Leslie Davis once stood at the helm of a Tampa, Fla. classroom, teaching English as a Second Language to middle school students.
Then she decided it was time for a change.
“I want to be remembered for being brave and bold and decisive,” says Davis, who as a young teacher moved northward from balmy central Florida to Boston.
There, she would study health care administration at Harvard Business School and embark on a 30-year journey — rising through the industry ranks from hospital plant engineering controller to the first female CEO and President of UPMC.
“I knew this was my calling,” Davis says. “I want to be able to help clinical teams do their best work.”
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An Industry Veteran
The UPMC Board of Directors appointed Davis to the role of President and CEO on July 28 following a unanimous vote. She succeeds Jeffrey Romoff, the longtime President and CEO who led UPMC through a period of unprecedented growth.
During Romoff’s tenure, UPMC transformed from a Pittsburgh-based academic medical center to an international health care leader with some 93,000 employees and 800 locations. The board has charged Davis with ushering in UPMC’s next chapter at a critical time for the health care and insurance industries.
It’s a formidable task, but one for which she is well-poised: Davis has served in leadership positions at UPMC for nearly two decades.
Most recently, Davis served as both UPMC’s Executive Vice President and President of its Health Services Division. Before this, she was the Chief Operating Officer of the Health Services Division.
It was her role as President of UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital that first brought her to Pittsburgh in 2004. Since then, the organization has spread throughout Pennsylvania, the region, and the world.
“The changes at UPMC are what makes this system so exciting and so great to be a part of,” Davis says. “We are never satisfied. Yesterday’s solutions to today’s problems are just that — yesterday’s solutions.”
Before joining UPMC, Davis was President of Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia, part of Tenet Healthcare Corporation, and also served in various roles at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. She served as Chief Operating Officer at Presbyterian Medical Center and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Davis was Chief Marketing and Operations Officer at Penn Medicine.
“We are thrilled to announce Leslie as UPMC’s next leader,” says G. Nicholas Beckwith III, Chair, UPMC Board of Directors. “She brings a stellar track record built over three decades of leadership in health care.”
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A Commitment to Patients
Davis says UPMC will continue to build upon its culture of innovation in the years ahead — with a particular focus on the patient experience.
“There shouldn’t be a patient who wants to go anywhere else,” Davis says.
Of particular importance to Davis is translational science — the breakthrough “learning while doing” approach that UPMC continues to pioneer in its medicine. Davis says the size and scope of an organization like UPMC can help it leverage new learnings and technologies.
She hopes to see UPMC’s world-renowned specialty services spread from Pittsburgh to all the domestic and international regions that it serves.
At the core of this growth is a commitment to caring for patients.
“The most important thing that we’re doing right now is our double-down focus on the patient experience,” Davis says. “Because everything we do starts and stops with the patient.”
Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations in central and western Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.