MED MOVES: Meet Amwell's new chief medical officer, and more

In other executive news, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center names a new health equity officer, WellSpan Health chooses a new COO, and other leaders take new roles.

Carrie Nelson has been named the new chief medical officer of Amwell, the digital health company.

Nelson will focus on enabling provider and payer organizations to achieve greater clinical, operational, and financial outcomes. The company said she will also be responsible for leading clients in their improvement of population health and will have clinical oversight of healthcare professionals practicing with Amwell’s clinical partner, the Amwell Medical Group.

She brings more than 28 years of experience in family medicine. Most recently, Nelson served as Advocate Aurora Health’s senior vice president and CMO for population health and health outcomes. She also served as the chief clinical officer for Advocate Physician Partners.

“As a physician, I am passionate about improving patient care and have a deep understanding of the unique challenges that care teams face every day,” Nelson said in a statement.

“These challenges have only worsened following the pandemic, and I believe that technology has the power to improve outcomes and address the retention and burnout crisis currently facing our healthcare system,” she said. “I am excited to have the opportunity to help deliver on Amwell’s vision for empowering digital care delivery, as we work to enable an integrated experience across a full spectrum of physical, virtual and automated care – and make it easier for healthcare organizations to achieve their digital care delivery goals.”

Nelson also served as president of the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians. She has chaired the American Academy of Family Physicians Commission on Science and Health of the Public.

Ohio State medical center hires health equity officer

Chyke A. Doubeni has been hired as chief health equity officer of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

He will lead the Office of Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Doubeni will take the new post effective July 1.

Doubeni will also be the associate director for diversity, equity and inclusion for The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. And he will hold a faculty appointment in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Doubeni is the director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Health Equity and Community Engagement Research. In addition, he serves as director of the community engagement program in the Mayo Clinic Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and professor of family medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.

Doubeni will succeed Cheryl Lee, who has served as interim director since July 2021 and is credited with launching the Office of Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Lee will continue to chair the Department of Urology.

Dr. Andrew Thomas, interim co-leader and chief clinical officer at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, said in a news release that Doubeni “has dedicated his career to promoting health and well-being in underserved populations.”

“His exceptional experience as a physician, researcher and administrator will further our commitment to diversity, inclusion and health equity, and position our institution as a preeminent leader in advancing health equity in our community and nationally,” Thomas said.

WellSpan Health chooses executive VP, COO

Faraaz Yousuf has joined WellSpan Health as executive vice president and chief operating officer.

In his new role, Yousuf will focus on continued growth and integration of WellSpan’s footprint in central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland. He will operate in partnership with Dr. Anthony Aquilina, executive vice president and chief physician executive, who joined the health system in May 2020.

Yousuf will succeed current executive vice president and chief operating officer John Porter, who will retire on June 30, 2022.

“I am eager to learn from the talented leaders and other members of the team who are delivering on WellSpan’s vision of being a trusted partner to our communities,” Yousuf said in a statement. “I am confident my experience will strengthen the performance of the WellSpan system as we lead the region in high-value care.”

Before joining WellSpan, Yousuf served at Bon Secours Mercy Health in Richmond, Virginia, where he served as market president for the non-profit Catholic health system, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. At Bon Secours, he led seven hospitals, 139 physician offices, an accountable care organization and a network of physicians.

Before his work at Bon Secours, Yousuf held leadership roles in health systems such as Hospital Corporation of America, Sutter Health and LifeBridge Health. Yousuf will succeed current executive vice president and chief operating officer John Porter, who will retire on June 30, 2022.

WVU Health System selects executive VP

Carrie E. Willetts has been named as both executive vice president of healthcare integration and business development for the West Virginia University Health System and president and CEO of WVU Medicine Uniontown Hospital.

She will start her new roles this fall.

“I have been impressed by WVU Medicine’s strategic direction for quite some time and am excited to be a part of such an innovative and agile organization,” Willetts said in a news release.

“The vision and positive culture are very evident throughout the organization; I look forward to being a part of WVU Medicine as we work to make healthcare more accessible and affordable to the communities we serve,” she said.

Willetts most recently served as the senior vice president and east region market president with WellSpan Health, based in York, Pa. She joined that health system in 2016 as a hospital president. As market president, Willetts oversaw strategic growth and operations of three hospitals and an ambulatory network.

Willetts has previously held leadership roles at Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk, Va., and the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville, Va.,

Albert L. Wright, Jr., president and CEO of the West Virginia University (WVU) Health System, said in a statement he’s excited to bring Willetts aboard.

“She’s a highly accomplished healthcare executive with a long and distinguished career, and I’m thrilled that she’ll be bringing her high energy and many talents to the Health System,” Wright said.

Nebraska health system finds new CFO

Summer Owen has been named the new chief financial officer of Great Plains Health in North Platte, Nebraska.

Owen began her work in the new role on June 13. She has 18 years of experience in healthcare finance, and has spent the past eight years in a chief financial officer role with LifePoint Health in Fort Morgan, Colorado.

In that role, Owen led financial operations for a hospital with 50 acute care beds, a geriatric behavioral health unit, a home care agency and multiple outreach locations.

“Joining the team at Great Plains Health is an exciting step,” Owen said in a statement. “I am impressed by this organization’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of Greater Nebraska. I am eager to contribute to the continued success of this organization and community.”

Great Plains Health is a 116-bed acute-care regional medical center serving western and central Nebraska, northern Kansas and southern South Dakota.

Texas hospital announces new CEO

Michael La Coste has been named the new chief executive officer of Gonzales Healthcare Systems in central Texas.

La Coste comes to Gonzales Healthcare Systems from Steward Healthcare in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Gonzales organization said he has strong ties to central Texas. He will assume his duties in his new role in mid-July, the system said.

Gonzales chose La Coste after an extensive search for a new leader, the organization said.

La Coste has 18 years of experience in healthcare leadership roles, including MD Anderson Cancer Center. He has served as a chief operating officer for the last 7 years at hospitals in Brownsville and Laredo before heading to Steward in Florida.La Coste served in the U.S. Army. He was honorably discharged as a Captain after serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and in the Kosovo campaign.

Gonzales Healthcare Systems is a hospital district managed by QHR Health out of Nashville, Tennessee, but remains an independent healthcare provider.