MED MOVES: Wright Lassiter jumps to CommonSpirit Health, and more

In other news, Akron Children's Hospital names new academic leader, UCLA's cancer center names new diversity chief, and others take new roles.

Wright L. Lassiter III will take over one of America’s largest health systems.

Lassiter, the CEO of Henry Ford Health, has agreed to become the next chief executive officer of CommonSpirit Health, starting on Aug. 1. He will succeed Lloyd H. Dean, who announced his plans to retire last year.

The CEO of Henry Ford Health since 2016, Lassiter possesses more than 30 years of experience and is well versed at managing large health systems. When he takes over at CommonSpirit, Lassiter will lead a system of 140 hospitals and more than 1,500 sites of care across 21 states. CommonSpirit, a nonprofit Catholic system, operates brands including Dignity Health, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, CHI Health, Centura Health, and Baylor St. Luke’s.

Lassiter is also the chairman of the board of the American Hospital Association.

He has led Henry Ford Health through the COVID-19 pandemic. During a forum organized by the AHA in January, Lassiter saluted the staff as it just endured the peak in COVID-19 hospitalizations due to the Omicron variant. “Our organization continues to bear a significant burden,” he said in January.

At CommonSpirit, Lassiter will focus on strengthening the system financially in the wake of the pandemic and supporting the health of the system’s doctors, nurses and staff.

“CommonSpirit plays a special and indispensable role in communities across America,” Lassiter said in a statement.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead this organization, which is a driving force for access to high-quality, essential services for all," he said. "I look forward to working with CommonSpirit’s Board, leadership team, our talented nurses and physicians, and all of our employees to help advance the health of those we serve.”

UCLA cancer center choose new diversity leader

Amy L. Cummings has been named the new director for justice, equity, diversion and inclusion at the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Cummings is an assistant professor of medicine in the David Geffen School of Medicine’s department of medicine, hematology/oncology. She is a thoracic oncologist and scientists. She has focused on early stage lung cancer, precision medicine and equitable care.

“UCLA’s diversity has always been its biggest strength, and I am deeply honored to serve in this role at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center,” Cummings said in a statement.

“The opportunity to rigorously evaluate our systems for opportunities for justice, to listen to and engage with our communities to understand what is meaningful change, and to promote the incredible work at the cancer center is a tremendous gift.”

Cummings has served as the Informatics Chair of the UCLA Health Equitable Care Committee. She led UCLA”s effort to develop electronic medical record affirmation of sex, name and gender identity.

Akron Children’s Hospital names top academic officer

Michael Forbes has been named the new chief academic officer at Akron Children’s Hospital.

It’s a new post that will oversee the hospital’s research and medical education divisions. Forbes assumes the William H. and Rebecca D. Considine Endowed Chair in Research. He succeeds Dr. Bruce Cohen, who has been serving as interim vice president and medical director of the research institute since 2019.

Forbes joined Akron Children’s in 2006 as an attending physician in the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. He also serves in several leadership roles and is currently interim chair of the pediatrics department and past president of the medical staff. He has led research efforts in the PICU.

Chris Gessner, president and CEO of Akron Children’s, said Forbes is well suited for the post. Forbes will focus on developing population health and health service research.

“Dr. Forbes is a highly respected physician leader, who will bring great energy and creativity to this role,” Gessner said in a statement.

“He will actively seek out and develop opportunities to attract scholars, researchers and new sources of research funding; improve the experiences of students and providers in our training programs; and partner with other clinicians and educational leaders to explore the potential for creating additional accredited fellowship programs in pediatric subspecialties.”

Avera Health announces new COO

David Flicek has been chosen as the new chief operating officer for Avera Health in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Flicek will also continue his duties as chief administrative officer for Avera Medical Group.

He currently serves as president and CEO of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center. The system said a search will begin soon to find a new top leader at Avera McKennan.

Flicek took the post as Avera McKennan’s top administrator in 2017.

“Avera’s health ministry has seen significant growth in recent years,” Bob Sutton, Avera president and CEO, said in a statement. “Under David’s leadership, Avera has added a new specialty hospital, expanded our behavioral health services, added two family health centers with free-standing emergency departments, extended our Avera Cancer Institute into our regions and replaced several critical access hospitals for our rural communities.”

Flicek has been with Avera since 1995 and has held a host of important posts. He has led Avera Medical Group since 2008, helping the group grow from seven providers to over 1,200 who practice in more than 60 specialties.

Alaska hospital hires new behavioral health officer

Tracy Dompeling has been tapped as the chief behavioral health officer of Bartlett Regional Hospital in Alaska.

She will begin serving in the new post on June 20. Dompeling will lead a staff of 100 behavioral health professionals.

Dompeling serves as the director of Alaska’s Division of Juvenile Justice. She has oversight of over 400 employees and manages an annual budget of $58 million. She possesses over 20 years of leadership and project management experience in Alaska.

She said she was excited to join the leadership team.

“Having accessible services for our family, friends and neighbors during times of crisis and to meet their individualized needs is critical,” she said in a statement. “I am honored to be taking on this role and look forward to building relationships with staff throughout the organization to ensure appropriate and effective services are provided.”

TCARE names new COO

Nate Moore, will be joining TCARE, Inc. as its new chief operating officer.

TCARE uses cloud-based technology to support caregivers and help families avoid or at least delay having to move loved ones into long-term care facilities.

Moore spent 14 years at Centene Corporation, where he held a number of leadership positions. He led the rollout of the Affordable Care Act insurance program in Washington state and also headed teams supporting clinical and data services. Before joining Centene, he spent nearly 10 years with EY, the consulting firm, and focused on healthcare and health technology.

Ali Ahmadi, CEO of TCARE, said Moore played a critical role in propelling Centene to a company with a $125 billion market cap, up from $1 billion.

“This experience brings invaluable skills to an organization that has grown 15X in the last 24 months and expects to quadruple in size within the next 12 months,” Ahmadi said in a statement.

"Nate's no-nonsense drive combined with his business background in healthcare and technology is completely aligned with the future direction of TCARE,” Ahmadi said.