Russell F. Cox assumed his current position on Jan. 1, 2017. He joined Norton Healthcare in September 2000 as vice president of support services. He was appointed senior vice president, operations and development, in October 2002; executive vice president in September 2004; and executive vice president and chief operating officer in September 2005.
Cox has more than 38 years of executive experience in health care. Before joining Norton Healthcare, he spent six years as executive director of resource operations at Caritas Health Services in Louisville. Before that, he worked for Humana Inc., Galen Healthcare and Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., in various executive roles, including human resources, development and acquisitions, and operations support.
Cox, a lifelong resident of Louisville, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Louisville’s College of Education and Human Development. He also attended the Vanderbilt University Owen School of Management in Nashville, Tennessee, and completed the requirements for certification from its Executive Development Institute.
Cox is active in the community by serving on various nonprofit and volunteer boards. He currently serves on the Bellarmine University Board of Trustees and is a member of its Executive Committee; Kentucky Chamber Board of Trustees; Greater Louisville, Inc. Board of Trustees; and WDRB Editorial Board. He previously served on the Downtown Development Corporation Board as treasurer and member of its Executive Committee; Kentucky Country Day School Board of Trustees as board chair and member of its Executive Committee; and as past chair of the Leadership Louisville Foundation Board. In 2018, he was honored by the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana with the “Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout” award. In 2019, he was named one of the Most Admired CEOs in the Louisville area by Louisville Business First, and in 2020, he was inducted into the Kentuckiana Business Hall of Fame.
Michael W. Gough was named executive vice president and chief operating officer on Oct. 30, 2017, after serving as executive vice president. Before that, he served as system senior vice president of operations and chief financial officer since September 2003, and vice president of finance since July 2000.
Before joining Norton Healthcare, Mike was chief financial officer at Caritas Health Services in Louisville, and worked for Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. and its predecessors, Galen Healthcare and Humana Inc. for over 17 years. During his time at Humana, he served as chief financial officer for Audubon Regional Medical Center; chief financial officer for Medical Center Hospital in Huntsville, Alabama; assistant executive director of finance for Audubon Regional Medical Center; assistant executive director of finance at University of Louisville Hospital; and financial management specialist for McFarland Hospital in Lebanon, Tennessee. Mike began his career in health care with Humana in 1977 as a patient care attendant at what is now Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital.
Mike earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from Bellarmine University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Louisville. He currently serves on the boards of directors of the Community Foundation of Louisville and OneWest, and he is a past member of several other community boards. In 2009, Mike was selected by Business First as “CFO of the Year.” He is a member of the Bellarmine University Gallery of Distinguished Graduates.
Matthew P. Ayers was named to his current role on Feb. 7, 2014, after serving as system vice president, surgical and orthopedic services, for Norton Healthcare. In his current role, Matt is responsible for providing operational leadership for Norton Hospital, Norton Healthcare’s flagship, 605-bed teaching hospital. He previously served in various roles over 10 years with Norton Medical Group, where he gained experience in strategic planning, financial management, physician relations and recruitment, and operations of physician practices, urgent care centers and hospitals.
A native of Evansville, Indiana, Matt earned a bachelor’s degree in health care administration from Western Kentucky University (WKU), Bowling Green, and a master’s degree in business administration from Indiana University, New Albany. Matt currently serves on the boards of the Kentucky Hospital Association, Louisville Medical and Education District (LOUMED), Louisville Downtown Management District and WKU’s health care administration program. Matt lives in Louisville with his wife, Jenny, son, Bryson, and daughter, Hadley.
Robert B. Azar joined Norton Healthcare in 2005. His responsibilities include legal services, risk financing, risk management, workers’ compensation, compliance, internal audit and privacy.
Before joining Norton Healthcare, Robert served as vice president and general counsel for Alegent Health in Omaha, Nebraska, where his overall responsibilities included the legal and regulatory affairs of the organization and its affiliates, including compliance, governance, managed care, risk financing, risk management and legal services. Prior to that, he was vice president and general counsel for Immanuel Healthcare Systems in Omaha, Nebraska, where he performed similar responsibilities.
