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3 finalists named for CEO post at UNM Hospitals


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico is a step closer to naming the next leader of UNM Hospitals.

The university on Friday revealed three finalists for the CEO job at New Mexico’s only Level 1 trauma center. The three remaining candidates – each of whom has worked in an academic medical center – will visit campus this month for town hall meetings at the Domenici Center for Health Sciences Education.

Dr. Paul Roth, UNM Health Sciences Center chancellor, will subsequently make the hiring decision. Roth has said previously he hopes to have the new CEO in place by this summer.

The finalists (and town hall dates) are:

Herbert C. Buchanan

• Herbert C. Buchanan, who served as president at Indiana University Health’s academic medical centers, Methodist and University Hospitals from 2014-2016. His roles prior to that included CEO of Howard University Hospital and chief operating officer for University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. (Town hall: 8-9:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 17)

Kate Becker

• Kate Becker, president of SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital. She has led the Level 1 trauma center and teaching hospital since 2015. Prior to that, she spent one year as interim president of SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, and four years as president of SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond Heights, Mo. (Town hall: 9:30-11 a.m. Friday, April 20)

Deborah McGrew

• Deborah McGrew, current vice president and chief operating officer for the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. She has been with UTMB since 2013, leading the UTMB Health System Operations that include three hospitals and more than 90 clinics. She was previously associate vice president at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital. (Town hall: 8-9:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 24)

UNMH has about 7,000 employees and an annual budget of nearly $1.1 billion. The new CEO would come aboard amid a push to increase hospital capacity. Officials contend that the existing hospital – some parts built in the 1950s – is outdated and insufficient to meet statewide demand and accommodate modern medical equipment and needs. UNM is in the process of selecting an architecture firm to design an expansion plan. Officials have proposed a new, 120-bed facility on university land north of Lomas and east of University, though they may explore some other alternatives.

The chosen candidate will succeed Steve McKernan, who retired last fall after 37 years at UNMH, including 21 as its CEO. Michael Chicarelli has served as interim CEO.

Roth will ultimately determine the salary. The position’s current range is $500,000-$650,000, according to Sara Frasch, the hospital’s human resources executive.


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