Press Release

Richard Umbdenstock to Receive AHA Distinguished Service Award

The American Hospital Association (AHA) will present its highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, to Richard J. Umbdenstock, president emeritus, AHA. This award recognizes significant lifetime contributions and service to health care institutions and associations. Umbdenstock will receive the award at a ceremony on May 8 at the AHA Annual Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Umbdenstock served as president and CEO of the AHA from 2007 to 2015. Previously he served the AHA as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and its executive committee, as well as chairing the operations committee and serving as an ex-officio member of Regional Policy Board 9. He also served on the Circle of Life committee and chaired the Task Force on Coverage & Access. Before joining AHA, Umbdenstock was executive vice president of Providence Health & Services and president and CEO of the former Providence Services, Spokane, Washington.

“Rich’s leadership was deeply rooted in his keen understanding of America’s hospitals and their potential to provide the very best service to their communities and to their patients,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “His emphasis on quality, coverage and system transformation helped change the American health care system and care delivery across the nation.”

As president and CEO of the AHA, Umbdenstock was instrumental in advancing AHA’s commitment to improving quality and patient safety and strengthening the association’s infrastructure to provide member hospitals with assistance on improvement strategies.  Umbdenstock led the AHA in supporting reforms that expanded coverage to all Americans, advancing overall health and wellbeing as well as developed AHA’s positions on delivery system organization and integration.

Umbdenstock’s career includes experience in hospital administration; health system governance, management and integration; association governance and management; HMO governance; and health care governance consulting. He has written several books and articles for the health care board audience and has authored national survey reports for AHA, the Health Research & Educational Trust and the American College of Health Care Executives (ACHE).

He received a B.A. degree in politics from Fairfield University (CT), and a master’s in health services administration from SUNY- Stony Brook. He is a Fellow of ACHE. Umbdenstock served as vice chair of the National Quality Forum, served on the Board of Enroll America and co-chaired the CAQH Provider Council. He also served on the National Priorities Partnership and now serves on the board of the Center for Transforming Advanced Care.

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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