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Gwen MacKenzie Senior Vice President and Michigan Market Leader, Ascension Health


Gwen M. MacKenzie is Senior Vice President and Michigan Market Leader, Ascension Health. She provides strategic and operational leadership while promoting alignment among Health Ministries within the Michigan regional market and with the System Office on issues related to Mission and Vision.

Prior to joining Ascension Health, Ms. MacKenzie served as president and CEO of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, a regional medical center consisting of an 806-bed hospital, physician practices and a network of specialized medical campuses and clinics that include a nursing and rehabilitation center, a psychiatric hospital and urgent care and outpatient centers.

After joining Sarasota Memorial in 2005, Ms. MacKenzie successfully opened six outpatient centers, including a freestanding Emergency Room and Health Care Center in North Port. She shepherded the hospital through an ER initiative with a 30-minute door-to-doctor goal, eliminating ambulance diversions while increasing patient volumes and satisfaction. Those kinds of improvements, coupled with a focus on growth opportunities and cost-saving measures, helped Sarasota Memorial turn around a financial loss into a positive margin. Indeed, the organization’s financial performance resulted in bond-rating upgrades and paved the way for a $250 million campus improvement project. The centerpiece of the project is the nine-story Courtyard Tower — completed in the fall of 2013 — that serves as the new “front door” of the hospital as well as the home of cardiac, orthopedic, mother-baby and neonatal intensive care services. 

Ms. MacKenzie is chair-elect of the board of the Florida Hospital Association and serves on the boards of the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida, FSU College of Medicine, the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Cooperative Services of Florida and USF Community Leadership Council. She also served on the Florida Governor’s Health and Human Services Transition Team.

Ms. MacKenzie was listed among the “100 Leaders of Great Hospitals” by Beckers Hospital Review in 2013. In 2014, the Sarasota-Manatee Section of the National Council of Jewish Women named her a “Women in Power” honoree. In 2011, MacKenzie was honored as a “Woman of Valor” by JFCS and received the Community Youth Development’s Leadership Award. She also received the AJC/West Coast Florida’s 2011 Civic Achievement Award. Other honors include the Girls, Inc. of Sarasota County “She Knows Where She’s Going Award” and the Ear Research Foundation of Sarasota Recognition Award.

Trained as an oncology nurse, Ms. MacKenzie worked for 25 years at the Detroit Medical Center before assuming the chief executive role at Sarasota Memorial. Starting as an advanced practice nurse practitioner, she worked her way from bedside care and clinical management to executive vice president and chief operating officer at DMC. She also was president of a number of the DMC hospitals and for a time served as interim CEO of the system.

MacKenzie attended the University of Michigan, earning a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s in Health Services Administration. She received a Master’s degree in Nursing from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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