to head new Health System post
By Carol Wood
25, Ed Howell was happy and fulfilled. He was teaching high school
biology in his hometown of Zanesville, Ohio. He coached football,
basketball and track. Life had settled into a nice, steady routine.
one day when Jack, his tennis partner, asked Howell if he had
ever thought about changing careers. A week later, Howell spent
a day shadowing Jack, an administrator at the nearby community
hospital. Within the year, Howell was enrolled in Ohio States
masters degree program in hospital and health services administration.
knew I wanted a career where no two days were ever alike,
Howell said. And after 25 years I can still say that no
two days are alike.
then, Howell has dedicated his life to academic medicine
working, teaching and moving through the administrative ranks
at the universities of Minnesota, Georgia and Iowa. For the past
seven years he has been the director and CEO of University of
Iowa hospitals and clinics and managing partner of University
of Iowa Health Care.
weeks ago, R. Edward Howell, now 52, accepted a new position at
the University of Virginias Medical
Center. On Feb. 25, he will become vice president and chief
Howell has an unusual depth of understanding of the links between
clinical and academic medicine. His convictions about serving
people compassionately as well as his advocacy for doctors
and nurses and patients speak for him, said University
T. Casteen III. He is a visionary on all aspects of health
care, and I am confident that he will be a strong leader who will
fit well with our health center and its people.
will assume management responsibility for the operation of U.Va.s
hospital and clinics, in addition to all financial and information
technology functions. He will be expected to promote excellence
across all areas of system administration, said Leonard
W. Sandridge, U.Va.s executive vice president and chief
operating officer, to whom Howell will report.
brings to our Medical Center solid experience and exceptional
leadership skills, Sandridge added. He has an impressive
reputation for his strong commitment to the support of staff and
said he sees himself as a different kind of hospital administrator.
My roots are in education and in the values of academic institutions.
They are places where you can feel that youre making a difference,
where you know you have a crack at leaving a legacy, he
ticked off the reasons he was drawn to the job at U.Va.
its great reputation, its strong national presence, its rich tradition,
and its spectacular geographic location.
than all those things, however, he was drawn by the multitude
of opportunities laid out by Sandridge and Casteen. Remember,
Howell said, Im the guy who wants a job where no two
days are alike!
the interview process and his trips to Charlottesville, he said
he found that, everyone I talked to was impressive.
I knew I would have no trouble building a good team.
led to a discussion of Howells management and leadership
skills and his long-held ties to the tenets of good coaching.
While he described his style as principle-based collaborative
leadership, Howell still sees himself as that high school
coach in Zanesville, often but not without a sense of humor
using lingo from the playing field to make his points.
Good teams win.
Neither good managers nor good coaches can win without good
Team development is a never-ending process.
get hurt, managers leave.
You need to be prepared for change.
Without a good game plan, even the best teams cant
Coaches and managers should put the game plan into play,
then be able to step back and watch the team go to work.
laughed, realizing he might be getting carried away, but explained
that they are some of the things hes been discussing with
Iowas womens basketball coach over the past few years.
The two plan to collaborate on a book about the similarities between
coaching styles and management styles.
an avid sports fan, Howell sees a direct link between his two
loves. Health care and athletics are excellent learning
laboratories outside the classroom.
a confessed lifelong learner he has taken three writing
courses at Iowas world-famous writers workshop
Howell has kept his hand in the classroom as well. He currently
teaches a masters-level class in health administration.
At Iowa, he also holds academic appointments in the College of
Business and the College of Pharmacy, and is a professor in the
College of Public Health. His goal is to begin teaching at U.Va.
by January 2003.
love being in the classroom, Howell said. It helps
me to do a better job as an administrator. Im better able
to practice what I preach
and the students always keep
his first year of transition at U.Va., he will spend much of his
time settling into his new routine at the Universitys Medical
Center, creating his team and working with the physician
leadership to build on the rich traditions that exist at U.Va.
and to position the Medical Center to assume an even stronger
national prominence than it already enjoys.
that first year his wife Susan, a registered nurse, will be making
some important transitions of her own. She will have to adjust
to the fact that their two younger children will remain in Iowa
City one in the MBA program and the other an undergraduate
majoring in Japanese while they move on to a new university
community. And she will have to decide about work.
has continued to practice nursing through the years, most recently
part time in the radiation and oncology clinic of Iowa Universitys
she said, she has been drawn into community projects and local
politics. This year, among other things, she is co-chairing the
American Heart Associations upcoming annual gala in Iowa.
then theres her much-loved tennis game, which, as each of
their three children left home, she played more and more. Her
husband boasts that shes clearly the best player in the
family and one of the best in Iowa City.
are numerous decisions to be made before the Howells make the
trek east to Charlottesville. It will be a very different
experience for us, Susan said. This is the first time
that weve moved without children. They are facing
everything from how to separate from good friends to whether to
adopt their sons chocolate lab puppy (who may have made
the decision for them).
she bathed the dog on a recent Sunday afternoon, Susan Howell
talked about how difficult the weekend after the announcement
of Eds move was made public was for the couple. Yesterday
was the toughest. We went to a home football game and saw everyone
we knew, she said. But we got through it and were
beginning to look forward to the next adventure, this next phase
of our life together in Charlottesville.
clear that the Howells are quite a bit alike, both of them thriving
on that old no-two-days-should-be-alike theory.