NCHL Names Henry Ford Health System's Nancy Schlichting and Geisinger Health System's Glenn Steele Recipients of 2014 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award

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NCHL is honoring Schlichting and Steele for bringing high quality and high value healthcare services to their communities with their innovative approaches to leadership development and organizational excellence, as they seek to improve population health.

The work of Nancy and Glenn embodies some of the most innovative and progressive work that is being done in the delivery of healthcare services today.

The National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL), a not-for-profit that works to improve population health by enhancing the capacity of healthcare leaders, is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2014 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award. Nancy M. Schlichting, chief executive officer of Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) and Glenn D. Steele Jr. MD, PhD, president and chief executive officer of Geisinger Health System are being recognized for their innovative approaches to bringing high-value and accessible healthcare to their communities, permanently transforming and improving the field.

Throughout his 14-year career at Geisinger, Dr. Steele has distinguished himself by pushing for healthcare efficiency and innovation through the development of ProvenCare®, designed to improve patient outcomes while reducing the total cost of delivering medicine. His focus on bringing high-value medicine―better care at less cost―to the 3 million individuals who live in the Geisinger service area has resulted from leveraging the relationship between the provider and the payor. Ms. Schlichting is credited with creating a patient-centered health system focused on enhancing the patient experience, while improving the health system’s surrounding communities and creating an organization whose name is synonymous with leadership development and growth. During her 16-year tenure, HFHS has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2011 for its commitment to quality and excellence.

“The work of Nancy and Glenn embodies some of the most innovative and progressive work that is being done in the delivery of healthcare services today,” NCHL Board Chair Peter W. Butler said. “Under Glenn’s leadership, Geisinger has implemented transparency and accountability at all levels of the organization, using a team-based approach to support the health system’s triple aim of improving population health, enhancing the patient experience, and reducing per capita cost.

“Nancy has played a key role in HFHS’s financial success, while also improving patient safety and quality,” Mr. Butler added. “Additionally, she spearheaded an effort to bring together the leadership of the four major health systems in Detroit to reduce infant mortality, raising $22 million to address this vital community health issue. Under Nancy’s leadership, HFHS has focused on promoting wellness and healthy eating for patients, visitors, and employees, while creating the Innovation Institute to keep HFHS relevant in a rapidly changing world. Healthcare is fortunate to have two such distinguished leaders bringing new thinking to our field and we are delighted to honor them.”

Ms. Schlichting joined HFHS in 1998, as a senior vice president and chief administrative officer; she was named president and CEO in 2003. Prior to that, she served as executive vice president and chief operating officer at Summa Health System in Akron, OH and was president of Catholic Health Initiatives–Eastern Region, Philadelphia from 1996 to 1997. She also held several positions at Riverside Methodist Hospitals in Columbus, OH which she joined in 1988. She earned an MBA from Cornell University in 1979 and a Bachelor of Arts degree, graduating magna cum laude from Duke University in 1976 with a major in public policy studies. Ms. Schlichting is the recipient of the 2014 TRUST Awards from the Health Research & Educational Trust of the American Hospital Association and has been named six times by Modern Healthcare as one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare,” and was named as one of the “Top 25 Women in Healthcare” multiple times. She is a United Way Cabinet member and sits on the boards of the Kresge Foundation and the Downtown Detroit Partnership, and served on the board of the American Hospital Association.

Dr. Steele joined Geisinger Health System as president and chief executive officer in 2001. Prior to that he held several executive and physician leadership roles at many prestigious academic centers and health systems including The University of Chicago, Harvard Medical School, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He received his PhD from the Lund University in Lund, Sweden in 1974, his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine in 1970 and a Bachelor of Arts degree graduating magna cum laude in history and literature from Harvard College in 1966. Dr. Steele was the recipient of the Healthcare Financial Management Association Board of Director’s Award (2011) and the Health Research and Education Trust Award (2010). He was also named five times by Modern Healthcare as one of the “Most Powerful People in Healthcare,” and its list of the “50 Most Powerful Physician Executives in Healthcare” for 2007, 2012 and 2013. Dr. Steele is a member of the Commonwealth Fund Commission on High-Performance Health System (2005-2013), the Premier, Inc. board of directors (2007-2013), and he has served in many capacities on the American Hospital Association board of trustees.     

NCHL’s selection committee for the Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award was co-chaired by Jeffrey D. Selberg, The Peter G. Peterson Foundation and Christy Harris Lemak, PhD, NCHL and the University of Michigan. It also included F. Kenneth Ackerman, Integrated Healthcare Strategies; Joel Allison, Baylor Health Care System; John W. Bluford III, Truman Medical Centers; Catherine Jacobson, Froedtert Health; Gary S. Kaplan, MD, Virginia Mason Medical Center; Mitchell H. Katz, MD, Los Angeles County Health Department; Wayne Lerner; Margaret E. O’Kane, National Committee for Quality Assurance; Bruce Siegel, MD, America’s Essential Hospitals; Irene M. Thompson, UHC; Ken Johnson, Weber State University; and Gail L. Warden, Henry Ford Health System.

Ms. Schlichting and Dr. Steele will be honored on November 20, 2014 at the Leadership Award dinner at the InterContinental Chicago. This celebration, which brings together healthcare’s luminaries and notable leaders from the nation’s prominent health sector, academic, and research organizations, will be held in conjunction with NCHL’s annual Human Capital Investment Conference, which will showcase effective and innovative practices for the development of future leaders. NCHL will also introduce BOLD―Best Organizations for Leadership Development―which will identify and recognize those organizations that are using evidence-based leadership and development practices to achieve high performance and excellence.

The Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award of the National Center for Healthcare Leadership is awarded annually to individuals who have made significant contributions to the health field, including the mentoring of future leaders towards the goal of transforming organizational performance and improving health and healthcare in the U.S. It is named for Gail L. Warden, founding chairman of the NCHL Board, Chairman Emeritus of Henry Ford Health System, and one of healthcare’s foremost leaders. The NCHL leadership award was established in 2005.

The National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) is a not-for-profit organization that is an industry catalyst to ensure the availability of accountable and transformational healthcare leadership for the 21st century. Its vision is to improve population health through leadership and organizational excellence. NCHL operates in partnership with Rush University Medical Center and the University of Michigan. For more information please visit NCHL’s website at

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