The North Broward Hospital District Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to name Shane Strum the next President and Chief Executive Officer of Broward Health on 2/8/21. The vote was taken as part of the Board’s special meeting to interview candidates for the position. Dr. Michael Hochberg, President and Chief Medical Officer for the Acclaim Physician Group, and Joseph Mullany, past President of Vassar Brothers Medical Center, were also interviewed by the Commissioners.

Mr. Strum has an impressive resume with tons of South Florida experience. Most recently, Strum has been serving as Chief of Staff to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Prior to his work with the state, Strum served as Senior VP at Memorial Healthcare System in Hollywood, Florida, where he was part of an executive team that managed over 15,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $2.4 billion. He also oversaw Memorial’s strategic planning, marketing, community relations and global health functions. Before he joined Memorial’s executive team, Strum served on the South Broward Hospital District Board for several years, including two terms as chairman.

I had a chance to chat with Ray Berry, a Board Member and past Board Chair. We discussed why Strum was selected and what they hope he will bring to Broward Health. As a Chairman of the Board during the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Berry and other Board Members worked tirelessly to implement systems to help manage the response and he knows what the hospital needs from its new CEO. Below is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation:

What differentiated Mr. Strum from the other two finalists?

Shane’s a great communicator, very knowledgeable about healthcare and specifically the Broward County healthcare marketplace.

What are the key skills required for this job at this time?

Ability to delegate. The health system is huge so one person can’t do it all. Pick the right people, distribute the work properly and efficiently. Hold subordinates accountable. No wrecking ball is necessary. Shane’s job is to build on our current momentum. We had lots of turnover over the past ten or twelve years. But now the direction is right while more progress needed. One critical focus is on outcomes as well as patient satisfaction.

What were the challenges in doing this executive search during a pandemic?

COVID meant initial interviews were on Zoom. It was difficult to read body language, smiles, eye movements etc. Subsequent face-to-face meetings were socially distanced with masks. This too resulted in less effective communication.

What is the right time frame for a CEO to serve?

With past CEO’s, because of where Broward Health was in its journey, it was understood that the CEO would only stay for a short while. But now with the health system on an upward trajectory, the timing is right for Shane. I think he’s here for the long-term.

What are some of the challenges of recruiting a CEO for a public health system?

Our health system is using tax dollars to operate so we go by a different rule book. This means the health system is not able to offer the compensation packages offered by some privately held health systems. Further, being a public entity means everything – e.g. outcomes, financials – is open to scrutiny.

With a new year and a new CEO, what are Broward Health’s main goals going forward?

Deliver vaccines to everyone, increase patient volume, improvements on clinical outcomes – we’re meeting the national thresholds but we can do even better.

Ambition goals and high expectations means that Mr. Strum will have to be ready to go for his anticipated mid-March start date. “I have no doubt Shane’s going to hit the ground running,” asserts Mr. Berry.