Robert grew up in the Los Angeles area and has a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He earned his law degree and master’s degree in health administration from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Laura Chandler was named to her current role in November 2016. She serves as liaison to the Norton Healthcare board of trustees and is responsible for the administration of the organization’s executive offices. She joined Norton Healthcare in 2012 as system director, special projects.
Laura’s previous experience includes serving as vice president of the Kentucky State Fair Board; director of administration, Office of the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator; policy advisor, Commonwealth of Kentucky Department of Public Protection; and associate general counsel, Rawlings and Associates PLLC. She is a current board member and past chair of the Family Community Clinic in Louisville.
She earned her juris doctor degree from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law and is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association.
Joseph M. Flynn, D.O., MPH, FACP, was named to his current role on Dec. 17, 2017, after serving as executive director and physician-in-chief for Norton Cancer Institute since November 2015. Dr. Flynn is responsible for operational and strategic leadership of Norton Medical Group, which includes more than 1,700 health care providers at more than more than 300 locations. He also oversees growth and services at Norton Cancer Institute. He pays particular attention to enhancing the patient care experience and improving access to care while developing destination programs. He remains active in the realm of experimental therapeutics and novel care.
Prior to joining Norton Healthcare, Dr. Flynn served at The Ohio State University, Columbus, where he held several positions including co-director, division of hematology; associate physician-in-chief, Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute; medical director, James Cancer Network; and associate professor of medicine of the university’s College of Public Health.
Dr. Flynn earned his medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Pennsylvania, and a master’s degree in public health from Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland. He completed his fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Bethesda. He is board certified in medical oncology and a fellow of the American College of Physicians. Dr. Flynn has been active in community education on a wide variety of cancer-related topics, continues to lecture nationally on an array of topics and has contributed to more than 80 medical publications.
Vanessa L. Garrett was named to her current position on Sept. 1, 2018. In this role, she is responsible for the oversight and administration of Norton Healthcare’s compliance, privacy and internal audit programs. Vanessa oversees the organization’s system compliance program activities to ensure that Norton Healthcare implements effective internal processes that promote adherence to applicable state and federal health care program laws, promotes an ethical culture, and protects the privacy of patient information.
She joined Norton Healthcare as research legal counsel in 2013 and was promoted to senior research legal counsel in 2017. Her previous experience includes positions with KentuckyOne Health and the University of Louisville. She also worked with the U.S. Department of Justice and in private practice in Washington, D.C.
Vanessa earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and her law degree from the University of California at Davis. She is a member of the bar in California, the District of Columbia and Kentucky.
Randy Hamilton has been in his current role since August 2020. He is responsible for the overall operations of the 432-bed Norton Audubon Hospital, ensuring that the services provided addresses our community’s needs. Previously, he served as system vice president, operations, for Norton Medical Group, where he was instrumental in expanding Norton Medical Group to include a record number of providers, and as system director, care management and clinical effectiveness.
Prior to joining Norton Healthcare, Randy held multiple leadership roles in health care, including chief executive officer of Northland LTAC Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, and chief operating officer for Chest Medicine Associates in Louisville.
Randy earned his bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, and his master’s degree in business administration from Webster University in Louisville.
John Hammond has been in his current role since January, 2023. He has worked in human resources for about 30 years and has been with Norton Healthcare for more than 10 years. Previously, as system director, he was responsible for Norton’s employee benefits and compensation programs, human resources technology, and payroll. As chief human resources officer, John continues his oversight of these important programs, while also focusing on employee engagement, retention, talent acquisition, workforce development, and core human resources services.
John received his bachelor’s degree from State University of New York at Buffalo and his MBA from the University of Louisville. He is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management and the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration. Over his career he has served as a board member for several non-profits, including a local credit union, Habitat for Humanity and the YMCA.
Steve Heilman, M.D., joined Norton Healthcare in 2008. He is responsible for fostering innovation in the organization to improve quality, access to services, and patient care. This includes management of electronic medical records, as well as oversight of emergency services and medical informatics.
