National Center for Healthcare Leadership|
1700 W. Van Buren
Chicago, IL 60612
Phone: (312) 563-6630
Fax: (312) 563-6631
Past Award Recipients
2016 - Christine K. Cassel, MD, Planning Dean, Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine
The National Center for Healthcare Leadership is honored to present
the 2016 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award to Christine K.
Cassel, MD for her pioneering work in geriatrics and bioethics, and
her leadership at the National Quality Forum and other national
organizations. Now, as Planning Dean at the new Kaiser Permanente
School of Medicine, Dr. Cassel is helping to build something from the
ground up with an innovative approach to medical school education
that immediately immerses students into clinical work with a focus
on patient-centered care.
2015 - Richard J. Umbdenstock, Past President & CEO, American Hospital Association
The Natonal Center for Healthcare Leadership is honored to present the 2015 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award to Richard J. Umbdenstock for his tireless work to transform and improve healthcare and unparalleled leadership in breaking through the
divisive debate on health reform to help drive change in the nation’s healthcare system. Rich Umbdenstock’s healthcare career finished where it started. The immediate past president and CEO of the American Hospital Association (AHA) began working at the AHA in 1975—one year after receiving his master’s degree in health services administration—as a special assistant to the president. And then, step-by-step, he carefully moved through his next series of roles as if he knew all along he was preparing to return to lead the AHA through one of the most crucial and conflicted eras of its 116-year history. His consulting career, his focus on governance, and his experience enabling collaboration, building consensus, and navigating healthcare’s complexity all came together as the tumult of the Affordable Care Act unfolded into headline news—and stayed headline news—for the entire eight years that Rich headed the organization.
2014 Award Co-Recipients
Nancy M. Schlichting, CEO, Henry Ford Health System & Dr. Glenn Steele, President & CEO, Geisinger Health System
The National Center for Healthcare Leadership is honored to present the 2014 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award to
Dr. Glenn D. Steele, Jr., president and CEO of Geisinger Health System and Nancy M. Schlichting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System
for using evidence-based leadership and innovative practices to improve healthcare. Through their work, they have succeeded
in bringing high-value and accessible healthcare to their communities in their quest to advance population health. Dr. Steele is
recognized for seeking better patient outcomes while reducing the total cost of delivering medicine. Ms. Schlichting is credited
with creating a patient-centered health system focused on enhancing the patient experience, while improving its surrounding
communities. With an openness to new thinking, a desire to mentor the next generation of leaders, and a commitment to change,
Dr. Steele and Ms. Schlichting have permanently transformed healthcare leadership.
2013 - John W. Bluford III, President and CEO, Truman Medical Centers
The National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) is proud to recognize John W. Bluford III and the leadership he has brought to Truman Medical Centers (TMC), transforming it into a forwardthinking academic medical center that has carved out new ways to improve population wellness and achieve organizational excellence. With nearly 15 years as CEO at TMC, Mr. Bluford has provided a blueprint to achieve cultural change by incorporating all members of the team into the process, while simultaneously enhancing surrounding communities. His penchant for service, mentoring, and leadership development is further inspired by the creation of the Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute, which exposes outstanding college students to opportunities in the field. Mr. Bluford has demonstrated how innovative leadership,
dedication to the pursuit of excellence, and a commitment to continuous improvement can permanently improve healthcare.
2012 Award Co-Recipients
Mitchell H. Katz, MD, Director, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services
Margaret E. O'Kane, President, National Committee for Quality Assurance
The National Center for Healthcare Leadership is privileged to honor two outstanding leaders of the healthcare community for bringing substantial and lasting improvement to population health in the U.S. as well as mentoring and preparing the next generation of healthcare leaders. The 2012 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Awards is presented to Margaret O’Kane, president of the National Committee for Quality Assurance and Dr. Mitchell Katz, Director, Department of Health Services, County of Los Angles for their innovative and exemplary contributions. Their work—Ms. O’Kane’s in the world of public policy and Dr. Katz’s in the world of public health—can be viewed as opposite sides of the same coin that is devoted to change. As an advocate for patient-centered, evidenced-based high quality care, Ms. O’Kane’s efforts have helped to save millions of lives and billions of dollars in wasted or ineffective care. Dr. Katz’s transformation of safety net systems in San Francisco and Los Angeles has expanded access to care, improved the quality of care and improved the patient experience for hundreds of thousands of uninsured, indignant or homeless individuals. With their commitment, dedication and passion, Ms. O’Kane and Dr. Katz have each brought new thinking, leadership and meaning.
