Paula Autry has been chosen to guide Lutheran Hospital into the future as its new chief executive officer. She has 30 years of experience in the field of healthcare. Autry comes to Lutheran after serving as CEO of Detroit Medical Center’s Sinai-Grace Hospital, a full service, community teaching hospital consisting of 404 licensed beds.
At Sinai-Grace, Autry worked with 700 physicians, 700 nurses and 1,700 support staff to improve quality, and employee and physician engagement – the latter score rising by 173 percent. Under her leadership, Sinai-Grace achieved many honors including a U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals ranking; a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care designation; and a Governor’s Award of Excellence that was presented earlier this year.
In addition to supporting the verified Level II trauma center at Sinai–Grace, a program that treats approximately 25,000 trauma patients annually, Autry was also the Detroit Medical Center market leader for the oncology and women and infants service lines. DMC is a seven-hospital system located in southeastern Michigan that is made up of more than 2,000 licensed beds and 3,000 affiliated physicians.
“After taking part in multiple interviews with Paula, what continues to stand out to me is her desire to break the mold when it comes to assessing all challenges, big and small,” said nephrologist John Ducker, medical staff president, Lutheran Hospital. “That ability to inspire others to find new solutions is going to resonate with this community.”
A highlight of her numerous achievements and honors is Autry’s selection by Modern Healthcare as one of the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare in 2010. She has been actively involved throughout her career on the local and national level including an appointment to the board of governors of the American College of Healthcare Executives, membership on the American Hospital Association policy board and the Michigan Opera Theatre board.
Prior to her time in Michigan, Autry held leadership positions at hospitals in Mobile, Alabama, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Richmond, Virginia, and Columbus, Ohio. She also worked at academic institutions in Columbus and Atlanta as a professor and administrator, respectively.
“Speaking for all those who took part in the interview process, including members of Lutheran’s medical staff, we are fortunate to have someone with Paula’s experience and qualifications join our team,” said Mike Poore, regional president and CEO, Lutheran Health Network. “She shares our unwavering commitment for our hospital and network to reach their fullest potential.”
Autry graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s in pre-medicine in 1984. She received master’s degrees in business administration and healthcare administration from Tulane University in New Orleans in 1986.
While her vocation has taken Autry to various locations across the eastern half of the country, she is definitely no stranger to Fort Wayne. Her husband, Jonathan Autry, is a 1980 graduate of Snider High School. He was on the football, basketball and track teams there and remains the only Snider alum to ever go on to play football for the Fighting Irish. His journey from local high school standout to fierce defender on the collegiate level included 33 career starts and a fumble recovery in Notre Dame’s first-ever home night game in 1982.
The dynamic duo met at ND and married in 1986. Jon Autry graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in economics in 1984. His brother, Joel Autry, is also a Snider graduate who went on to serve as the captain of the Fighting Irish track team. Their sister, Gabrelle (Autry) Martin, graduated from Snider and attended Purdue. The matriarch of the family, Carol Autry, has resided in Fort Wayne since she and her late husband John settled there in 1966.
Beyond the obvious draw of already being familiar with the city she’ll soon call home, Paula Autry views the decision to continue her distinguished career as CEO at one of the state’s most important hospitals as an example of having the right opportunity present itself at the right time for all involved.
“I believe it is an exciting time to be a part of Fort Wayne as it continues to develop and become a more progressive community while maintaining its reputation as a great place for families,” she said. “Lutheran has a long legacy of providing excellent care with a commitment to the region. I am excited to be a part of Lutheran’s continued growth and its focus on service and quality.”