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March 12, 2003


John D. Henry Sr. FACHE Announces Retirement as Hospitals CEO

John D. Henry, Sr., FACHE, Chief Executive Officer of Emory Hospitals and Wesley Woods Center, has announced his plans to retire effective August 31, 2003. He will become CEO Emeritus. During the academic year 2003-2004, he also will serve as special advisor to Michael M. E. Johns, MD, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Emory University, and Director of The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

"John Henry’s career at Emory has been an extraordinary saga of leadership, loyalty, and vision," says Dr. Johns." He has loved and nurtured Emory University Hospital, Emory Crawford Long Hospital, and Wesley Woods Center, as if they were family. A gifted administrator, John leaves behind a legacy of health-giving programs and magnificent structures. His insistence on quality, continuous improvement and always making the patient come first has helped put all three of Emory’s hospitals at the forefront of American medical institutions."

An Atlanta native and 1957 graduate of Emory College, Mr. Henry has held increasingly responsible administrative positions in Emory’s hospitals since 1963. His first job was an administrative residency at Emory Crawford Long Hospital, held as part of his Georgia State University graduate work in hospital administration. He was the senior administrative officer of Emory Crawford Long Hospital from 1984 until 1995, when he was given the additional responsibility for Emory University Hospital and named CEO of Emory Hospitals. In this position he oversaw the integration of Emory University Hospital and Emory Crawford Long Hospital and, more recently, the Wesley Woods Center including the Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital.

Under his leadership, the hospitals grew and received numerous awards and recognition. These included annual inclusion in U. S. News & World Report’s best hospital rankings and Accreditation with Commendation from the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the nation’s highest award for excellence in operations, patient care and administration. In his last year as CEO of Emory Hospitals, he watched the culmination of one of his greatest visions and efforts: the opening of a newly renovated $270 million medical campus for the recently renamed Emory Crawford Long Hospital in midtown.

Mr. Henry’s retirement announcement was made today, March 12, at the regularly scheduled meeting of the Woodruff Board, those Emory University trustees who govern Emory’s Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of which Emory Healthcare is part.

Presenting Mr. Henry a framed tribute signed by Woodruff Board Chair James B. Williams, Emory President William M. Chace, and himself, Dr. Johns described for Board members Mr. Henry’s long and distinguished career. He cited Mr. Henry’s steadfast devotion and achievements on behalf of the hospitals, the patients they serve, and the clinicians and staff who work there.

Mr. Williams said, "Emory University, and especially the University’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center, has been much enhanced and blessed by John Henry’s life-long involvement and dedication and by all he has done to help shape and build our thriving healthcare enterprise." He added, "On behalf of the Woodruff Board, I want to express my gratitude and appreciation for John Henry’s loyalty, vision, and leadership. He has led our hospitals to the forefront of American medical institutions, even in the most challenging healthcare environment in memory."

According to Mr. Henry, leadership is about family. "Second only to my family, my four decades of service as part of the Emory Hospitals family have been the most extraordinary and rewarding experience I could imagine. I’m grateful for the opportunities I have had to advance patient care, quality of healthcare, and leadership development, and I am confident that Emory University Hospital, Emory Crawford Long Hospital, and Wesley Woods Center will continue to lead healthcare in the Atlanta area and beyond."

Dr. Johns also praised Mr. Henry’s commitment to the community physicians who have been such an important part of Emory’s ability to provide care to Atlanta and who have been essential to the operation of Emory Crawford Long Hospital. He said, "Under John Henry’s leadership, Emory Crawford Long Hospital is a model of academic and community collaboration." The hospital has several hundred community physicians working alongside Emory Clinic physicians who are Emory medical school faculty.

John Fox, President and CEO of Emory Healthcare (of which the hospitals are a vital component), said "As the nation’s hospitals have struggled with complex operational, fiscal, and regulatory challenges, John has been able to transform many obstacles into opportunities. In addition to his detailed grasp of hospital operations and finances, his knowledge and dedication to personnel issues, and his strong relationship with the hospitals’ staffs, have been great for the hospitals. John Henry has proved invaluable in the recent reorganization of the hospitals, The Emory Clinic, Emory Children’s Center and Wesley Woods Center into the One Emory Healthcare structure that now unifies all our employees."

Mr. Henry will continue as hospitals CEO until August 31. After his retirement, given the recent restructuring of the hospitals and other components of Emory Healthcare into a more closely integrated organization, Mr. Fox will work directly with the Chief Operating Officers of Emory University Hospital, Emory Crawford Long Hospital, and Wesley Woods Center, as well as with others in hospital senior management.

This new management structure is a tribute to Mr. Henry’s accomplishments, say both Dr. Johns and Mr. Fox. Mr. Fox says, "Not only was John Henry instrumental in the restructuring of the healthcare system, but he leaves behind a solid organization and a strong, well-functioning leadership team who will continue his legacy as he hoped and planned."

Mr. Henry graduated from the Woodward Academy (then the Georgia Military Academy) before entering Emory College at the age of 15. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Emory University, he attended the Medical College of Georgia for two years, then entered military service. He served as U. S. Army Medical Field Service Corps officer from 1959 to 1963, receiving the Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service and completing the Hospital Administration Certificate at the Army Medical Service School. During his first years at Emory Crawford Long Hospital, he also completed a Certificate in Hospital Administration at Georgia State University (1964) and a Certificate in Hospital Methods Improvement from Georgia Institute of Technology (1966).

Throughout his professional life, Mr. Henry has been deeply involved in local, state and federal healthcare issues, through active participation and leadership in numerous professional organizations. During 2002-2003 he served as Chairman of the 190 hospital-member Georgia Hospital Association. Mr. Joe Parker, President of the Georgia Hospital Association, says, "In his role as the chairman of the Georgia Hospital Association, John has taken great strides toward improving healthcare leadership through his commitment to education, collaboration, involvement and unity. And on a personal note, John has been a friend and colleague for over 25 years. I have the utmost respect for him and he has certainly earned the respect of his fellow colleagues within the Georgia Hospital Association."

In addition to being Chairman of the Georgia Hospital Association, Mr. Henry served or continues to serve in various capacities with the American College of Healthcare Executives, the American Hospital Association, the National Fire Protection Association, the University HealthSystem Consortium and many other professional boards and associations.

Mr. Henry obtained the fellowship status in the American College of Healthcare Executives in 1978 (FACHE) and was re-certified as a fellow in 1988 and 1998. He is an associate professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine.

For more information on Mr. Henry, the full text of the proclamation by the Trustees, and for statements by his colleagues, go to A Tribute to John D. Henry Sr. at


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