2011 - Michael J. Dowling, President & CEO, North Shore-LIJ Health System
The National Center for Healthcare Leadership is pleased to present the 2011 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award to Michael J. Dowling, President and CEO of North Shore-LIJ Health System for his innovative and visionary leadership that has inspired a culture of organizational excellence. By emphasizing continuous learning, mentoring, talent development, transparency, and accountability, Mr. Dowling has earned a sterling reputation for challenging North Shore-LIJ to seek constant improvement while never losing sight of its patient-centered mindset and its commitment to population health. NCHL applauds Mr. Dowling for his bold initiatives that have led to lasting and significant contributions to develop future healthcare leaders.
2010 - Robert H. Brook, MD, ScD
Dr. Bob Brook has had a distinguished research career as the inventor of quality measurement and evidence-based medicine, forever changing the way healthcare policy makers address these issues and their implications for the health of the U.S. population. Dr. Brook is recognized for his personal dedication to an entire generation of clinical scientists, many of whom today hold leadership positions in government and health policy research. For his visionary leadership to advance the nation’s healthcare and for inspiring healthcare leadership across the country, NCHL salutes Dr. Brook.
2009 - Denis A. Cortese, MD, former President and CEO, Mayo Clinic
The National Center for Healthcare Leadership is proud to present the 2009 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award to Denis A. Cortese, MD, President and CEO of Mayo Clinic for his commitment to teamwork, mentorship, and advocacy in healthcare. With hospitals in Rochester, MN, Jacksonville, FL and Scottsdale/Phoenix, AZ, Mayo Clinic treats more than 500,000 patients each year, using an integrated approach to medicine and a philosophy that “the needs of the patient come first.” Under Dr. Cortese’s leadership, Mayo Clinic has implemented cutting edge programs in healthcare information technology, the use of genomics to customize patient-specific treatment, and launching its Health Policy Center. For his visionary leadership and commitment to future generations of healthcare leaders, NCHL salutes Dr. Cortese’s role in advancing the nation’s healthcare.
2008 - Patricia A. Gabow, MD, Retired CEO, Denver Health
Patricia A. Gabow, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Denver Health, is the recipient of the 2008 National Healthcare Leadership Award, and is honored for her lifetime of work to improve the field of healthcare leadership. Under Dr.Gabow’s leadership, Denver Health has established a comprehensive, integrated healthcare system that achieves organizational excellence while treating at-risk populations, a model that is being adopted by other healthcare systems throughout the nation. She is additionally recognized for her commitment to building teams and mentoring the next generation of physicians and healthcare leaders during her 36-year career. For her dedication to advancing the nation’s healthcare, NCHL salutes Dr. Gabow and thanks her for her inspiration to future healthcare leaders.
2007 - Thomas M. Priselac, MPH, President and CEO, Cedars-Sinai Health System
As president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai since 1994, Mr. Priselac has led his organization to become one of the most renowned and respected healthcare systems in the country. It is a national model of operational excellence, recognized for its ability to combine compassionate, high quality patient care with outstanding research and excellent community service and educational programs. For nearly 20 consecutive years Cedars-Sinai has been chosen as Los Angeles’ most preferred hospital in an independent survey of area residents by a national research organization. During his two decades as a senior executive at Cedars-Sinai, Mr. Priselac’s commitment to leadership excellence has benefited his organization, the communities it serves, and the entire healthcare industry. He has been celebrated as a visionary, teacher, leader, mentor, and role model for healthcare, and for the work he has done that has extended beyond his organization. He is lauded for his role in policy development, practical application, and future planning of clinical, research, and teaching aspects of healthcare delivery. He is respected for his extensive work on the boards of the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the California Hospital Association as well as numerous other policy making organizations. For his dedication to advancing the nation’s healthcare, NCHL salutes Thomas M. Priselac and thanks him for his inspiration to future healthcare leaders.
2006 Award Co-Recipients
Richard J. Davidson, Retired President, American Hospital Association
Gary A. Mecklenburg, Retired President and CEO, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare
Dick Davidson has spent more than 30 years in healthcare leadership positions including president of the AHA since 1991 where he has focused on team building, organizational effectiveness, and unifying the various facets of healthcare, while never wavering from his vision of creating a healthy society for all. Gary Mecklenburg has also spent more than 30 years in healthcare leadership, serving as president and CEO of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. He helped lead the institution to its status as a world-renowned center of quality care and advanced medical education, while remaining a tireless mentor. NCHL salutes both men for their inspiration to future healthcare leaders.
2005 - William H. Nelson, former President & CEO, Intermountain Healthcare
Bill Nelson’s 30-year career in healthcare embodies the goals of NCHL to improve the health of the public through evidence-based leadership and improved organizational performance. He has led a healthcare system that has demonstrated sustained excellence, that is distinguished for its success in improving clinical outcomes through the implementation of best medical practices, and that is widely admired for providing the highest quality healthcare at the lowest possible cost.His many contributions have benefited the communities served by Intermountain Health Care and the entire industry. For his dedication to advancing the nation’s healthcare, NCHL salutes Bill Nelson and thanks him for his inspiration to future healthcare leaders.