Dr. Heilman earned his medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine and completed his internship and residency in emergency medicine at Metropolitan Hospital, New York, New York. He is board-certified in emergency medicine and a fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians.
Steven T. Hester, M.D., MBA, was promoted to his current position in January 2017 after serving as system senior vice president and chief medical officer since 2008. Prior to that he served as vice president, medical affairs, and chief medical information officer from 2006 until 2008. He joined Norton Healthcare in 2004 as chief medical information officer. He has served Norton Healthcare in multiple medical staff positions, including president of the medical staff for a Norton Healthcare facility and representative on the System Medical Executive Committee.
Prior to joining Norton Healthcare, Dr. Hester practiced emergency medicine full time, serving as regional medical director for Kentuckiana Emergency Physicians. During his tenure there, Dr. Hester worked to improve quality and volume with significant success while redefining multiple processes within the organization.
Dr. Hester holds bachelor’s and medical degrees from the University of Louisville and a Master of Business Administration degree from Bellarmine University in Louisville. He completed his residency training in internal medicine and pediatrics at the UofL School of Medicine.
Dr. Hester is a lifelong resident of Louisville and serves on the board of directors of The Louisville Sports Commission and Leadership Louisville. He also serves on multiple national committees and boards focused on improving the delivery of health care for patients.
Charlotte Ipsan, DNP, RNC, NNP-BC was named to her current role in July 2022. She oversees operations for all Norton Healthcare hospitals.
She previously served as chief administrative officer of Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital, since 2012. Charlotte was instrumental in creating the first women’s and children’s hospital in the Louisville area. She has excelled at implementing a transformational model of comprehensive health care for women, along with expanded pediatric services in conjunction with Norton Children’s.
Charlotte has more than 30 years’ experience in maternal/child and pediatric health care. She worked in several roles at Norton Children’s Hospital, Norton Audubon Hospital and the former Norton Suburban Hospital, including staff nurse; nurse manager, neonatal intensive care unit; and director, women’s services. She was named vice president of Norton Children’s Medical Center, the first pediatric outpatient center of its type in Kentucky, in November 2009, then promoted to system vice president of pediatric services for Norton Healthcare/Norton Children’s Hospital in 2011.
Adam D. Kempf is responsible for Norton Healthcare’s financial operations, including operating and capital budgets, accounting systems, audits, and long-term financial and capital planning. Adam joined Norton Healthcare in 2001 after working in public accounting for six years. He began his career at Norton Healthcare as senior internal auditor and served in multiple finance roles prior to his current role.
A native of Southern Indiana, Adam earned his bachelor‘s degree in accounting from Indiana University, Bloomington. He is a certified public accountant, a graduate of the Ignite Louisville and Leadership Louisville programs, and actively involved with the Kentucky chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. He was recognized by Business First as a Best in Finance honoree and currently serves on the boards of directors for Our Lady of Providence High School in Clarksville, Indiana, and Rauch Foundation, New Albany, Indiana.
Riggs Lewis joined Norton Healthcare in November 2015. He oversees all of the organization’s external policy, legislative and regulatory matters in Kentucky and Indiana, as well as government relations strategy at the local, state and federal levels. Prior to joining Norton Healthcare, Riggs was a founding partner of Rotunda Group LLC, a bipartisan government relations and business development firm, where he worked for 15 years.
He spearheaded the creation of the Louisville Medical and Education District (LOUMED) to educate city leaders about the economic impact of the city’s aging downtown medical center and the need for long-term urban planning and investment. Riggs currently serves on the Louisville Downtown Development Corp. board of directors, is chair of the Louisville Chamber of Commerce’s Health Policy Committee and leads a statewide effort to promote Medicaid expansion.
Riggs earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and his law degree from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law.
In 2004, Riggs and his wife, Alicia, adopted their two children, Grant and Eliza. Riggs is an avid cyclist and has cycled across nine states. He is engaged in fundraising for multiple causes and is a guest speaker and advocate on adoption matters.
