Medical Center Adopts Single-CEO Structure

March 16, 2007

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The governing boards of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences have agreed on a new, integrated organizational structure with a shared vision and strategy for Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

The boards endorsed a structure that will have a single overarching Medical Center governing body with the responsibility and authority to develop a unified vision, joint strategy and implement a coordinated plan. Building on considerable national recognition, the new structure “prepares the Medical Center for a distinguished future in a changing healthcare environment,” according to Steve Robertson, chairman of the Medical Center board.

The structure will have one chief executive officer for the entire Medical Center, which, with more than 11,000 employees, is the largest employer in the Piedmont Triad. The combined net revenue of the organizations is projected to be $1.6 billion this year.

“In our research, we learned that the single CEO model is recognized as a solution to the challenges of academic medical centers,” said Robertson. “The various organizations must align themselves functionally with a unified vision.” The single-CEO organizational model is in place at Johns Hopkins, NYU, the University of Pennsylvania and a number of other top academic medical centers, he added.

Legally, N.C. Baptist Hospital and WFU Health Sciences will remain separate organizations, and there will be no change in names or transfers of assets. The umbrella organization still will be referred to as Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Len Preslar and Dick Dean, respective presidents of the North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, will remain in place as the Medical Center enters the transition to the new structure.

“The Hospital and Health Sciences have been affiliated since l939 and that affiliation has been evolving ever since,” said Robertson. “The time has come for a more integrated organization. Committees of the governing boards of the Hospital and Health Sciences have been working diligently for the past 16 months to develop a structure that will allow our Medical Center to achieve its place among the great academic medical centers in America.”

The new structure will have several benefits for Wake Forest, said Nathan Hatch, University president. “Foremost, the Medical School will maintain its academic independence as part of the university,” Hatch said. “In addition, the structure will improve faculty recruitment and retention in the medical school and bridge stronger links between the academic and clinical programs.”

Under the new structure, the Piedmont Triad Research Park will remain under the jurisdiction of Wake Forest University Health Sciences. “The research park is an asset to the medical center and the community and offers an exciting opportunity to contribute to a vibrant economy and a bright future for the entire region,” Hatch said.

A new legal organization will be created for the group medical practice, Wake Forest University Physicians, Inc., which will have its own President reporting directly to the Medical Center CEO. Wake Forest University Physicians, Inc. (WFUP) will participate with North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences in strategic development for the Medical Center. WFUP will have increased opportunity and responsibility.

The Medical Center board now will begin to implement the structure, a process that is expected to take most of this year. Roger Cothran of Lake Norman, representing the Board of Directors of N.C. Baptist Hospital, and Marvin Gentry of King, representing the Board of WFU Health Sciences, co-chaired a committee to develop the new structure. “Over 16 months we have spent thousands of hours and always put first the best interests of the medical center,” Cothran said. Gentry added, “We now have an innovative organizational structure that will take the medical center to the next level in patient care, teaching and research.”

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has been consistently cited as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report. Baptist Hospital was the first in the state to achieve Magnet Award status from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

The many fields of notable achievement at the Medical Center include arteriosclerosis, cancer, stroke, hypertension, imaging, nutrition, women’s health, genomics, neurosciences, aging, addiction, and minority health.

The medical school ranks 35th among 123 American medical schools in research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Seven Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center divisions or departments rank in the top 25 of comparable organizations nationwide.


Media contacts: Mark Wright, (336) 716-3382,, Karen Richardson,, (336) 716-4453, or John Lambert,, 540-580-8491.

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,238 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

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