Mission Driven

Premier Pulse     January 2022

After working 10 years as a critical care nurse, Mary began her 35-year career with Premier Health when she joined Miami Valley Hospital as a post-graduate management fellow in 1986. Following the fellowship, Mary’s advancement through the health system happened quickly. She was named chief operating officer of Miami Valley Hospital in 1998, and in 2006 she became the hospital’s president and CEO. In 2011, Mary began her service as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Premier Health, and since 2017 she has served as president and CEO – the first female CEO in the health system’s history.

Mary’s career has been marked by partnerships, successfully navigating unprecedented challenges, and a strong orientation toward physician and clinical quality to advance Premier Health’s mission of building healthier communities. She made significant strides in the advancement of women in executive leadership roles, and her passion for diversity, inclusion, and equity has never wavered.

Highlights of her collaborative work include the expansion of Miami Valley Hospital’s main campus with the construction of the Heart and Vascular Tower, as well as the integral part she played in the strategic vision and development of the Miami Valley Hospital South campus, which has grown exponentially since its opening.

Mary has worked for decades on campus and neighborhood development, partnering with the City of Dayton and other business partners to improve areas near Miami Valley Hospital and in northwest Dayton through the Genesis Project and the Phoenix Project – neighborhood revitalization work that continues today.

The decision to close the former Good Samaritan Hospital was the most difficult of Mary’s career. A major part of the decision centered on the redevelopment of the former hospital site. Those efforts continue today through Phoenix Next, partnering with the City of Dayton and CityWide. The project remains a key focus for Premier Health; the health system has committed to build on the site a new 12,000-square-foot facility focusing on urgent care, physical therapy, lab services, medical imaging, and physician office space. This further enhances a long tradition of partnering with community organizations serving northwest Dayton, including Gem City Market, the Hope Center, Homefull, and area barbershops to provide health education and screenings.

Mary has championed numerous clinical initiatives, including developing and launching the Premier Health-Wright State University Neurosciences Research Institute and the decision for Premier Health to join the MD Anderson Physician Network, bringing nationally recognized cancer care close to home for local residents.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mary’s leadership and experience were critical. She worked tirelessly with others to help Premier Health overcome the challenges of obtaining personal protective equipment, testing supplies, and vaccine distribution, and most importantly, supporting front line and behind-the-scenes staff. Enhancing partnerships with other decision makers at the local, state, and national levels resulted in finding unique solutions to challenging problems associated with COVID-19. And together with the University of Dayton, Premier Health opened one of the first drive-through testing sites in Ohio.

In 2019, Mary’s leadership also was critical to Premier Health’s community response to two tragedies – a tornado outbreak that resulted in hundreds of injuries and disrupted the lives of hundreds of employees, and the mass shooting in the Oregon District that killed nine people and injured dozens. Twenty-three injured patients flooded Miami Valley Hospital’s Level I trauma center and other emergency departments, with only two arriving by EMS. A few days later, Mary and other leaders hosted the first visit by a sitting U.S. president in Miami Valley Hospital’s 130-year history.

In 2019 and 2021, Modern Healthcare recognized Mary as one of the Top 25 Women Leaders in Health Care in the country. In 2020, Modern Healthcare named her to the national list of 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives. Mary also has been named to the Top Ten Women list by the Dayton Daily News; and has been recognized as an Ohio Most Powerful and Influential Woman by the Ohio Diversity Council, and as a Woman of Influence by the Dayton YWCA.

Mary is looking forward to being with her family and pursuing activities that have long been on her list of retirement goals.

Back to the January 2022 issue of Premier Pulse

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