The Society of Hospital Medicine has announced that Eric Howell, MD, MHM, will become its next CEO effective July 1, 2020. Dr. Howell will replace Laurence Wellikson, MD, MHM, who helped to found the society, and has been its first and only CEO since 2000.
“On behalf of the SHM board of directors, we welcome Dr. Howell as the incoming CEO for our organization who, with the mission-driven commitment and dedication of SHM staff, will take SHM into the future,” said Danielle Scheurer, MD, MSRC, SFHM, president-elect of SHM and chair of the CEO search committee. “With his broad knowledge of hospital medicine and extensive volunteer leadership at SHM, Dr. Howell’s experience is a natural complement to SHM’s core mission.”
Dr. Howell has a long history with SHM and has a wealth of expertise in hospital medicine. Since July 2018, he has served as chief operating officer of SHM, leading senior management’s planning and defining organizational goals to drive extensive, sustainable growth. Dr. Howell has also served as the senior physician advisor to SHM’s Center for Quality Improvement, the society’s arm that conducts quality improvement programs for hospitalist teams, since 2015. He is a past president of SHM’s board of directors and currently serves as the course director for the SHM Leadership Academies.
“Having been involved with SHM in many capacities since first joining, I am truly honored to become SHM’s CEO,” Dr. Howell said. “I always tell everyone that my goal is to make the world a better place, and I know that SHM’s staff will be able to do just that through the development and deployment of a variety of products, tools, and services to help hospitalists improve patient care.”
In addition to serving in various capacities at SHM, Dr. Howell has been a professor of medicine in the department of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. He has held multiple titles within the Johns Hopkins medical institutions, including chief of the division of hospital medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, section chief of hospital medicine for Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, deputy director of hospital operations for the department of medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview, and chief medical officer of operations at Johns Hopkins Bayview. Dr. Howell joined the Johns Hopkins Bayview hospitalist program in 2000, began the Howard County (Md.) General Hospital hospitalist program in 2010, and oversaw nearly 200 physicians and clinical staff providing patient care in three hospitals.
Dr. Howell received his electrical engineering degree from the University of Maryland, which has proven instrumental in his mastery of managing and implementing change in the hospital. His research has focused on the relationship between the emergency department and medicine floors, improving communication, throughput, and patient outcomes.
The search process was led by a CEO search committee, comprised of members of the SHM board of directors and assisted by the executive search firm Spencer Stuart. Launching a nationwide search, the firm identified candidates with the values and leadership qualities necessary to ensure the future growth of the organization.
“After a thorough search process, Dr. Eric Howell emerged as the right person to lead SHM,” said SHM board president Christopher Frost, MD, SFHM, “His experience in hospital medicine and his servant leadership style make him an ideal fit to lead SHM to even greater future success.”
In the coming weeks, the SHM board of directors will work with Dr. Howell and Dr. Wellikson on a smooth transition plan to have Dr. Howell assume the role on July 1, 2020.