Leading national healthcare publication Modern Healthcare has named Wendy Horton, PharmD, MBA, the chief executive officer of University of Virginia Medical Center, to the magazine’s 2023 list of Top 25 Women Leaders in Healthcare.
The annual list honors “female executives who are guiding healthcare delivery improvement across the country,” according to Modern Healthcare.
Horton joined UVA Medical Center in April 2020 as chief operating officer, becoming chief executive officer in November 2020. She “created a strategic roadmap and transformational plan to optimize the medical center’s operations shortly after being tapped to lead in 2020,” Modern Healthcare said, which led to a $60 million increase in yearly net operating revenue. She has also devoted significant effort to employee compensation and retention, the publication noted. This has included $70 million for increased compensation and launching the “Earn While You Learn” program to provide local residents with paid, on-the-job training to begin and build a healthcare career.
K. Craig Kent, MD, UVA Health’s chief executive officer, said that Horton is a trailblazer and a role model, with her commitment to professional development of others and focus on mentorship making her an ideal candidate for this recognition.
“A part of Wendy that people externally might not know is her ability to engage, her caring nature, as well as the passion she uses to carry out her work. This is her secret weapon,” Kent said. “She has made a number of changes in our organization over the last three years that have been incredibly positive; nevertheless, it has been change. The reason that she has been so successful is her style and her ability to listen and care deeply about the people she represents.”
Melina R. Kibbe, MD, dean of the UVA School of Medicine, highlighted Horton’s focus on supporting women in leadership. Horton mentors future leaders and has guided the development of mentoring programs for early and mid-career nurses at UVA, Kibbe said. Horton has also recruited and promoted women into leadership positions at UVA Medical Center, Kibbe added, with women making up 70 percent of Horton’s leadership cabinet.
Kibbe also praised Horton’s leadership skills, describing her as “the complete package: a chief executive officer who can problem solve and partner with the hospital and the faculty to see the big picture. She has a unique ability to build teams across diverse disciplines. She is charismatic, inspirational, and practical with an energy and verve that inspires her peers.”
Horton shared her appreciation for everyone who has helped her build a career in healthcare.
“First, I am so thankful for everyone who has mentored me and helped me take on these leadership roles,” she said. “I also want to share my gratitude for every team member at UVA Medical Center. The past few years have been incredibly challenging for everyone in healthcare, and our team has stepped up again and again to provide excellent care for all our patients. This honor from Modern Healthcare reflects the incredible work done every day by our team.”