PROVIDENCE, RI – John Fernandez has been named the fourth president and chief executive officer of Lifespan, beginning in early 2023. Lifespan’s board of directors voted unanimously to approve Fernandez, who is currently president of Mass Eye and Ear and president of Mass General Brigham Integrated Care, both located in Boston, Massachusetts.
Fernandez will succeed Timothy J. Babineau, MD, who stepped down on May 31 after 10 years at the helm.
“These are unprecedented times in healthcare, and we need a transformative leader who has the vision and expertise to guide Lifespan’s future strategic direction,” said Lawrence A. Aubin, Sr., chairman of Lifespan’s board of directors. “All the candidates were exceptional and came from major academic medical centers in extremely competitive markets, but John Fernandez stood out as the leader that Lifespan needs during this time.”
Aubin added, “I’m confident that John has what it takes to lead Lifespan through the unprecedented headwinds that all healthcare organizations are experiencing across the country. He has demonstrated he is a versatile and engaged leader who can anticipate future possibilities and translate them into breakthrough strategies for Lifespan. John has the ability to mobilize an organization around focused goals and objectives, while also improving employee engagement and the patient experience.”
Fernandez will guide Lifespan’s strategic direction, build upon its already strong quality and safety program, and focus on Lifespan’s ambulatory footprint to make sure patients receive the best possible care in the most appropriate setting. He will continue to work toward better alignment with physicians and to create and foster an environment that advances innovation, transformation, and calculated risk-taking. He will continue Lifespan’s work to develop relationships focused on embracing unique patient and community needs and continue to build a diverse and inclusive culture at Lifespan to ensure our employee base is representative of our community.
Fernandez’s appointment comes after an extensive national search that was led by a nine-member search committee comprised of board members, physicians, management, and Lifespan’s community and academic partners including the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. The search committee gathered input from dozens of individuals including senior leaders, employees, physicians, board members, community leaders and other key stakeholders to identify the opportunities and challenges facing Lifespan, as well as the qualifications and leadership competencies for the next president.
About John Fernandez
Presently John Fernandez serves as president of two organizations that are part of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system.
Fernandez is President of Mass Eye and Ear, one of the nation’s largest specialty hospitals, exclusively dedicated to academic research, training and treatment for conditions that impair vision, hearing and other disorders of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, head and neck.
Fernandez also serves as President of Mass General Brigham Integrated Care, a Mass General Brigham entity formed in 2019 with a mission to bring lower cost health care closer to where patients live.
Fernandez has excelled throughout his career and has a demonstrated track record of increasing health care options and improving health services. He led key strategic initiatives for Mass General Brigham to provide greater access to ambulatory services in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and other states, including the design, planning, and opening of a multi-specialty ambulatory care and surgical center in Salem, NH.
During his 16-year tenure at Mass Eye and Ear, John designed and led a strategic plan that increased surgical volume by more than 70%; grew research funding from $18 million to $72 million; and brought Mass Eye and Ear world-class care closer to patients, by increasing the number of physician office sites from four to 22. John led a $252 million capital campaign to advance science and fund life-changing medical research. In 2018, he executed on a vision for Mass Eye and Ear to become a member hospital of Mass General Brigham.
Prior to his Mass Eye and Ear appointment, Fernandez served as vice president at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for several areas including surgical services, imaging, cancer, pathology, laboratory and network development. He is the chair of the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals (COBTH) and a member of the Boston Public Health Commission board.
Fernandez received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from The College of Wooster in Ohio and a master’s degree in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.