Russell E. Armistead, M.B.A., has been named chief executive officer of Shands Jacksonville. Armistead replaces James R. Burkhart, D.Sc., who announced his resignation Jan. 2.
Armistead has broad experience in academic health center and medical school administration. Since 2004, he has served as associate vice president for finance and planning for the University of Florida Health Science Center in both Gainesville and Jacksonville, working directly under David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs at the University of Florida and president of UF&Shands, the University of Florida Academic Health Center. The Health Science Center includes the colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Health Professions, and Veterinary Medicine. The HSC, which is part of UF&Shands, generates approximately $1 billion in annual revenue, with more than 6,000 students and 1,700 full-time faculty across both campuses.
Since March 2012, Armistead has worked closely with Daniel R. Wilson, M.D., Ph.D., vice president for health affairs at the University of Florida and dean of the UF College of Medicine–Jacksonville, on matters pertaining to the faculty practice in partnership with Shands hospital leadership. He has led initiatives to improve profitability, managing financial and planning projects affecting the Jacksonville campus.
"Russ has a long history of effecting change that has led to positive results for our patients and our employees. He was instrumental in leading the recent strategic planning process for the UF&Shands system, which we call 'Forward Together.' Our plan sets the vision for our organization as a place where the patient comes first, and where we make careful use of our resources in support of that goal," said Guzick.
According to Lawrence J. DuBow, a member of the Shands Jacksonville Board of Directors, Armistead is the right choice to lead the organization.
"The Board of Directors believed we needed someone who could step in immediately in order to further efforts that have already led to significant accomplishments for Shands Jacksonville in the last two years," DuBow said. "We are confident that his combination of business savvy and experience working in an academic health care setting will help us achieve our financial goals as well as plans for future growth."
Fellow board member Beth McCague agrees, adding that Armistead's commitment to the success of UF&Shands Jacksonville is also a benefit to the community.
"UF&Shands Jacksonville is one of this city's most valuable assets. We are one of the largest employers in the area, creating a substantial positive economic impact here and in surrounding areas," McCague said. "But more importantly, we bring something unique to our community—high-quality health care for everyone in one of the region's most acclaimed academic health centers by some of the country's best physicians."
Wilson, who began his leadership of UF's Jacksonville medical campus a year ago, said he is looking forward to working side-by-side with Armistead.
"I am truly pleased Russ has accepted this position. He is familiar with all facets of UF&Shands Jacksonville—from finance to clinical operations, patient care, education and research," Wilson said. "Russ also has the right temperament to be a great CEO. He has consistently good judgment and a quiet wisdom that will lead us well. Russ is a direct, honest and very thoughtful person. I am confident he is the right person for this position of such consequence for UF, Shands and, indeed, the entire region."
Prior to joining UF, Armistead was president of Armistead Consulting LLC, a North Carolina firm that provided management and consultation services to academic health centers, hospitals and other health care organizations. During this time, he served dual roles at the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo—interim executive director of MCO Hospitals and vice president for finance and chief financial officer/treasurer. Efforts focused on revenue enhancement, consolidation and cost reduction, including efficiency and productivity of staff, resulting in the hospitals becoming profitable within a year.
Before starting his consulting firm, Armistead held leadership positions at Wake Forest University School of Medicine over the course of 24 years, including vice president for health services administration and associate dean for administrative services.
Armistead assumes his new role as CEO of Shands Jacksonville today (Jan. 7). Burkhart will remain with the organization in a consulting role through the end of February.