Oral History Collection

Press Release


Contact:          Kim Garber, kgarber@aha.org, (312) 422-2003

John W. Bluford III Oral History Released

Long-time leader at Truman Medical Centers (Kansas City, Mo.)

CHICAGO (February 16, 2017) – The Center for Hospital and Healthcare Administration History announces a new publication in the Hospital Administration Oral History series:

Thinking back to the days when he was a young night administrator at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, John Bluford refers to himself as a human gun collector.  He was responsible for collecting contraband that patients and visitors brought into the hospital – guns, knives, machetes. Early on, he also had a job working as an epidemiologist in St. Louis, interviewing community residents about sensitive health topics.  These experiences complemented his master’s degree training at Northwestern University to groom him to be comfortable as a leader in talking with all kinds of people.

Mr. Bluford moved to the Twin Cities to become the administrator of the Pilot City Health Center and later worked his way up through the ranks at the Hennepin County Medical Center (both in Minneapolis).  He helped found the Metropolitan Health Plan, a health maintenance organization for Medicaid enrollees and others. In the late ‘90s, he was recruited to become President & CEO of Truman Health Centers in Kansas City, Mo.

Truman Health Centers was in need of change and Mr. Bluford was able to bring about a turnaround.  Among the changes were an emphasis on making the facility more attractive through basic cleanliness and the display of a large art collection.  He partnered with a bank to offer financial services at the hospital and sponsored a farmer’s market.  While he was there, the hospital established a corporate academy to help further the life-long learning of employees.

In this comprehensive oral history interview about his life and career, Mr. Bluford reminisces about lessons learned in each step along his career path.  He shares thoughts on governance, leadership style and shaping corporate culture.  He describes the importance of participation on boards such as the United Way and talks about his service as the chairman of the Board of Trustees at the American Hospital Association.  He also shares information about his current passion – the Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute.

The full text of this new oral history interview is available at no charge on the Center website at http://www.aha.org/chhah.  Other recent oral history interviews which can be found on the website include that of John G. King, Dr. Paul Batalden, Scott Parker, Dr. Thomas F. Frist, Jr., Sr. Mary Roch Rocklage, Dr. David Lawrence, Percy Allen, and Edward A. Eckenhoff.

The Center for Hospital and Healthcare Administration History was established by the American Hospital Association and the American College of Healthcare Executives and is coordinated by the AHA Resource Center in collaboration with the Health Research & Educational Trust.  For more information about the Center and its programs, visit the website or contact Sara Beazley, director, at (312) 422-2050.


Oral histories preserve the first-person recollections of leaders who shaped the past and laid the foundation for the future.  Since 1978, the American Hospital Association and the Health Research & Educational Trust have jointly sponsored an oral history project coordinated by the AHA Resource Center.  Over 90 interview transcripts are available in this oral history collection. 

In the 1980s, the oral history interviews were conducted and edited by Lewis E. Weeks, former editor of the journal Inquiry.  These interviews, known as the Lewis E. Weeks series, are fully indexed in: Index to the Hospital Administration Oral History Collection.  Selected excerpts from these interviews are also published in the book: Weeks, L.E., and Berman, H.J.  Shapers of American Health Care Policy: An Oral History.  Ann Arbor, MI: Health Administration Press, 1985.

Printed copies of the oral history transcripts may be borrowed from, or examined on-site at, the American Hospital Association Resource Center in Chicago.  For more information, please call (312) 422-2050.

Copyright notice: Visitors to this site have a non-exclusive, nontransferable, limited and revocable right to use materials posted on this site solely for the user’s personal, non-commercial use.  Materials posted on this site are copyright protected, and may not be reproduced, transmitted, published or distributed by the user without the express written consent of the copyright holder.


