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John D. McConnell, MD

John D. McConnell, MD, CEO, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
John D. McConnell, MD

In 2008, John D. McConnell, MD, was named as the first chief executive officer in the history of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, the largest employer in the Piedmont Triad, including almost 90% of the region's physicians listed among the "Best Doctors in America."

As CEO, McConnell oversees the clinical, research and academic enterprise for Wake Forest Baptist, reporting to the Medical Center's board of directors.

McConnell comes to Winston-Salem from Dallas, where he was executive vice president of health system affairs at University of Texas Southwestern beginning in 2003. In that position, he had overall responsibility for UT Southwestern's university hospitals and clinics as well as the faculty physician practice.

A noted urologist who joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 1984, McConnell held a number of clinical as well as administrative posts at UT Southwestern, including urology department chair, prostate disease center director, vice president for clinical programs and executive vice president for administration.

During his tenure as chair of urology, McConnell's department was ranked in the NIH top 10 funding list. His own research accomplishments were recognized by his election to the prestigious Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

McConnell brings to Wake Forest Baptist a philosophy of balanced excellence which has guided his career for 25 years. "All components of the mission must be the best they can be," he explained. "We all think and act as one entity. The emphasis is on quality not quantity.

"From a prospective patient's viewpoint, Wake Forest Baptist will be the best place to go for the highest quality care from the best physicians who have been attracted by the quality of students and topnotch research," McConnell added. "Every individual who works at Wake Forest Baptist should feel appreciated and challenged to optimal performance."

Wake Forest Baptist's relationship with Wake Forest University was a major draw for McConnell.

"Close affiliation with a leading university, especially in such areas as mathematics, computer science, engineering, business and law, is vital to a medical center with a vision of greatness," McConnell said. "The complexity of health care and the challenge of translating research advances into improved patient cares require expertise not traditionally found in an academic medical center."

A native of Independence, Kansas, McConnell earned a BA in chemistry from the University of Kansas, then an MD (magna cum laude) from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, followed by surgical internship and urology residency at UT Southwestern.

He and his wife, Melinda, a former medical technologist with an MBA, have been married for 30 years. Their daughter Cara is an English major at the University of Kansas.

"The not-so-secret formula for success," he wrote to the Wake Forest Baptist CEO Search Committee, "is to identify and recruit the most talented faculty possible and then to provide them with the resources and environment to succeed."

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Last Updated: 06-13-2017
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