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Elizabeth Wako becomes CEO of Swedish Health Services, and more | MED MOVES


Emory University medical school announces a new dean, MaineHealth hires a regional president, and other leaders take new roles.

Even when she began leading Swedish Health Services in an interim capacity, Elizabeth Wako says she was looking ahead.

Image: Swedish Health Services

Elizabeth Wako (Swedish Health Services)

“I already started moving forward,” Wako tells Chief Healthcare Executive®.

Part of her focus was on getting the final seal of approval for a new, $1.3 billion project for a new hospital in downtown Seattle. Providence Swedish announced the ambitious project in late November. Providence, the large health system based in Washington, has been affiliated with Swedish since 2012.

As she plans for the new hospital, Wako has a new title. Last month, she was named the president and CEO of Swedish Health Services. She had served as the interim leader for seven months.

The new 12-story tower is expected to be completed by the fall of 2027. The project also calls for a new, in-patient facility. The project will command much of Wako’s attention, and is needed to replace aging facilities.

“It's a pretty amazing project and an essential project,” Wako says.

However, Wako says she’s also focused on the caregivers and making Swedish “the best place to work.”

She says she’s focused on the question, “How do we make it desirable for our physicians and our clinicians to want to provide care in Swedish?”

Wako also says that she “is really thinking about our programs and the services that we provide our community, and elevating areas where we really are best in class, or certainly provide the best service in the Pacific Northwest.”

Wako began her career as a registered nurse working with psychiatric patients, and later earned her medical degree. She joined Swedish in 2011 and served as chief medical officer for the First Hill campus, and chief executive for First Hill and Cherry Hill campuses.

She’s also the first woman and first African-American to lead the organization.

Wako has been working on the new hospital project for years, and she’s excited to see it come to fruition.

“I started this project and really have followed this project,” she says.. “So for me, I just think that I'm incredibly lucky that I get to piggyback off the work of my predecessors and be the one to launch it. But, you know, I've been living and breathing this project for some time. We're very, very, very excited about it.”

Image: Emory University

Sandra L. Wong (Emory University)

Emory University medical school announces new dean

Sandra L. Wong has been named the next dean of Emory University School of Medicine.

She will also serve as the chief academic officer for Emory Healthcare. She’ll begin her new roles in March 2024.

Wong, a surgical oncologist, specializes in the management of soft tissue sarcomas, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. She is currently chair of the department of surgery at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. She also spent a decade at the University of Michigan as an attending physician and professor.

“I am honored and humbled to be named the dean at Emory University School of Medicine and am excited to work with the immensely talented and dedicated team at Emory University and Emory Healthcare to continue to build world-class patient care, research and education,” Wong said in a statement.

Wong has more than 250 peer-reviewed studies to her credit. She is an editorial board member of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons and the Journal of Surgical Oncology, a deputy editor for Annals of Surgical Oncology, and an associate editor for Annals of Surgery.

Emory University President Gregory L. Fenves says Wong possesses “tremendous experience and expertise.”

“As a surgeon and academic leader, Dr. Wong has saved lives, mentored generations of doctors and worked to eliminate health disparities in underserved populations,” Fenves said in a statement. “She will inspire and empower Emory’s community of talented physicians, scientists and trainees as the School of Medicine reaches new heights of eminence.”

Wong is also the first female medical school dean in Emory’s history.

Image: MaineHealth

Britt Crewse (MaineHealth)

MaineHealth appoints regional president

Britt Crewse has been named the new regional president at MaineHealth.

The system announced that Crewse will serve as regional president overseeing operations at Maine Medical Center in Portland and Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford and Sanford.

He will assume his role in January 2024.

“MaineHealth’s care team has an incredible reputation for providing patient-centered care, educating caregivers and researching better ways to provide care,” Crewse said in a statement. “It’s that mission, the dedicated professionals behind it and the positive impact they have together on the communities they serve that drew me to Maine Medical Center and Southern Maine Health Care.”

Andrew Mueller, CEO of MaineHealth, hailed Crewse’s “commitment to providing high-quality healthcare.”

“Britt comes to us with more than 30 years of healthcare experience and an impressive list of accomplishments,” Mueller said in a statement. “In getting to know Britt, it became clear to us that he shares MaineHealth’s passion for our vision of working together so our communities are the healthiest in America and I believe he will make excellent contributions to our care team.”

Crewse has served as the chief executive officer of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss. since 2020. Previously, he had leadership roles at Duke University Health System in Durham, N.C., Ernst & Young LLP, and Memorial Medical Center in Savannah, Ga.

Image: University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Steven Webber (University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences)

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences names dean

Steven Webber has been named executive vice chancellor and dean of the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

He will take the post on March 1.

Webber joins UAMS from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he is a professor and chair of the department of pediatrics. He also serves as pediatrician-in-chief of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

He said he is “deeply honored to join UAMS.

“I look forward to working with the UAMS community to advance the clinical, educational and discovery missions of the university, and to share in the common goal of improving the health and well-being of all those living in Arkansas and the surrounding region,” Webber said in a statement.

Before joining Vanderbilt in 2012, Webber served as chief of the division of pediatric cardiology, co-director of the Heart Institute, and medical director of the thoracic transplantation program at the University of Pittsburgh and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

“Dr. Webber is a remarkable physician, researcher and administrator who has accomplished wonderful things at Vanderbilt,” Cam Patterson, UAMS chancellor and CEO of UAMS Health, said in a statement. “I look forward to working with him as we accomplish great things at UAMS.”

Image: PeriGen Inc.

John Parker (PeriGen)

PeriGen names new chief medical officer

John Parker has been named the new chief medical officer of PeriGen Inc., which offers software solutions for obstetrics.

Parker has 16 years of experience in obstetrics and gynecology. He joins PeriGen from OhioHealth, where he has held leadership roles in perinatal quality and as associate program director of the residency program at Riverside Methodist Hospital.

He also brings experience in software development as a developer and designer before moving into medicine.

“John is a bit of a unicorn given his knowledge of systems design and development and practical experience as a physician leader and educator,” Matthew Sappern, PeriGen CEO, said in a statement. “He is exceptional at helping PeriGen clients understand how to best leverage PeriGen analytics within their workflow.”

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