Sentara names new leaders

Published 9:41 pm Thursday, March 10, 2016

Howard P. Kern has taken over as the new president and chief executive officer of Sentara Healthcare. Kern succeeds former CEO of 21 years David L. Bernd, following his retirement.

“During these past 18 years … I’ve watched Sentara flourish into the high-quality integrated health system it is today,” Kern stated in a press release.

“We are an organization founded on quality, innovation and the pursuit of advanced technologies and processes which drive improved outcomes and, ultimately, an exceptional patient experience. I am most proud to be able to partner with our physicians and staff to assure that we meet the needs of the communities we serve.”

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In addition to building on the successes of Bernd, Kern has identified three key areas of focus that will guide his tenure as CEO, including clinical performance improvement, innovation and growth and customer centricity.

“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Sentara. Howard is an exceptional leader, one who has proven time and time again he will continue to meet the demands of a rapidly changing healthcare landscape,” said Sandy Harris, chair of the Sentara board.

“On behalf of the Board, I’d like to officially welcome Howard into his new role. We look forward to partnering with him and his leadership team as we collectively work toward improving the health of the communities we serve.”

Having formerly served in the position of chief operating officer, one of Kern’s first orders of business was to identify a new team member to serve in that role. Michael Gentry was named COO in January.

“Mike has invaluable leadership experience, having served as President and CEO of Florida Hospital Memorial System for eight years,” Kern said Since joining Sentara in 2008, he has provided important leadership in elevating our reputation for improving quality and patient safety. Mike is an exceptional leader, and I look forward to embarking on this journey with him.”

Gentry earned his MBA from La Sierra University in Riverside, Calif. He is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of the American Hospital Association.

In addition, he serves on the board for the VHHA and the CIVIC Leadership Institute and previously served on the board for the FoodBank of Southeastern Virginia and the Bay Youth Orchestra of Virginia.

Kern received his Master of Health Administration degree from the Medical College of Virginia in 1981, after receiving his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York.

He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of numerous professional and community organizations. He previously served on the board of the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association and was chairman in 2012.

“I look forward to working closely with Mike Gentry and the entire Sentara Leadership team to ensure our role as the trusted healthcare partner our communities deserve,” Kern said.