Following an extensive nationwide search that included both internal and external candidates, the Memorial Hermann Health System Board has announced the appointment of Benjamin K. Chu, M.D., MPH, MACP, as President and CEO of Memorial Hermann Health System, effective June 2016. Dr. Chu – a wellrespected, national thought leader in the healthcare industry – brings to Memorial Hermann an accomplished, four-decade long career as a physician, administrator and policy advocate.
Dr. Chu will succeed current president and CEO Dan Wolterman, who has impressively and passionately led Memorial Hermann for 17 years.
Dr. Chu currently serves as the executive vice president of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan, Inc., and Group President of Kaiser Permanente Southern California and Georgia regions. He directs health plan and hospital operations for 14 hospitals and 237 medical offices, serving more than 4.5 million members in Southern California and Georgia. Dr. Chu, who also serves on the organization’s national executive team, has helped set the short and long-term strategies of Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s leading healthcare providers and not-for-profit health plans, with an emphasis on quality and patient safety, physician integration and population health.
Before joining Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Chu was president of New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest public hospital system in the country. In 1994, he was acting commissioner of health for the New York City Department of Health.
Dr. Chu also has experience as an academic health center leader, serving as senior associate dean at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. At New York University School of Medicine and Medical Center, Dr. Chu was associate dean and vice president for Clinical Affairs. As a policy advocate, Dr. Chu was a Robert Wood Johnson Policy Fellow, working as the legislative assistant for health for New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley. In 2014, Dr. Chu, who gained a national profile in health policy, was elected chair of the American Hospital Association Board of Trustees, becoming the top elected official who represents America’s hospitals and health systems.
Officially retiring Aug. 1, Wolterman will work with Dr. Chu over the course of the coming months to effectively transition his role.
Dr. Chu’s appointment as president and CEO marks the first time in Memorial Hermann’s history a physician will be leading the System. The move is indicative of the changing landscape in healthcare where the successful future of the industry relies on the true integration of provider and physicians, according to Williams.
While Dr. Chu has nearly 30 years of experience in healthcare administration, he began his career as a primary care internist in Brooklyn, New York.
Dr. Chu earned his medical degree at New York University, his master’s degree in public health from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University. He is married to artist Donna Moylan and has three adult children.