Press Release

John O'Brien to Receive AHA Board of Trustees Award

The American Hospital Association (AHA) today awarded John O'Brien, president and chief executive officer of UMass Memorial Health Care, Inc. in Worcester, Mass. with its 2010 Board of Trustees Award.  The award is presented to individuals or groups who have made substantial and noteworthy contributions to the work of the AHA.  O'Brien will receive the award at a ceremony at the AHA Annual Membership meeting in Washington.  

"As an AHA board member, John has served as a passionate leader for ensuring access to care for all," said Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the AHA.  "John's dedication to collaboration among community organizations and improved health care delivery has helped ensure access to care for those who need it most.  This award recognizes the impact his advocacy efforts have made on strengthening health and health care in America."

O'Brien has served as president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care, since 2002.  A partner with the University of Massachusetts Medical School, it is the largest not-for-profit health care system in central and western Massachusetts with 1,700 physicians and more than 13,500 employees.  During his tenure, UMass Memorial Medical Center received the 2007 AHA NOVA Award for its Healthy Youth Development Initiative.  It was one of six collaborative, hospital-led programs recognized for improving community health by extending help to low-income and uninsured children and adults, the chronically ill and racial and ethnic minorities.  In 2009, UMass Memorial Health Care was the first health care system with multiple hospitals simultaneously receiving the Betsy Lehman Award for Patient Safety.  Additionally, O'Brien is a past member of the AHA Board of Trustees, and has been an instructor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School since 2003. 

Previous to his work at the UMass Memorial Health Care, O'Brien served for 25 years at Cambridge Health Alliance, a regional safety net health serving several communities north of Boston.  While serving as CEO of the system, it received the 1993 Foster G. McGaw Prize for Community Service. 

O'Brien currently is a member of the Health Research and Educational Trust Board, the AHA Committee on Research and AHA's 2010 Operations Committee.  O'Brien serves in several leadership capacities outside of his work with the AHA.  He is on the executive committee of the National Association of Public Hospitals and chaired its board of directors in 2001.  He also is a founding member and member of the board of directors of the Alliance for Advancing Nonprofit Healthcare. 

Also an active member of his community, O'Brien serves as the chair of the City of Worcester Youth Advisory Committee and the co-chair of the City of Worcester Taskforce on Public Health.  Additionally, he is the co-chair of a city-wide initiative, Pioneering Healthier Communities, which focuses on policy development and advocacy for healthier eating and active lifestyle.  He also is a member of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation and First Wednesday Group for Worcester Business Leaders, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Worcester Regional Research Bureau. 

O'Brien graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor of arts in economics and earned a master's degree health care administration from Boston University. 

Fred Hessler, managing director of Citigroup's New York health care group, also will receive the 2010 Board of Trustees Award. 

About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at

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