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Metro Health Launches National Search to Replace CMO

Posted: November 16, 2010

Dr. William C. Cunningham, who has served as executive vice president and chief medical officer for Metro Health since 1995, will be stepping down to accept a new position with the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Yisrael M. Safeek will serve as interim CMO while Metro Health conducts a national search for a replacement. The health organization expects the search may take up to a year. Cunningham, who will be working in medical education for MSUCOM, will also serve as a consultant to Metro Health.

"For the past 20 years, Dr. Cunningham has served Metro Health with a focus on quality of care for our patients and community," said Mike Faas, president and CEO. "He is an excellent physician-leader, helping our team through some of the biggest changes in our history – including the move to the new hospital. We wish him all the best in his new role with Michigan State and are appreciative and glad he will continue to work with Metro as a consultant.

"We also want to welcome Yisrael Safeek to Metro Health. He brings an incredible wealth of experience with him to his new role with us, and we look forward to working with him in the coming year."

As chief medical officer, Safeek will be responsible for guiding a medical staff of more than 540 physicians. Prior to joining Metro Health, he served as president and CEO of Integrity Physician Solutions in Lexington, Ky. He has also served as chief medical officer and chief quality officer for Covenant Health partners in Lubbock, Texas, chief quality officer and medical director for Pikeville Medical Center in Pikeville, Ky., among others.

Safeek serves on the advisory board of Lexus Motor Co., as a lead surveyor for The Joint Commission and on the board of examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program. He is a certified physician executive, or CPE, from the American College of Physician Executives.

He also holds memberships in the American College of Healthcare Executives, American College of Physician Executives, American Patient Safety Foundation, American Society of Quality, American Society of Anesthesiologists and the American Medical Association.

He holds a bachelor of science summa cum laude from Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn., a doctor of medicine from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City and an MBA summa cum laude from the University of Tennessee’s Physician Executive Program.

Cunningham joined Metro Health in 1990 serving as Metro’s executive vice president and chief
medical officer since 1995. Active both personally and professionally, Cunningham serves or has served on the boards of the Metro Health Hospital Foundation, Kent Health Care PHO, Kent Health Plan, the Wellness Center, Community Care Plan, Catholic Human Development Organization, Cherry Street Health Services and other organizations, many times serving as a chair of these boards.

Cunningham was appointed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2008 to a four-year term on the State of Michigan Board of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery. He has been active in the American Osteopathic Association, currently serving on the Bureau of Hospitals, Bureau of Education and the Committee of Minority Affairs.

He is also a governing board member of MSUCOM’s Statewide Campus System, a clinical professor of Family and Community Medicine in MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. He was honored in 2007 by MSU with the Walter F. Patenge Medal of Public Service for his contributions to the community and to the profession.

"Dr. Cunningham was instrumental in formalizing our medical staff development plan," said Dr. Paul Kovack, Metro Health chief of staff. "He has focused on benchmarking our institution with respect to quality, patient care and safety. We are incredibly fortunate that he will continue to serve the hospital and the greater West Michigan in his new role with MSUCOM."



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