Lutheran announces new CEO

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Staff reports

Paula Autry will be the new CEO of Lutheran Hospital, effective Nov. 6, according to a Lutheran Health Network statement Monday.

Autry comes to Lutheran after serving as CEO of Detroit Medical Center’s Sinai-Grace Hospital, a full service, community teaching hospital with 404 licensed beds. She brings 30 years of health care experience.

According to the statement, Autry worked with physicians, nurses and support staff to improve quality and employee and physician engagement. As CEO of Sinai-Grace, the hospital achieved U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals ranking; a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care designation; and a Governor’s Award of Excellence that was presented earlier this year.

Autry supported the hospital’s verified level II trauma center and was the Detroit Medical Center market leader for the oncology and women and infants service lines, according to the statement.

“After taking part in multiple interviews with Paula, what continues to stand out to me is her desire to break the mold when it comes to assessing all challenges, big and small,” nephrologist John Ducker, medical staff president of Lutheran Hospital, said in a statement. “That ability to inspire others to find new solutions is going to resonate with this community.”

Autry was selected as one of the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare in 2010 by Modern Healthcare. Her professional and community affiliations include an appointment to the board of governors of the American College of Healthcare Executives, membership on the American Hospital Association policy board and the Michigan Opera Theatre board.

Autry also held leadership positions at hospitals in Mobile, Ala.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Richmond, Va.; and Columbus, Ohio. She also worked at academic institutions in Columbus and Atlanta as a professor and administrator, respectively, according to Lutheran’s statement.

“Speaking for all those who took part in the interview process, including members of Lutheran’s medical staff, we are fortunate to have someone with Paula’s experience and qualifications join our team,” Mike Poore, regional president and CEO of Lutheran Health Network, said in a prepared statement. “She shares our unwavering commitment for our hospital and network to reach their fullest potential.”

Autry graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s in pre-medicine in 1984. She received master’s degrees in business administration and healthcare administration from Tulane University in New Orleans in 1986.

Autry has family ties to Fort Wayne. Her husband, Jonathan Autry, is a 1980 graduate of Snider High School. The couple met while studying at the University of Notre Dame.

Autry said in the statement that she is looking forward to continuing her career in Fort Wayne.

“I believe it is an exciting time to be a part of Fort Wayne as it continues to develop and become a more progressive community while maintaining its reputation as a great place for families,” she said. “Lutheran has a long legacy of providing excellent care with a commitment to the region. I am excited to be a part of Lutheran’s continued growth and its focus on service and quality.”

Previously, the position of CEO for Lutheran Hospital was held by Brian Bauer who also served as the CEO of Lutheran Health Network. Bauer was fired from the dual role in June, following an unsuccessful attempt by local doctors and others to buy out LHN from Tennessee-based Community Health Systems.