Published oral histories are available for the following individuals:

Chaiker Abbis (1986)
Faye G. Abdellah (1984)
John E. Affeldt (1987)
Percy Allen II (2013)
Odin W. Anderson (1984)
Ron J. Anderson, M.D. (2014)
Solomon J. Axelrod (1987)
Paul B. Batalden, M.D. (2014)
Lowell E. Bellin (1984)
Howard J. Berman (2011)
August F. Bloese (1985)
John W. Bluford III (2017)
Fred L. Brown (2016)
Madison B. Brown (1985)
George Bugbee (1984)
H. Robert Cathcart (1988)
W. Montague Cobb (1984)
Wilbur J. Cohen (1984)
Edward J. Connors (1984)
John A. D. Cooper (1986)
George Crile, Jr. (1984)
Nelson H. Cruikshank (1984)
Robert M. Cunningham, Jr. (1984)
Richard J. Davidson (2010)
Leon Davis (1984)
Thomas C. Dolan (2014)
Avedis Donabedian (1984)
Edward  A. Eckenhoff (2015) Video
C. Wesley Eisele (1988)
Paul M. Ellwood, Jr., M.D. (2011)   Video
I. S. Falk (1984)
Stanley Ferguson (1994)
Gary L. Filerman (1984)
E. Evelyn Flook (1985)
Spencer Foreman, M.D. (2008)
Thomas F. Frist, Sr., M.D. (1986)
Thomas F. Frist, Jr., M.D. (2013)
Sidney R. Garfield (1986)
Aladino A. Gavazzi (1987)
Symond R. V. Gottlieb (1987)
Leo F. Greenawalt (2012)
Merwyn R. Greenlick (1988)
John R. Griffith (2010)
Frank S. Groner (1989)
Joan S. Guy (1985)
James Hague (1984)
Jack A. L. Hahn (1994)
James A. Hamilton (1984)
T. Stewart Hamilton (1987)
Miles C. Hardie (1987)
Robert L. Harman (2015)
Gerhard Hartman (1984)
John F. Horty (1989)
Everett Johnson (1993)
Lloyd R. Johnson (1987)
Richard L. Johnson (1994)
John G. King (2015)
Herbert E. Klarman (1997)
Karl S. Klicka (1984)
Sister Irene Kraus (1988)

Lowell C. Kruse (2015)
Bernard J. Lachner (1996)
Ben W. Latimer (1989)
David M. Lawrence M.D. (2013)
George F. Lynn (2014)
John Robert Mannix (1984)
Billy G. McCall (1989)
Foster G. McGaw (1985)
John Alexander McMahon (1987)
Walter J. McNerney (1984)
Matthew F. McNulty, Jr. (1998)
John S. Millis (1985)
Wilbur D. Mills (1984)
Wade Mountz (2009)
James R. Neely (1985)
Russell A. Nelson (1986)
Stanley R. Nelson (1988)
Maurice J. Norby (1984)
D. Kirk Oglesby, Jr. (2012)
Jack W. Owen (1988)
Scott S. Parker (2013) Video
Andrew Pattullo (1984)
Earl Perloff (1984)
Daniel Pettengill (1984)
Carl N. Platou (1995)
Haynes Rice (1984)
Elliott C. Roberts, Sr. (2012) Video
William T. Robinson (2011)
Sister Mary Roch Rocklage (2011)  Video
Milton I. Roemer (1985)
C. Rufus Rorem (1984)
Austin Ross (2012)
William A. Rothman (1984)
Ruth M. Rothstein (2009)
James H. Sammons (1987)
Paul J. Sanazaro (1985)
Ernest W. Saward (1987)
Sister M. Maurita Sengelaub (1986)
Sam Shapiro (1988)
Cecil G. Sheps (1993)
D. Eugene Sibery (1988)
Robert M. Sigmond (1984)
Robert M. Sigmond: Part II (2009)
Vergil Slee (1984)
Albert W. Snoke (1987)
Anne Ramsay Somers (1984)
John M. Stagl (1989)
David W. Stewart (1987)
Richard J. Stull (1984)
John D. Thompson (1992)
Robert E. Toomey (1988)
Bernard R. Tresnowski (1986)
Gail L. Warden (2010)
Lewis E. Weeks, Jr. (1993)
Myron Wegman (1989)
Donald W. Welch (1988)
Stuart A. Wesbury, Jr. (1986)
Kerr L. White (1984)
Kenneth Williamson (1984)
Ray Woodham (2010)


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