As executive medical director of Norton Heart & Vascular Institute Advanced Heart Failure & Recovery Program, and executive director of the Institute for Health Equity, a Part of Norton Healthcare, Kelly C. McCants, M.D., is focused on serving patients facing difficult health challenges, as well addressing health disparities in the community. He has a true passion for identifying and removing obstacles that prevent people in underserved areas from receiving health care. Before joining Norton Healthcare, he served as director of cardiac transplantation at Piedmont Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. McCants earned his medical degree from Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee, and completed his internship, residency and fellowship at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. Growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Dr. McCants said he drew inspiration from his mother and older brother, and credits his stepfather with developing his aptitude. He is the first physician and only the fourth college graduate among 54 members of his extended family.
As an African American and a physician, Dr. McCants is deeply aware of structural racism and inequities, as he has experienced them personally. This helps him understand issues and concerns from a patient and provider perspective. Through work with heart failure patients, Dr. McCants learned the power of addressing socioeconomic dynamics to help patients achieve recovery. He believes being able to serve is the greatest gift.
Tammy McClanahan has been associated with Norton Healthcare since volunteering as a teenager. She officially joined the organization in 1988 as a patient care associate and since then has held several positions of increasing responsibility within the organization. Tammy began her current role in September 2022 after serving for five years as system vice president, adult and pediatric service line.
She has been instrumental in overseeing operations and capital projects for nine outpatient locations. This included the 2011 construction of Norton Cancer Institute – Downtown and its $15 million renovation and expansion in 2020; the development of Norton Cancer Institute Women’s Cancer Center on the downtown campus; the $38 million construction of Norton Cancer Institute – Brownsboro in northeastern Louisville; and development of the Norton Children’s Cancer Institute service line.
Tammy earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Louisville School of Nursing, and her master’s degree in health care administration from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Tammy is an oncology certified nurse, a member of the Association of Cancer Executives and the Association of Community Cancer Centers, and has served on the executive committee of the American College of Surgeons. She is on the board of directors for the Leadership Louisville Center.
Lynnie Meyer, R.N., Ed.D., CFRE, oversees Norton Healthcare’s community initiatives and philanthropy. As chief development officer, a position she has held since 2004, she leads the operations of the Norton Children’s Hospital Foundation and Norton Healthcare Foundation. The foundations support the needs of Norton Children’s Hospital and the adult-service hospitals of Norton Healthcare. Under her leadership, the foundations have generated more than $300 million in support of Norton Healthcare’s mission of service to the community.
Prior to joining Norton Healthcare, Lynnie served as President and CEO of The Center for Women and Families in Louisville, where she successfully led a $12.5 million fundraising campaign. While in this role, the center won the Annie E. Casey Foundation Families Count Award and secured a prestigious Kresge Foundation Challenge grant. Meyer has held positions with Caritas Health Services, University of Louisville Hospital, Caretenders and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Lynnie earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing and master’s degree in nursing administration from Bellarmine University in Louisville. She also holds a doctorate in leadership education from Spalding University. She is a graduate of Leadership Louisville, Bingham Fellows and Leadership Kentucky, and is a certified fundraising professional by CFRE International.
In 2008, Lynnie was selected as one of 20 nurses in the nation to participate in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows Program, an advanced leadership experience for nurses in senior executive roles. She was inducted into the Bellarmine University Gallery of Distinguished Graduates, named a Business First “Forty Under 40” honoree and named by the Shakertown Roundtable as one of 40 Kentucky Leaders for the New Century. Lynnie has received numerous awards, including the Center for Nonprofit Excellence Art of Leadership Award, the National Conference for Community and Justice Humanitarian Award, the Presentation Academy Tower Award, and the National Philanthropy Frank W. Penick Founders Award for excellence in fundraising.
Renee Murphy joined Norton Healthcare in January 2022. In her role, Renee is responsible for key branding, outreach and communications initiatives for Norton Healthcare. She oversees the Marketing & Communications Department, which is responsible for physician, children’s and system marketing; creative services; digital strategy; media relations; and internal communications.
