December 2002

Meet the Leader of Memorial Health Care System,
Chattanooga, Tennessee

0300WilliamsBrinkley Photo

Ruth Brinkley
President and Chief Executive Officer

As the new president and chief executive officer of Memorial Health Care System, Ruth Brinkley, RN, CHE, is pleased to be part of an organization with Memorial’s history of success and future potential. "Memorial is a vibrant system dedicated to finding new ways to fulfill the health care needs of our community," said Brinkley. "I am privileged to work with talented and caring individuals."

Memorial Health Care System includes Memorial Hospital and Memorial North Park Hospital and has approximately 400 licensed beds. The hospitals offer an array of services, including strong cardiac, orthopedic and cancer programs. In addition, Memorial partners with community organizations such as the Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise and the District 9 Project to improve community health through housing improvement initiatives and economic development.

For Brinkley, Memorial stands apart from other local hospitals because of its commitment to living out its mission. "Our mission is an integral component of our culture. With every decision, we evaluate not only financial implications but the effect on our mission and its consistency with our strategy and core values," said Brinkley.

Memorial benefits from the knowledge and experiences of peers that face the same challenges. "The expertise of individuals at other Catholic Health Initiatives facilities and national staff members is always available to us," said Brinkley. "In my experience, everyone is willing to answer our questions or share their learnings, whether positive or negative."

Brinkley has more than 27 years of health care experience. Before she joined Memorial, she was senior vice president of performance management for Catholic Health Initiatives, where she was instrumental in establishing the system-wide performance management initiative that led to $235 million in improvements in two years. Prior to that, she was senior associate of performance improvement practice in the central region for CSC Healthcare, Chicago, Ill. She also worked at the University of Alabama Hospital, Birmingham, Ala., a 863-bed teaching hospital, as associate executive director of operations and chief nursing officer.

Brinkley graduated from De Paul University, Chicago, Ill., with master’s and bachelor’s degrees in nursing. Her work has been published in Health Care Strategic Management and Current Issues in Nursing. She and her husband, Ken, have five children and two grandchildren.