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Tufts Medicine names first behavioral health leader, and more | MED MOVES


Duke University Health System selects a new chief operating officer, St. Clair Health hires a new COO, and others take new roles.

Brent P. Forester will join Tufts Medicine as director of behavioral health.

Brent P. Forester

Brent P. Forester

He will also serve as psychiatrist-in-chief and chairman for the department of psychiatry at Tufts Medical Center. He will take on the new roles on June 1.

Forester will become the first director of behavioral health for Tufts Medicine, and he’s expected to play a leading role in the development of a system-wide behavioral health service line. In 2022, Tufts Medicine announced a partnership with Acadia Healthcare to build a new, 144-bed, behavioral health hospital in Malden, Massachusetts.

Forester most recently served as chief of the division of geriatric psychiatry at McLean Hospital and senior medical director for value based care in population health management at Mass General Brigham.

He is an expert in geriatric psychiatry, specializing in the treatment of older adults with depression, bipolar disorder, and behavioral complications of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, Tufts Medicine says. His research has focused on therapeutic interventions for the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.

“We are elated that Dr. Forester is bringing his extensive and decorated background in behavioral health to Tufts Medicine,” Helen Boucher, dean of Tufts University School of Medicine and chief academic officer for Tufts Medicine, said in a statement.

“His clinical, educational, and research experience aligns perfectly with our plans to strengthen and expand services and programs in the region and advance our efforts to become a true learning health system.”

Duke University Health System selects new COO

Thomas Owens

Thomas Owens

Thomas Owens has been named executive vice president and chief operating officer of Duke University Health System.

Owens succeeds Craig Albanese, who was recently named Duke’s chief executive officer. Both will begin their new roles on April 1, 2023.

Owens most recently served as group president of acute care, senior vice president of Duke University Health System, and president of Duke University Hospital.

In the senior vice president role, he directly managed DUHS-employed physicians, Duke Primary Care, Duke HomeCare and Hospice, Graduate Medical Education, population health management programs, and payer value-based contracts through Duke Connected Care.

Owens also played a key role in Duke’s COVID-19 response efforts. As president of Duke University Hospital, Owens oversaw the 2021 opening of the 350-bed, Duke Central Tower, becoming North Carolina’s largest hospital.

“Especially at this pivotal time, we are fortunate to have Dr. Owens and other talented leaders across Duke Health to help us capitalize on our momentum coming out of the pandemic and to further foster the culture of respect and belonging that supports all team members to excel and thrive,” Albanese said in a statement.

Marion A. McGowan

Marion A. McGowan

St. Clair Health names VP, COO

Marion A. McGowan has been appointed to the role of senior vice president and chief operating officer at St. Clair Health in Pittsburgh.

She succeeds Michael J. Flanagan, who served in the position for 15 years before becoming president and CEO of St. Clair Health in July 2022.

McGowan joins St. Clair Health with a great deal of healthcare leadership experience. She most recently served as executive vice president and COO with Baystate Health System in Springfield, Massachusetts. She was responsible for the operations of both the academic healthcare delivery system and provider-sponsored health plan.

Before joining Baystate, McGowan worked as UPMC Health Plan’s chief clinical administrative officer and senior vice president, population health.

In addition, she worked at Lancaster General Hospital in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, including over 10 years as the executive vice president and chief operating officer. McGowan eventually served as Lancaster General’s  executive vice president and chief population officer.

“I am thrilled to be back in my hometown and honored to work together with the St. Clair Health team as we serve our community,” McGowan said in a statement. “I am impressed by the commitment and hardworking nature of the St. Clair employees and am confident that together we can make an incredible future for health care in the community.”

Jody White

Jody White

Lowell General Hospital CEO plans to retire

Joseph “Jody” White, chief executive officer of Lowell General Hospital, said that he will retire in September 2023.

White first joined Lowell General in Lowell, Mass., as executive vice president and chief operating officer in 2003. He was later named president of Lowell General in 2013 and CEO of Circle Health and Lowell General in 2017.

“Serving as the CEO of Lowell General Hospital and having the opportunity to work alongside such a dedicated team has been an honor and privilege,” White said in a statement.

“I have had an incredible career filled with inspirational work and people, and I couldn’t be prouder of our team’s dedication to putting patients first every day. I have every confidence that our fantastic team, under the leadership of President Amy Hoey, will continue to drive this vital work forward.”

While leading the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, White also served an 18-month term as chair of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association (MHA) board of trustees.

“Jody has been a powerful voice for every provider and patient throughout the Commonwealth,” Steve Walsh, president and CEO of MHA, said in a statement. “Even in the midst of a pandemic, he demonstrated tremendous focus and selflessness on behalf of our healthcare system at-large.”

Amanda Shelast

Amanda Shelast

Michigan hospital names interim leader as president

Amanda Shelast has been named the president of Marshfield Medical Center-Dickinson in Michigan.

After serving as the interim president during the search for a permanent president, the Marshfield Clinic Health System offered Shelast the permanent position, and she accepted the post.

Shelast is the president of the National Association of Rural Health Clinics.  She is board certified in healthcare management as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

"I am honored to be named president of Marshfield Medical Center-Dickinson,” Shelast said in a statement.

“Over the past two and half years, I have worked alongside the Dickinson team and have learned a lot about the culture and the immense pride the Dickinson staff takes in caring for the people in our community,” she said. “I look forward to strategic growth in our market and increasing the Marshfield presence in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.”

Kathy Bressler, Marshfield Clinic Health System's chief operating officer, said Shelast's "success in leadership roles and understanding of the numerous elements required to run a hospital and clinic efficiently puts her in a strong position for success in the president role."

Buffy Key

Buffy Key

Cookeview Regional Medical Center chooses interim CEO

Buffy Key has been named the interim chief executive officer of the Cookeville Regional Medical Center in Tennessee.

Key, who has been the chief operating officer at Cookeville, takes the new role following CEO Paul Korth’s retirement announcement in February. She assumed the role March 1, while Korth is remaining in a consulting role through April 30.

“I grew up in this area and have a vested interest and a passion for ensuring high quality health care for the people of this region,” Key said in a statement. “Our hospital is one of our area’s greatest assets along with the amazing staff and providers at our medical center.”

Key has spent more than three decades in hospitals and healthcare. She started her career as a medical laboratory scientist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center while serving in the Army National Guard.

As a medical technologist, she previously worked in the laboratory at Johnson City Medical Center, CRMC and Vanderbilt. She also worked with the Bayer Corporation as a field service engineer in the diagnostics division and then returned to Cookeville as the lab manager and then the lab director. Key then went to Vanderbilt as the administrative director of operations-clinical laboratories, before returning again to Cookeville.

Key served the medical center as the senior vice-president for quality and operations before becoming COO in 2020.

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