Robert J. Laskowski, M.D., MBA, today announced he will retire as president and chief executive officer of Christiana Care Health System in December of 2014 after 11 years of visionary leadership of one of the nation’s largest health care providers.
Nationally recognized as a leader in health care transformation, Dr. Laskowski has piloted a growth course that has firmly established the health system as a trusted and valued community health care resource with a national reputation for quality, safety and innovation.
Dr. Laskowski achieved this growth while remaining highly focused on Christiana Care’s mission of service as a not-for-profit health system. In 2013 alone, Christiana Care provided the community with $27.3 million in charity care. He also led the transformation of Christiana Care’s organizational culture through the adoption of The Christiana Care Way: “We serve our neighbors as respectful, expert, caring partners in their health. We do this by creating innovative, effective, affordable systems of care that our neighbors value.”
In announcing his retirement, Dr. Laskowski said, “Leading Christiana Care and collaborating with the board, physicians, trustees and leadership team have been among the most gratifying experiences of my professional career. It has been an honor, joy and privilege to serve this community.
“I have always believed a leader is only as effective as the team he or she has to work with. Our successes have been based in large measure on our team’s commitment to servant leadership. Our journey to transform health care has helped improve the quality of life and care in our community. I have every confidence in the Christiana Care Board and our leadership team to make this transition one of continued transformation and creating greater value for those we serve.”
Among Dr. Laskowski’s notable accomplishments:
- Christiana Care was named one of the nation’s top 100 hospitals by Truven Health Analytics (formerly the health care business of Thomson Reuters). The award evaluates nearly 3,000 hospitals and recognizes the top 100 that have achieved excellence in patient outcomes, patient safety, treatment standards, patient satisfaction, efficiency and financial stability.
- Expansion of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute to a 200,000-square-foot state of the art facility that serves the majority of cancer patients in Delaware. This National Cancer Institute selected Community Cancer Center is a national model for care and a leader in enrolling patients in clinical trials.
- The $210 million Transforming Wilmington project, which expands Wilmington Hospital by 337,000 square feet, creating a 1 million-square-foot medical center in the heart of Delaware’s largest city.
- Established the Christiana Care Value Institute, which studies health and health care with the goals of identifying and implementing strategies to achieve better health outcomes at lower costs.
- Launched Christiana Care Quality Partners, a new clinically integrated network of physicians, the hospital and other health care providers to develop and sustain clinical initiatives that improve access to care, clinical quality, cost control and the patient experience.
- Led Christiana Care through dramatic improvements in recognizing and promptly treating serious sepsis infections, earning the prestigious Ernest A. Codman Award in 2007. Christiana Care was one of only four among America’s 7,569 hospitals to receive the prestigious award.
- The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program recognized Christiana Care as one of only 37 hospitals in the nation achieving “meritorious” outcomes for surgical patient care in nine clinical areas.
- Established the nationally-recognized Center for Heart & Vascular Health, the only center in the region that integrates in a single location and under one roof cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, vascular interventional radiology, cardiology and interventional nephrology.
- Strengthened Christiana Care’s long term Standard and Poor’s bond rating to AA.
- Christiana Care’s Cardiovascular Critical Care Complex and Medical Intensive Care Unit both earned a Beacon Award for Excellence from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, one of the most prestigious clinical recognitions available to hospitals.
- Established the Middletown Freestanding Emergency Department, providing full-service emergency care to Middletown, Odessa and Townsend, Delaware.
- Established the Center for Translational Research and partnerships with The Wistar Institute, University of Delaware and others that have propelled the Graham Cancer Center to the forefront of translational cancer research.
Dr. Laskowski is the 2012–2014 chair-elect of the Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems (COTH) of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and becomes chair for 2014-2016. He is also a member of the AAMC board of directors. He serves on the Health Management Academy Chief Executive Officers Forum and the American Medical Association Section on Medical Schools. He is a former member of the American Hospital Association Section for Health Care Systems Governing Council.
A board-certified internist specializing in geriatric medicine, Dr. Laskowski is a professor of clinical medicine at Jefferson Medical College and a senior fellow at the Jefferson School of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, an adjunct professor at the College of Health Sciences at the University of Delaware, a former associate professor of medicine and associate professor of health evaluation sciences, and associate dean for medical education at Penn State University College of Medicine.
He is the chair of the Delaware Public Policy Institute Board of Trustees, past chair of the board of directors of the United Way of Delaware, and past chair of the Delaware Healthcare Association board of directors. Dr. Laskowski serves the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and the Wilmington Renaissance Corporation, and is former vice chair of the Delaware Business Roundtable executive committee. He is a member of the First State Innovation board and the University of Delaware Lerner College of Business and Economics college advisory board and serves on the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Economic Advisory Council.
Dr. Laskowski is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. He completed post-medical school residency training in internal medicine at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics and was a fellow in general medicine and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.
Before joining Christiana Care, Dr. Laskowski was chief medical officer for Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network in Allentown, Pa.