By ELIZABETH COOPER • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – Bassett’s new president and CEO has been called “a man on a mission.”
Just 39, Dr. Tommy Ibrahim has accomplished a great deal in a short time.
He graduated from medical school at 23 and made a rapid ascent into leadership positions, most recently serving as executive vice president and chief physician executive for Integris Health System, the largest not-for-profit and state-owned health care system in Oklahoma. It’s a top 25 healthcare system, according to U.S. News and World Report.
“He brings to us the experience of being the top physician leader of a large, highly regarded health system,” said Douglas Hastings, chairman of the network board, in announcing the appointment Tuesday, May 19. He praised Ibrahim’s “innovative and forward-looking drive to embrace the future of healthcare and to advance Bassett’s mission of improving the health of our patients and the well-being of our communities.”
Ibrahim will succeed Bill Streck as head of the eight-county hospital system when he arrives here in mid- to late July.
Ibrahim called the position at Bassett “a wonderful opportunity for any leader.”
“It is a phenomenal organization and has a legacy that is unparalleled,” he said, pointing to Bassett’s academic and research strengths and its rural setting. “The opportunity to be a part of that and to continue shaping the future of such a prestigious organization is really the main attraction.”
Ibrahim said he will begin by listening and learning as much about Bassett as possible.
“How we move together as an organization and how we continue the agility and resiliency of Bassett to meet the changing healthcare landscape will be very important,” he said.
He wants to continue to improve access to healthcare in this rural community and to take
a preventive approach to care.
“With the industry transforming before our eyes, it is a wonderful opportunity to use this time as a catalyst for reimagining how we take care of patients,” he said. “It is an exciting time and a great opportunity for us to advance healthcare in new ways.”
► “MAN ON MISSION”
Integris’ website contains a 2019 news release congratulating Ibrahim when he was nominated as one of Modern Healthcare magazine’s 50 Most Influential Clinical Leaders.
The release calls him “young, a bit of an overachiever and a man on a mission.”
Ibrahim’s parents – a mechanical engineer and a businesswoman – were born and
raised in Egypt, but emigrated to New Jersey. There, they had two sons, Ibrahim and his younger brother, who now practices family medicine in Chicago, the release states.
The older son’s interest in medicine came after an unspecified “significant accident” when he was 16, he said in the release.
“It was one of those experiences that helps you appreciate life a lot more,” he was quoted as saying. “I’ve always had a deep connection to helping others but wasn’t quite clear on how I was going to fulfill my passion until I had my own experience as a patient.” He attended a 5-year medical school program in Cambridge, England, immediately after high school, graduating at 23.
Integris called Ibrahim’s leadership there “transformational” and said he was “elevating the tenor” of its entire system.
Though Ibrahim is a practicing hospitalist, he opted to go into administration because he felt he could have greater impact there.
“As a physician, I see 16 to 20 patients a day and could make that impact daily,” he said in the release. “As chief physician executive, I can have a positive impact on close to 2,000 patients a day.”
Ibrahim will succeed a local legend: Dr. Streck, an endocrinologist who arrived here in the late 1970s, was Bassett Hospital president/CEO by 1984, and spent the next 30 years building a single hospital in the multi-county system the new president/CEO will inherit.
Retiring in 2014, Streck, now 72, joined HASNY, the Healthcare Association of New York State, as chief medical and health systems innovation officer. But when his successor, Dr. Vance Brown, resigned in March 2018, Streck was summoned back in an interim role as network president/CEO. The position of Bassett Hospital president was created at that time, filled by Dr. Bill LeCates.
At Integris, Ibrahim served as the physician executive in charge of leading the strategic direction for clinical services throughout the 19-hospital health system of owned and joint-venture assets, including all clinical operations, the physician enterprise, and system integration objectives. This position included direct responsibility for system research, graduate medical education and medical informatics.
“I am humbled,” said Ibrahim, “to become part of the Bassett family and to follow in the footsteps of the visionary leaders.”
In 2014-17, Ibrahim was chief physician officer and vice president of medical affairs at Mercy Health Network in Des Moines, Iowa. In 2010-14, he was senior vice president and chief physician executive at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Ill.
Ibrahim received his M.D. and bachelor of Medical Science degree in England and completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, an academic affiliate of Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, Md.
He holds a master of science degree in Health Administration from Seton Hall University. He received a graduate certificate in Organizational Behavior & Executive Coaching from the University of Texas, in Dallas, and was nominated to Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Clinical Leaders of 2019.
He is a practicing hospitalist and boarded in internal medicine and hospital medicine.
Ibrahim is also a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, fellow in Hospital Medicine, and received the Certified Physician Executive accreditation from the American Association of Physician Leadership.
Ibrahim’s accomplishments also include improving rural health care at Mercy Health Network through the successful implementation of telehealth programs for rural Iowa network hospitals, and improving access to residents in remote communities.
He has held board positions with Autism Oklahoma, Health Alliance for the Uninsured, and The Iowa Medical Education Collaborative, where he served as board chair from 2014-17. Founder of the J. Christian Autism Foundation, he was a Medical Missionary for International Medical Relief in 2016 and was a GI research assistant for the National Institutes of Health in 2009.
Ibrahim grew up in Jersey City. He said he came to Cooperstown with his father many years ago and spent summers on Lake George, so the region is familiar.
He and his wife Marian have two children, John-Christian, 10, and Sophia Haven, 5. They are looking forward to returning East and excited to call Cooperstown home.
“Outdoor galore!” Ibrahim said. “We are going to love the lake. I jet ski and hike and run. I can’t wait to spend my first summer here. It’s very exciting. I can’t wait to get started.”