2014 Leaders in Health Care Awards: Outstanding Health Care Executive


Winners (TIE)

Johnese Spisso
Chief Health System Officer, UW Medicine; Vice President Medical Affairs, University of Washington

Making big changes in how an organization runs is never easy, and doing so at sprawling UW Medicine would daunt anyone. There, 25,000 employees care for patients across eight entities that include the University of Washington Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center.

Johnese Spisso, the system’s chief health officer, seems unfazed, displaying the patience of the nurse she once was. During the past six years, she has led the transformation of UW Medicine into an Accountable Care Organization, where care is integrated across the entire system to control costs and improve patient outcomes. 

The transition complies with national health care reform, but Spisso also embraces it as a way to benefit patients, physicians and the public. 

The challenge was to get everyone on board, so Spisso phased in new performance-based systems that measure results, putting patients and their satisfaction at the center. Leadership teams developed goals clearly articulated at every level, with progress and feedback shared across all stakeholders. “It was a huge change,” Spisso says, “and we overcame resistance by showing we could make all boats rise for our system.”


Joyce Jackson

President and CEO, Northwest Kidney Centers

in her time at the helm of Northwest Kidney Centers, Joyce Jackson has watched the need for kidney dialysis become greater. Due to a rise in precursor conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, one in seven adults in the United States now suffers from kidney disease, up 30 percent in the past decade.

That’s certainly not good news, but Jackson’s steady leadership helped strengthen the nonprofit center to take on the challenge. It now provides dialysis at 15 centers, more than double the number since the start of her 15-year tenure, with more than one-sixth of patients receiving dialysis at home. Survival outcomes, as well as transplant referrals, outperform national averages.

Jackson also drove the creation of the Kidney Research Institute, a collaboration with UW Medicine in which $35 million in federal grants now helps support 46 groundbreaking studies.

In the meantime, education to prevent kidney disease remains a core objective. Free classes to the public on nutrition and lifestyle habits may help reverse a disturbing trend.


Silver Award

Claire Trescott, M.D.
Director of Primary Care, Group Health Cooperative

Dr. Claire Trescott has led Group Health to groundbreaking health care reforms not just once, but twice. As a vigorous advocate of the “medical home” model of integrated care teams, she launched a pilot program that soon spread the patient-centered approach to all of Group Health’s 26 clinics. Trescott also helmed efforts to administer opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone more safely. Increased reliance on these drugs for chronic pain management had tripled rates of addiction and overdose. The new care plan would later contribute to a federal action plan to curb opioid abuse. 

Seattle Business Magazine to Honor 18 Outstanding Leaders in Health Care

Seattle Business Magazine to Honor 18 Outstanding Leaders in Health Care

Honorees to be celebrated on March 2.

Seattle Business magazine has announced finalists for its 2017 Leaders in Health Care Awards. Chosen by a panel of judges, the finalists are individuals and institutions leading the effort to improve Washington's health care sector. This year's finalists are:

1.    Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason
2.    Al Fisk, MD, The Everett Clinic
3.    Genoa
4.    Group Health Cooperative
5.    Cynthia Hecker, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center
6.    Bryce Helgerson, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center
7.    Norm Hubbard, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
8.    Peter Myles McGough, MD, UW Medicine
9.    Navos
10.  Pacific Medical Centers
11.  Oliver W. Press, MD, PhD, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
12.  Paul Ramsey, MD, UW Medicine
13.  SCI Solutions
14.  Seattle Genetics
15.  Preston Simmons, FACHE, Providence Health & Services, Everett
16.  Jeffrey J. Tomlin, MD, EvergreenHealth
17.  Virginia Mason Medical Center
18.  Wellpepper

Gold and silver award winners will be honored at the Leaders in Health Care Awards gala on March 2 at Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle. Winners will be recognized in a variety of categories, including Outstanding Medical Center Executive, Achievement in Community Outreach and Innovation in Health Care Delivery. For more information, contact Michael Romoser at michael.romoser@tigeroak.com. West Monroe Partners is presenting sponsor for the 2017 Leaders in Health Care Awards program.