Arriving at what is arguably one of the most significant moments in its storied history of serving patients in and around the heart of the city, new Chief Executive Officer Karen Fordham stands to benefit from a wave of enthusiasm surrounding St. Joseph Hospital’s future. Her selection as CEO was announced throughout Lutheran Health Network today.
Fordham brings with her more than 20 years of leadership experience in healthcare operations, many of which were spent at hospitals in her home state of Michigan. For much of the past decade, that experience has included administrative roles with the Detroit Medical Center system. Her tenure with DMC included serving as president and CEO of Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, a 158 bed full-service, community teaching hospital approximately 40 miles northwest of downtown Detroit.
“Karen’s background and tireless pursuit of positive change made her the right person at the right time to lead St. Joseph Hospital into the future,” said Mike Poore, regional president and CEO, Lutheran Health Network. “Her ability to turn vision into action, which includes successfully managing more than $100 million in construction projects during her healthcare career, is just a small sample of what excites our board at St. Joe and me.”
Enhancing and enriching relationships with the medical staff has been a consistent point of emphasis for Fordham. Huron Valley-Sinai’s success in that regard was evident in 2016 when 91 percent of more than 300 physicians surveyed gave the hospital an 8 or higher on a scale of 1-10 on the annual physician satisfaction survey.
While at DMC, Fordham was directly involved in the oversight of hospital operations, service line development, strategic planning, physician recruitment, process improvement and financial management. She also served as president and CEO of its Detroit Surgery Hospital; regional vice president of orthopedics and sports medicine; and regional vice president of imaging services.
“I was pleased with her knowledge about St. Joe and its place in our community,” said Judge Stanley Levine, vice chairman of the board of trustees of St. Joseph Hospital. “What other CEO candidates might view as challenges, she sees as opportunities for growth and change.”
Fordham received a bachelor’s degree in science with minors in business, social work and criminal justice from Western Michigan University in 1998. She earned a master’s in business administration from WMU in 2000.
Fordham’s various achievements include being an Esteemed Women of Michigan honoree and her selection as a member of Crain’s Detroit Business 40-Under-40 class – accolades she received in 2014. Her focus with community involvement often involves taking part in initiatives that inspire others.
Fordham’s official start date is Jan. 22.