A highly respected communications professional, Renee brings over 20 years’ experience in news, public relations, communications and brand-building via community engagement. Her previous positions include chief of communications for Jefferson County Public Schools and news anchor and reporter for WHAS11 News, both in Louisville.
Renee has also been involved with many civic and nonprofit groups around issues of equity, health, inclusion and advancement, including NAACP Community Conversations, Frazier History Museum, Bridging the Ninth Street Divide, Society for the Prevention of Aggressiveness and Violence Among Adolescents, and others.
The Rev. Ronald C. Oliver, Ph.D., MBA, BCC, has served in his current role since November 2009. He is responsible for mission and outreach initiatives for employees, pastoral care, Norton Faith & Health Ministries, the ethics council and aspects of community benefit reporting.
Ron began his career with Norton Healthcare as a chaplain resident in 1989 and became a staff chaplain for the pediatric intensive care unit at Norton Children’s Hospital in 1992. He was named director of Norton Healthcare’s pastoral care department in 2002 and subsequently was promoted to division director, then associate vice president of the department.
Ron holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. His doctoral dissertation, “Effects of an Acute Traumatic Crisis on Faith,” is the basis for the Norton Children’s Hospital Bereavement Intervention Program. He earned his master’s degree in business administration from Bellarmine University in Louisville. Ron is a frequent speaker on grief, theodicy and well-being, and has published several peer-reviewed articles. He serves on several boards, including for Baptist Seminary of Kentucky.
Ron is endorsed by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. He is a board-certified chaplain through the Association of Professional Chaplains.
Steve L. Ready joined Norton Healthcare in September 1998 as manager, end user computing, Information Services. He was promoted to director, IS customer service; then division director, enterprise services; and associate vice president, enterprise services, before advancing to his current position.
Ready is responsible for IS system infrastructure, IS support for clinical and business applications, IS strategic planning and related areas. His contributions during his career with Norton Healthcare have included many system implementations, including the Epic electronic medical records system and the robust IS service and support model in place today.
A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Ready earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion. He is a certified Microsoft systems engineer.
Kim Tharp-Barrie, DNP, R.N., SANE, FNAP, was named to her current role in July 2022. She is responsible for developing and supporting strategies for patient care in alignment with Norton Healthcare’s goals, as well as maintaining a nursing culture of safety, quality and patient engagement. She has more than 40 years of health care experience, including the past 20 with Norton Healthcare.
Kim has a strong reputation as a results-oriented leader. She came to Norton Healthcare as vice president of surgical services in 2002, became system vice president of Norton Healthcare Institute for Nursing and Workforce Outreach in 2009, and most recently served as system vice president, Norton Healthcare Institute for Education & Development. Kim continues to lead the institute at this time.
Scott Watkins began his current role in January 2017 after serving as system vice president, operations, since April 2004. Prior to that, he served in operational roles at Norton Audubon Hospital and Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital.
Watkins began his professional career in 1992 with Eskew & Gresham in Louisville. After earning his certified public accountant (CPA) designation in 1995, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to begin his health care career with Columbia/HCA, then the largest hospital company in the United States.
In 1997, Watkins returned to Louisville to work for Audubon Hospital. A year later, Norton Healthcare bought the hospital from Columbia/HCA, and he accepted a position with Norton Healthcare. He has had the opportunity to work at the facility level and system level during his time at Norton Healthcare. He enjoys getting to make a difference in his hometown and is extremely grateful to be part of the Norton Healthcare family.
Watkins holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting from the University of Louisville and a Master of Business Administration degree from Bellarmine University in Louisville. He is licensed as a CPA in Kentucky.
Watkins, who is a native of Oldham County, Kentucky, and his wife, Pam, have three children, Madison, Jackson and Luke. He serves as a board member for Christian Academy of Louisville and the Kentucky Derby Festival and is an elder at Northeast Christian Church in Louisville.
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