By Shellie Byrum


The Class of 2018 profiles the women and men who joined the AHA board this year.

The hospital and health system field faces significant transformation, with a tectonic shift in focus from episodic care to promoting community health and wellness, AHA board member Carmela Coyle observes. Coyle is president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association (MHA).

Given the challenges ahead, “the field will be stronger and better served if we define our own future and invent it ourselves, rather than being subjected to others who will disruptively innovate,” says Coyle, who joined the AHA’s board on Jan. 1. “If we can do that, we will be miles ahead.”

Coyle says helping to define that future is one of the most important roles that the AHA can play, while it recognizes that there are many pathways for members to reach the future. And in looking at the future, it’s also important to keep the AHA ahead of the game.

“If we think about how fast our members are changing, the association needs to chart its course to change even faster to remain relevant to our members,” says Coyle. “So I'm pleased to be a part of the leadership effort to make certain that we do that and do it well. 

Coyle brings a depth of experience and breadth of relationships to the AHA board. She has been MHA's president and CEO since July 2008. She previously served at the AHA for 20 years. She was the association’s senior vice president for policy from 1998 to 2008.

Given the association’s broad and diverse membership, she believes an ability to listen is both a crucial skill and an asset for the AHA board. “To help create a future where we listen to and help our members,” says Coyle. “That's critically important with sensitivity to all the differences that exist in the hospital field.” 

Coyle is passionate about recognizing and embracing the unique attributes of the communities that hospitals serve. She is a strong advocate of the AHA’s #123forEquity Pledge to Eliminate Health Care Disparities. She had led efforts to sign up 70% of Maryland hospitals for the equity campaign so far.

Coyle believes the more the field can do to understand communities, not just by zip code but by block and by house, the more successful hospitals will be in managing population health and providing care efficiently and effectively.

“We need to define very crisply the characteristics and the issues that challenge individuals from both an illness and a wellness perspective,” she says. “The more understanding we have about our different cultures and circumstances, the better we can care for those communities.”