Eugene A. Woods Named NCHL’s 2022 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award Recipient


CHICAGO, August 10, 2022 ­– The National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) is thrilled to share that Eugene A. Woods, M.B.A., M.H.A., FACHE, president and chief executive officer of Atrium Health, has been named the 2022 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award recipient.

For more than 16 years, this award and celebratory event honors a healthcare leader whose commitment, values, and contributions have improved the health of the public through leadership and organizational excellence. The Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award was named in honor of Gail L. Warden, founding chairman of NCHL, president emeritus of Henry Ford Health System, and one of healthcare’s foremost leaders. This distinction recognizes his remarkable accomplishments as an innovator in healthcare delivery, community wellness, and health policy, and as a mentor and inspiration to future generations.

Woods will be presented with this award and honored during NCHL’s 2022 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award Celebration. This year’s event, held on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, will be hosted along the shore of Lake Michigan at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

“Gene often says he is inspired by the passion and dedication of our teammates and would be the first one to defer this recognition to what they have been able to accomplish – especially over the past few years amid the challenges of the pandemic,” said Edward J. Brown, chair of the Atrium Health Enterprise Board. “But this recognition truly reinforces what we also know: Gene’s unwavering leadership and impact extend beyond just Atrium Health and is helping to reshape how we approach healthcare across the entire nation. I am extremely proud of Gene and can think of no one more deserving to receive this honorable award.”

Woods is president and chief executive officer of Atrium Health, one of the largest non-profit and leading academic health systems in the United States, with over 70,000 teammates serving patients at 40 hospitals and more than 1,400 care locations across five states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Alabama. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Atrium Health provides care under the Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist name in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, as well as Atrium Health Navicent and Atrium Health Floyd in Georgia and Alabama. Atrium Health recently announced a strategic combination with Advocate Aurora Health in Illinois and Wisconsin, and once approved by the FTC, Woods will become the chief executive officer of the combined entity after 18 months.

Woods joined Atrium Health in April 2016, and during his tenure, Atrium Health has been recognized as one of the Best Employers for Diversity, for New Grads and for Women by Forbes; number one on the list of Best Places to Work for Women & Diverse Managers by DiversityMBA; one of the 150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare by Becker’s Healthcare; and the number one military-friendly employer in the country. In addition, the organization has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report, Leapfrog Group and the American Nurses Credentialing Center as among the very best in the nation and was honored by the American Hospital Association with the Equity of Care Award and one of the first-ever Quest for Quality honors for its Rehabilitation Hospital. Atrium Health was also recognized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) as a CMS Health Equity Award recipient for its dedication to health equity by reducing disparities and enabling communities to achieve the highest level of health.

One of today’s most prominent leaders in healthcare, Woods served as past chair of the American Hospital Association board of trustees in 2017 and the Nominating Committee and is currently a member of the Health, Strategy and Innovation Committee. Additionally, Woods is chair of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and the upcoming vice chair of the 2022 Conference of Chairs executive committee for the Bank.

Woods has 30 years of healthcare leadership experience, and his career is decorated with many honors, including his most recent recognitions as #4 of the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare and one of the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare – as well as being one of only five “Luminaries,” honored for their career-defining work in reshaping the industry– by Modern Healthcare.

“Gene Woods is a known champion of health equity, as evidenced by his numerous innovations in the healthcare industry to eliminate health disparities,” LeAnn Swanson, chief executive officer, NCHL said. “Given that NCHL’s mission and work are dedicated to advancing healthcare leadership and organizational excellence by building diverse, inclusive, and collaborative relationships in the US and abroad, we are proud to honor a leader who has made such tremendous strides in completing a series of transformative partnerships that have moved the needle exponentially towards a more equitable healthcare system while also expanding Atrium Health’s geographic footprint and its breadth of healthcare offerings. Numerous partnerships stewarded by Gene have not only fueled major improvements in the efficiency of care that is provided and greatly expanded patient access but have also prioritized healthcare equity, access, and justice. NCHL is thrilled to recognize our esteemed colleague’s outstanding achievements and that he has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award.”

The NCHL formally invites all those who wish to celebrate this momentous achievement, to join us at the 2022 Gail L. Warden Leadership Excellence Award Celebration, on the evening of Tuesday, November 15, 2022.

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For more information about this release or the event, please contact Meghan Nousaine, Senior Director at