Top 20 Health Administrators of the Decade

by Linda on September 2, 2010

Less than a handful of the following top 20 health administrators of the decade began their careers during the past ten years. Most of the honorees began their health careers at least two decades prior, but their efforts have accumulated to present some of the most rewarding health administrative careers to date for this century. Additionally, you can discover that not all health administrators studied management in college, as these leaders came from various walks of life. All twenty individuals are listed alphabetically by surname.

  1. Doug AretzDoug Aretz: Aertz recently served as administrator of St. Benedicts’ Senior Community in St. Cloud, Minn. Currently, Aretz joined Bayshore Health Center, and he also created Evolving Aretz, L.L.C., creating a new “Safe-Side Barrel” and other products that promote healthcare, ergonomics and safety.
  2. Nancy BrinkerNancy Brinker: Ms. Brinker probably never conceived a career as a health administrator until her sister died from breast cancer. A cancer survivor herself, Brinker took the Susan G. Komen foundation from a dream to a nonprofit that has raised over $1.5 billion, making it the largest breast cancer charity in the world.
  3. Patricia CahillPatricia Cahill: Although Cahill attributes her steady climb to becoming president and CEO of Catholic Health Initiatives as “being in the right place at the right time,” it was Cahill’s skills and ability to work with others that helped her in her career. She would serve in that role from 1996 to 2003, when the Board of Stewardship Trustees created the Patricia A. Cahill Leadership Initiative.
  4. Joy Garrison CauffmanJoy Garrison Cauffman: Cauffman’s research into detecting colorectal cancer resulted in life-saving changes in screening techniques. Based on her results, physicians around the world began to advise their patients to schedule sigmoidoscopies and colonoscopies. Retired for 13 years, she recently completed a 10-year study to determine the effect of continuing medical education on physician performance and patient health care outcomes.
  5. James DicksonJames J. Dickson: This administrator and CEO of Copper Queen Community Hospital has been elected as the 2010-2011 president of the Arizona Rural Health Association. In 2002 and 2009, he was honored with the Arizona Healthcare Rural Healthcare Professional of the Year award, and in 2009 he was the winner of the Inspiring Rural Health Program Award for Teledermatology as well as Arizona’s recipient of the American Hospital Association (AHA) 2009 Partnership for Action Grassroots Champion Award.
  6. Gary GlasscockGary M. Glasscock, F.A.C.H.E.: In his more than thirty-year career in healthcare administration, Mr. Glasscock created numerous innovative hospital programs. Mr. Glasscock currently serves as President and CEO of Noland Health Services, Inc. In 1986, Mr. Glasscock was recognized by Hospital Magazine as one of the fifty top young healthcare leaders for the 21st Century.
  7. Kathryn Hall-TrujilloKathryn Hall-Trujillo: As public health administrator for the state of California, Hall-Trujillo came up with the Birthing Project USA, an organization that battles high infant mortality rates by pairing pregnant women with volunteer “sister friends” who provide guidance and support through pregnancy and the first year of the baby’s life. Hall-Trujillo quit her job to work on the Birthing Project full time.
  8. Mark HuntMark Hunt: After graduation in 1985, Hunt began his 20-plus years of diverse health care experience at Central Baptist Hospital as an administrative resident. He later received his Master’s of Public Health in Health Policy and Management completed coursework toward a Ph.D. in Health Administration at the University of South Carolina. Over the years he has formed and developed several companies.
  9. Rush JordanL.R. “Rush” Jordan: Jordan, who died in 2009, was a pioneer in introducing business management practices to traditional health care delivery. Mr. Jordan’s tenure as CEO of Birmingham Baptist Hospitals began in 1965, where he helped lay the foundation for what is today the Baptist Health System.
  10. Brian KeeleyBrian E. Keeley: As CEO of Coral Gables-based Baptist Health for the past three decades, Keeley has overseen expansion to 100,000 patients per year and over 13,000 employees. His company has been recognized as one of the best companies to work for by Fortune magazine five times since 1998, including the last three years in a row.
