The American Hospital Association (AHA) Center for Hospital and Healthcare Administration History has honored Dr. Wayne M. Lerner, a University of Michigan School of Public Health alumnus and veteran executive with over 30 years of experience in healthcare administration, public policy, and education, with the publication of an oral history.
Growing up on Chicago’s west side in a racially-changing neighborhood taught Dr. Lerner how to get along with – and value – people of diverse backgrounds. He carried those life lessons through his entire career, which was spent mostly serving in leadership in Chicago hospitals. After being assigned to Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center as an administrative extern as part of pursuing his master’s degree at the University of Michigan, Dr. Lerner was hired there and worked his way into leadership positions over the next 18 years. He then got his first opportunity to serve as CEO, at Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.
The health care market in St. Louis was in flux at this time in the early ‘90s. Dr. Lerner was part of the leadership team that put together the BJC Health System but creation of this new entity resulted in merging himself out of a job. His next challenges were back in his hometown where he served as CEO of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and then of Holy Cross Hospital, an urban safety net hospital. As a result of his leadership, Holy Cross Hospital avoided financial crisis and entered into a successful merger with Sinai Health System.
In this comprehensive oral history interview about his career, Dr. Lerner reminisces about each step along his career path. He shares thoughts on governance, leadership style and the challenges of turning around an inner city hospital. He also discusses his career-long involvement in professional societies and membership organizations like the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American Hospital Association.
The Center for Hospital and Healthcare Administration History was established by the American Hospital Association and the American College of Healthcare Executives and is coordinated by the AHA Resource Center in collaboration with the Health Research & Educational Trust.