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Sowers Named Chief Executive Officer of Duke University Hospital

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Duke Health News 919-660-1306

Kevin Sowers, MSN, RN, FAAN who began his career at Duke University Hospital (DUH) 24 years ago as an oncology nurse, has been named the hospital's chief executive officer.

In making the announcement, William J. Fulkerson, Jr., MD, senior vice president of clinical affairs for Duke University Health System (DUHS), highlighted Sowers' exemplary service over the past six years as chief operating officer at DUH and, for the past year, as interim CEO.

"Kevin is a proven leader who has made valuable contributions across the operational functions of the hospital, ranging from enhanced quality and safety measures to financial management," Fulkerson said.

"His excellent relationships with physician faculty and employees at large illustrate that he is a highly-respected leader and superb choice to execute our vision for continuing to extend the legacy of excellence associated with Duke University Hospital."

Sowers was named to this position following a national search process conducted by one of the country's leading executive recruitment firms.

In his roles as COO and interim CEO at DUH, Sowers has been responsible for implementing the hospital's strategic objectives in collaboration with the physician faculty, administrators and staff, and has had responsibility for the management of the hospital's clinical service units.

Sowers has driven organizational initiatives to improve clinical quality, patient satisfaction, work culture and finance. He also launched the Strength, Hope and Caring program to recognize hospital employees who exemplify those characteristics. He has also led several major expansion and renovation projects within DUH including major expansion to the emergency department, a modernization and expansion of hospital operating rooms, development of the state's only pediatric cardiac care unit, and expansion of the intensive care nursery.

"Throughout his two decades of service to DUHS, Kevin has played a significant role in the rise of Duke University Hospital to one of the elite medical institutions in the country," said Victor J. Dzau, MD, chancellor for health affairs at Duke University and president and CEO of the Duke University Health System.

"The dynamic nature of today's health care environment requires leaders who can effectively adapt to regulatory and reimbursement changes while always keeping the interests of patients as a primary focus. Kevin has demonstrated that he is exactly this kind of leader and he was a clear choice for this critically important position."

Prior to his roles as COO and interim CEO at DUH, Sowers had held a variety of administrative positions of increasing responsibility within DUHS, including those of associate vice president for hospitals and clinical facilities for DUHS, and as interim chief executive officer of Durham Regional Hospital.

"It's an honor to be selected as the CEO of a world-class hospital with such highly skilled and dedicated faculty and staff," Sowers said. "I'm committed to furthering the hospital's mission of providing excellence in patient care through the clinical translation of innovative research, while maintaining a healthy operational and financial foundation."

Sowers is internationally known for his lectures and writings on the issues of leadership, organizational change, mentorship and cancer care. His clinical research has focused on human responses to chronic illness.

Sowers received the Duke University School of Nursing Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006 and was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing in 2008. He has also served in a variety of leadership roles at the national level within the Oncology Nursing Society.

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