20 People Who Make Healthcare Better—2011

HealthLeaders Media Staff, January 3, 2012

Originally published December 19, 2011.

In our annual HealthLeaders 20, we profile individuals who are changing healthcare for the better. Some are longtime industry fixtures; others would clearly be considered outsiders. Some are revered; others would not win many popularity contests. All of them are playing a crucial role in making the healthcare industry better. These are their stories.

HealthLeaders 20

Wright L. Lassiter III
CEO, Alameda County Medical Center
Oakland, CA

Under the leadership of Wright L. Lassiter III, Alameda County Medical Center has been recognized as a 2011 Top Performer by The Joint Commission. The distinction marks the latest affirmation of a remarkable turnaround for the Oakland, CA–based safety-net hospital.[Read more]

HrPatrick J. Quinlan, MD
CEO, Ochsner Health System
New Orleans, LA

A decade ago, after Patrick J. Quinlan, MD, looked at some staggering state health statistics, he set out to improve the health and wellness of the entire community—starting with the children.[Read more]


AnnMarie Papa, DNP, RN
President, Emergency Nurses Association
Philadelpha, PA

AnnMarie Papa is a leading voice calling attention to the prevalence of hospital violence, especially that which occurs in hospital emergency departments. [Read more]

HrVineet Arora, MD, MPP, FACP
Associate Professor of Medicine
University of Chicago
Pritzker School of Medicine

Vineet Arora, MD, MPP, FACP, says she has always been interested in finding out why things work—or don't—in healthcare, and that inquisitive nature led her to the study of sleep. [Read more]

HrAlex Blau, MD, and Brad Cohn, MD
Physicians and Mobile App Developers

Alex Blau, MD, and Brad Cohn, MD, found themselves at the corner of necessity and invention and came up with the idea for MediBabble—an iPhone/iPad app that allows clinicians to better communicate with non English-speaking patients during the initial exam and history-taking.[Read more]

HrAnne Brooks, DO
Community Health Leader
Tutwiler, MS

For 28 years, Brooks, a Roman Catholic nun, has practiced in one of the poorest areas of the country. She has become a spokesperson for the country's needy and has been lionized by various groups for her efforts in helping the poor and improving the healthcare needs of diverse populations.[Read more]

HrChris Nowinski
CEO, and Co-founder, Sports Legacy Institute
Boston, MA

Chris Nowinski's campaign to raise awareness about concussions and their long-term effects is credited with driving the national discussion about the effect of repetitive brain trauma on athletes. [Read more]

HrClayton Christensen
Professor, Harvard Business School, author
Cambridge, MA

Disruptive technology has altered the practice of medicine many times over, yet the structure of healthcare institutions and the healthcare system has resisted change to its detriment, says management guru Clayton Christensen. [Read more]

HrRobert Donaldson, NPC
Cinical Director of Emergency Medicine
Ellenville Regional Hospital
Ellenville, NY

Robert Donaldson is a nurse practitioner. He is also clinical director of emergency medicine and president of the hospital's medical staff, sharing ED leadership responsibilities with a medical director. [Read more]

HrDavid Fox
President and CEO
Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital
Downers Grove, IL

As the architect of a good-to-great initiative,  hospital CEO David Fox set measurable goals, pushed for greater accountability, and eventually won a national quality award. [Read more]

HrJim Geary
Advocate for coordinated care
San Francisco, CA

For 30 years, Jim Geary has been challenging the healthcare system to get patients more engaged in their care and encourage providers to practice participatory medicine. He advocates for coordinated care along the entire continuum. [Read more]

HrGeorge Berci, MD
Senior Director of the Endoscopic Research Laboratory
Cedars Sinai Medical Center
Los Angeles, CA

George Berci, MD, has been an innovator in medical instrumentation for decades. He has developed numerous surgical instruments for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, including cytoscopes, resectoscopes, and nephroscopes. [Read more]

HrThomas Hansen, MD
CEO, Seattle Children's Hospital

His goal as CEO is to breathe new life into the patients of Seattle Children's Hospital. But that's not enough for Thomas N. Hansen, MD, the brains behind the Hansen ventilator, a device that could lead to low-cost care for infants in impoverished places the world over. [Read more]

HrJeanne Yeatman, MBA, BSN, CEN, EMT
Vanderbilt LifeFlight Program Director
Nashville, TN

Jeanne Yeatman develops programs to help improve care coordination among flight crews, paramedics, and emergency department staff in the Vanderbilt LifeFlight system. [Read more]

HrMichael Edmond, MD
Virginia Commonwealth U. Medical Center
Richmond, VA

Since 2004, when Michael Edmond, MD, persuaded hospital leaders not to adopt active surveillance, the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center has saved $20 million in avoided cost of treating healthcare-aciquired infections. [Read more]

HrMin-Shin Chen
Ann Arbor, MI

Min-Shih Chen is one of the estimated 65 million Americans—roughly 29% of the population—who provide a total of $375 billion in uncompensated healthcare each year for a family member. [Read more]

HrNicholas Christakis, MD
Professor of Medicine and Medical Sociology
Harvard Medical School
Cambridge, MA

For the past decade, Nicholas Christakis, MD, has been studying human social networks and their effects on health. These aren't  Facebook-style networks. He analyzes old-fashioned face-to-face networks. [Read more]

HrPeter Orszag
Vice Chairman of Global Banking, Citigroup

Economist Peter Orszag, formerly Director of the Congressional Budget Office, remains a chief proponent of the individual mandate, a linchpin of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. [Read more] HrRebecca Lynn
Venture Capitalist
Menlo Park, CA

Rebecca Lynn believes the healthcare industry isn't going to save itself. Rather, change will come from outsider entrepreneurs unfettered by the status quo. [Read more]

HrDiane Whitworth, RN, CWOCN
Nurse Safety Scholar-In-Residence,
St. Mary's Hospital
Richmond, VA

Diane Whitworth has become a champion in the nationwide effort to prevent hospital-acquired pressure ulcers.[Read more]



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