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Providence names new leader

Tue., March 18, 2008

Providence Health Care has hired Dr. Andrew Agwunobi as chief executive officer to oversee its Eastern Washington operations that include Sacred Heart Medical Center.

He moves to Spokane in the midst of a fast-paced career – saying he wants to immerse himself in a Catholic health ministry while raising his two young daughters, ages 5 and 3, in a city like Spokane.

“As a family we have been on a quest for balance,” he said.

Agwunobi, 43, had worked as secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, reporting directly to the governor and administering the $16.6 billion Florida Medicaid program.

He also worked as chief executive of Grady Health System in Atlanta, which bills itself among the largest public health systems in the United States. It includes the 953-bed Grady Memorial Hospital.

Agwunobi said he considers Providence, which also oversees Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories, Holy Family Hospital and other care centers, to be expertly managed.

Agwunobi’s family is rooted in medicine. He is a pediatrician, and his father, a Nigerian, is a surgeon. His mother is Scottish and raised his family in Scotland.

His older brother, John Agwunobi, was a top-ranking official in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services before accepting a job last summer as the top health official for Wal-Mart.

Agwunobi – featured in Modern Healthcare magazine among other top young executive talents – is married to Dr. Elizabeth Nega, an internal medicine doctor.

He completed medical school at the University of Jos in Nigeria and performed his pediatric residency at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C. He has a master’s in business administration from Stanford University.

“Because Providence Health Care has focused on the community and the quality of health care, it’s really a privilege for me to be here,” he said.


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