlin graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with an undergraduate degree in nursing.
View the complete list of awardees.