Ram Raju, MD, the former head of the nation’s largest public health system, has been appointed to a key leadership position at Northwell Health.
As senior vice president and community health investment officer, Raju will evaluate the needs of the most vulnerable communities Northwell Health serves, assess programs that enhance the health system’s ability to respond to those needs and collaborate with community-based organizations to create problem-solving solutions.
Raju served as president and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals from January 2014 until stepping down in November 2016. NYC Health + Hospitals includes 42,000 employees, 11 acute-care hospitals, five nursing homes, six diagnostic and treatment centers, more than 70 community-based health centers, a large home care agency and one of the region’s largest providers of government-sponsored health insurance, MetroPlus Health Plan.
“Ram’s vast experience, deep commitment to caring for vulnerable communities and keen understanding of New York’s health care delivery system make him the ideal individual to lead our efforts,” said Michael J. Dowling, Northwell Health’s president and CEO. “His most-recent work with NYC Health + Hospitals certainly enhances his ability to respond to this challenge.”
Raju has extensive leadership experience. Prior to NYC Health + Hospitals, he served as CEO for the Cook County Health & Hospitals System in Chicago, the nation’s third-largest public health system, where he improved cash flow by more than $100 million and changed the system’s financial health during his tenure from 2011-14. He began his medical career at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn and went on to serve as chief operating officer and medical director at NYC Health + Hospitals’ Coney Island Hospital. In 2006, he became the HHC chief medical officer, corporate chief operating officer and executive vice president. Under his leadership, HHC continued to reach great heights in quality, patient safety and health care data transparency.
“Northwell Health created a position that enables me to pursue my passionate interest in improving population health and addressing the social determinants of health,” said Raju. “I thoroughly enjoyed the many years I spent at NYC Health + Hospitals, which gave me valuable insight into the needs of our most-vulnerable communities and how health policies can positively influence the delivery of care and improve outcomes. My new role with Northwell will enable me to promote, sustain and advance an environment that supports equity and diversity, and help eliminate health disparities within the communities served by Northwell throughout the city, Long Island and Westchester County.”
Raju earned his medical diploma and Master of Surgery degree from Madras Medical College in India. He underwent further training in England, where he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and later received an MBA from the University of Tennessee and CPE from the American College of Physician Executives.
He served as vice-chair of the Greater New York Hospital Association and currently sits on the boards of numerous city, state and national health care organizations, including the American Hospital Association, the New York Academy of Medicine and the Asian Health Care Leaders Association.
Raju is the recipient of numerous national recognitions, including Modern Healthcare’s list of the nation’s “100 Most-Influential People in Healthcare.” Modern Healthcare also named him one of the “Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare” and one of the “50 Most-Influential Physician Executives in Healthcare.” In 2013, he was named a Business Leader of Color by Chicago United.