  11. Christopher MetsgarChristopher Metsgar: Metsgar joined HealthONE EMS in January 2010 as the Clinical Coordinator for the Paramedic Education Program. He also coordinates development of the online CE offered by HealthONE EMS. Christopher holds Bachelor and Master Degrees from Texas Tech University Health Science Center School of Allied Health in Clinical Practice Management. He created and taught the state’s first online EMT Intermediate program for college credit.
  12. Sean NelsonSean H. Nelson: Nelson, Chief of external affairs and strategic planning, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, recently was selected as one of the Top 20 business people in their their 20s in Cleveland, OH. Currently, the 29-year-old will oversee construction of a $100 million bed tower and a $130 million complex. Mr. Nelson is on the VA’s fast track to moving up the corporate ladder.
  13. Carl PlatouCarl Platou: In 1952, Platou became administrator of tiny Fairview Hospital on Riverside Avenue in Minneapolis. Platou found a way for Fairview to expand into the suburbs, and his unlikely inspiration was federal bank regulations that had allowed holding companies to form and to operate multiple banks within their regions. Currently, Platou is a driving force behind the foundation’s effort to raise more than $125 million in private funds for a world-class biomedical research park.
  14. Austin RossAustin Ross: Ross spent his entire career at the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, and was inducted into Modern Healthcare’s Health Care Hall of Fame on March 21 this year. Ross retired in 1991 as vice president and executive administrator. Currently he serves as a member of the Virginia Mason Medical Center Board of Governors and professor emeritus of Health Services at the UW School of Public Health.
  15. Ruth RothsteinRuth Rothstein: As Chief of Cook County Bureau of Health Services, the third largest public health system in the nation, 79-year-old Ruth Rothstein oversees an immense safety net for the disadvantaged. Eventually, Rothstein’s work would help pave the way for the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, which opened in 2002 as a replacement for Cook County Hospital. Also, Rothstein expanded Cook County’s community clinics from six to 30, which led to the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center.
  16. Dr. SchoenrichDr. Edyth H. Schoenrich: Dr. Schoenric was the first woman to be appointed to the American Board of Preventive Medicine in 1971. Most recently, Dr. Schoenrich has been deeply involved in designing and implementing flexible programs to facilitate graduate study programs in public health for working health professionals.
  17. Colleen SpikeColleen Spike: Under Spike’s guidance as chief executive officer, River’s Edge Hospital & Clinic grew from a 38-bed facility to a 30-acre health care campus providing care for St. Peter, all of Le Sueur and Nicollet counties and portions of Blue Earth and Sibley counties in Minnesota. Spike and River’s Edge both have received numerous awards for their rural health care growth and leadership.
  18. Dr. WallerDr. Robert Waller: Until 1986, the Mayo Clinic hadn’t even owned a hospital — until Waller became a key proponent for diversification as part of Mayo’s board of trustees. Two years later, Waller became president and CEO of the Mayo Foundation. An ophthalmologist by training, Dr. Waller rejoined the board of directors of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement for a second term in 2004 and currently serves as Chair of that board.
  19. Gail WardenGail L. Warden: Gail L. Warden currently is President Emeritus of Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, Michigan. Warden would go on to serve on the Institute of Medicine committee that produced the groundbreaking To Err is Human report published in 1999 that detailed how as many as 98,000 people die every year from medical errors and that changed how healthcare was viewed throughout the first decade of this century.
  20. Stuart WesburyStuart A. Wesbury Jr.: Dr. Wesbury served as the president of the American College of Hospital Administrators for 12 years, changing the name of that organization to ACHE and broadening its membership to include more minorities and women. The Stuart A. Wesbury, Jr. Postgraduate Fellowship was established in 1991 to further postgraduate education in healthcare and professional society management.

Did you enjoy this article?


Previous Post: 19 Tools and Resources Worth Bookmarking on

Next Post: Top 10 Most Influential Health Administration Professors