VHHA Board of Directors Elects Officers at VHREF “Driving Health Care Innovation in Virginia” Spring Conference in Williamsburg

April 6, 2017

Board Officers Include Sentara Healthcare Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michael V. Gentry, Valley Health System President and CEO Mark H. Merrill, and Mary Washington Healthcare President and CEO Dr. Michael P. McDermott

RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) elected the 2017-2018 slate of officers to its Board of Directors this week during the Virginia Hospital Research & Education Foundation (VHREF) Spring Conference. The Board unanimously elected Sentara Healthcare Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michael V. Gentry as Chairman; Valley Health System President and CEO Mark H. Merrill as Vice Chair; and Mary Washington Healthcare President and CEO Dr. Michael P. McDermott as Secretary-Treasurer. Other Board officers include Augusta Health President and CEO Mary N. Mannix, the immediate past Chairwoman of the VHHA Board; and VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton.

The conference, “Driving Health Care Innovation in Virginia,” held this week (April 5-7) in Williamsburg brings together hospital and health system leaders and stakeholders from across the Commonwealth and beyond for a collaborative experience. This year’s successful conference attracted some 200 participants. In addition to being an opportunity for learning and engagement, the meeting is a forum for VHHA’s Board of Directors to elect a new slate of officers.

“At a time of continued change and transformation in health care, from both a public policy and delivery perspective, it is essential for the Association to continue constructive engagement with the public and decision makers to explain the critical role of community hospitals and health systems in promoting health care access in Virginia for the benefit of patients and the Commonwealth’s economic health,” said Gentry. “I appreciate the faith my colleagues have placed in me, and I look forward to our combined efforts in pursuit of enhancing health care for all Virginians.”

Gentry, who previously served as Board Vice Chair, is responsible for the operations of Sentara Healthcare’s provider divisions, including 12 hospitals, Sentara Life Care Corporation, and Sentara Enterprises. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of the American Hospital Association. Sentara hospitals have frequently been recognized for excellence. Among those accolades: Sentara Norfolk General Hospital is nationally ranked for cardiac and diabetes/endocrinology care by U.S. News & World Report; Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Sentara Leigh Hospital, Sentara Princess Anne Hospital, Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, Sentara RMH Medical Center, and Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center are designated Magnet Hospitals by the American Nurse Credentialing Center; and Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital recently was named a Top 100 Rural & Community Hospital by iVantage Health Analytics. Before joining Sentara, Gentry served for eight years as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Florida Hospital (FH) Memorial System. Prior to that, he spent 10 years with Park Ridge Hospital in North Carolina, the last five of which he served as the President and Chief Executive Officer. Gentry earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Southern College and a Master of Business Administration degree from La Sierra University.

Merrill, the new VHHA Board Vice Chair, is President and Chief Executive Officer of Valley Health System, which is headquartered in Winchester and operates six hospitals, three urgent care facilities, more than 30 physician practices, and a medical transport service. Under Merrill’s leadership, Valley Health has built three new Critical Access Hospitals, expanded specialty outreach services, been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Regional Hospital (Winchester Medical Center) and Best Nursing Home (Warren Memorial Hospital), and maintained Magnet Nursing status at Winchester Medical Center. Prior to joining Valley Health, Merrill served as President of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and also was Executive Vice President of Texas Health Resources. Before that, Merrill worked in Washington, D.C., at the Washington Hospital Center/Medlantic Healthcare Group (now MedStar Health) where he served in various corporate and hospital executive management positions. Merrill also serves as a member of the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Board Three. He recently was named to Virginia Business magazine’s 2017 Most Influential Virginians list. Merrill received a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Science in Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

McDermott, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Mary Washington Healthcare, is the new Board Secretary-Treasurer. Mary Washington Healthcare is a not-for-profit, fully integrated, regional medical system that provides emergency, inpatient, and outpatient care through more than 40 service locations in the Fredericksburg region, including two hospitals. Mary Washington Hospital is a Magnet Nursing Facility and was regionally ranked in 2016 as number six in Virginia and number four in the Washington Metro Region for Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report. Mary Washington Healthcare is a recipient of the Achievement in Performance Excellence Award from the U.S. Senate Productivity and Quality Award Program. Mary Washington is Joint Commission certified for Advanced Primary Stroke Center, Advanced Certification in Heart Failure, Advanced Certification in Hip and Knee Replacement Surgeries, and is an American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer accredited program. A diagnostic and interventional radiologist, McDermott practiced medicine in Fredericksburg for 17 years with the Radiologic Associates of Fredericksburg and served in a variety of leadership and governance roles with Mary Washington Healthcare prior to his selection as President and CEO in 2015. In 2016, McDermott was named one of the Top 110 Physician Leaders to Know by Becker’s Hospital Review and was recently inducted as a Fellow by the Society of Interventional Radiology. McDermott received his undergraduate degree from Villanova University and his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Medicine. His residency and fellowship were completed at the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore. He is Board Certified in Diagnostic and Vascular and Interventional Radiology. McDermott earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 107 hospitals and 30 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its vision is to achieve excellence in both health care and health. Its vision is through the power of collaboration to be recognized as a driving force behind making Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. Connect with VHHA through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and


Julian Walker
Vice President of Communications
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