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TOP 10: Women in health care leadership roles

Women dominate the health care workforce by a ratio of 3 to 1, according to Modern Healthcare. But organizations need to develop and expand efforts that...

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|Apr 27|magazine12 min read

Women dominate the health care workforce by a ratio of 3 to 1, according to Modern Healthcare. But organizations need to develop and expand efforts that promote opportunity for women at the top levels of management.

Progress in recent years has increased the number of women in the health care C-suite but there is more work to be done.

According to the American Hospital Association, 26 percent of hospital and health system CEOs in 2014 were women. That is a large gender gap.

While reaching gender diversity in health care leadership is still a work in progress, Modern Healthcare recently highlighted the top 25 women in health care. Here are the top 10.

1. Leah Binder

Under Binder’s leadership as president of the Leapfrog Group, a not-for-profit focused on improving safety and quality in hospitals, Leapfrog launched the Hospital Safety Score, which assigns letter grades to hospitals across the country.

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2. Maureen Bisognano

As president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Bisognano, 62, advises healthcare leaders on issues such as patient-centered care, value-driven change, population health and operational challenges. She also advocates for IHI’s triple aim of better care, better health and lower per-capita costs—which many healthcare organizations have adopted to guide systemwide transformation. 

3. Marna Borgstrom

Borgstrom, CEO of the Yale New Haven Health System, has been with the organization since the beginning of her professional career. After earning a master’s degree in public health from Yale in 1979, she worked as a postgraduate fellow with Yale-New Haven Hospital, the system’s flagship.

4. Deborah Bowen

Bowen is president and CEO of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the professional association for healthcare’s current and next generation of leaders. More than 40,000 industry managers and executives turn to the organization for career development and networking events.

5. Mary Brainerd

Brainerd has been president and CEO of HealthPartners since 2002, and has been with the organization since 1992. Brainerd, 60, oversees a system of more than 22,000 employees, including seven hospitals, 55 primary-care clinics, 22 urgent-care sites and more than 1,700 physicians.

6. Ruth Brinkley

Brinkley has been the CEO of KentuckyOne Health since it was created through the 2012 merger of Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare and St. Joseph Health System. She joined the Louisville-based system after serving as CEO of Ascension Health’s Carondelet Health Network in Tucson, Ariz.

7. Sylvia Mathews Burwell

As HHS secretary, Burwell, 49, oversees a trillion-dollar agency with nearly 80,000 workers. Since taking the top post in June of 2014, Burwell has also been the Obama administration’s public face on implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Before joining HHS, Burwell spent just over a year as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

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8. Debra Cafaro

When Cafaro became CEO of Ventas in 1999, she had a law degree and experience in real estate finance, but none in healthcare. She has plenty now. The real estate investment trust she leads specializes in healthcare properties, claiming a portfolio of more than 1,600 assets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Cafaro, 57, ranked 27th last year among the best-performing CEOs in the world, according to the Harvard Business Review, based on its estimate that Ventas produced a 1,636 percent return for investors during her tenure.

9. Dr. Christine Cassel

Cassel, 69, has been president and CEO of the National Quality Forum since 2013. Before that, she was CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine and the ABIM Foundation. She was the first female president of the American College of Physicians and the first female dean of Oregon Health & Sciences University. She also sits on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. 

10. Pamela Cipriano

Last June, Cipriano was elected president of the American Nurses Association. The century-old labor organization advocates on behalf of the country’s more than 3 million registered nurses. Cipriano, 61, is also a research associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Nursing.

For the full list of women and more information on each, read the full story here

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