(PHOENIX – Sept. 15, 2021) – After 51 years of service to the health care industry, Linda Hunt, President and CEO of Dignity Health’s Southwest Division, will retire in January 2022.
“My fulfilling journey in health care has been a humbling and rewarding lifework,” says Hunt. “I am blessed to have lived my calling and I am honored to have spent the past 23 years devoted to improving the health of Arizonans.”
Hunt joined Dignity Health in 1998 and since 2009 she has led Dignity Health’s Southwest Division, which is anchored by 11 outstanding hospitals in Arizona and Nevada. Under her leadership, the division has grown into a respected and comprehensive health care system, which also includes numerous health care facilities, medical groups, graduate medical education, a wide range of joint ventures and community partnerships, and a team of thousands of health care professionals.
Hunt served in leadership roles at the University of Colorado Health Sciences and Regis University in Denver before moving to Phoenix in the late 1990s to join the executive leadership team at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. She became president of St. Joseph’s in 1999, and under her guidance the hospital soon became a world-renowned academic medical institution, bringing prestige and recognition to the region. Her leadership helped to elevate Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s, an internationally recognized world leader in neurological research and patient care; and establish Norton Thoracic Institute, one of the nation’s leading centers for lung transplantation. She also played a critical role in the development of the Central Phoenix regional campus of the Creighton University School of Medicine.
Starting out as a clerk at Walgreens and later a secretary at a Louisiana construction company, Hunt knew she wanted more. Called to serve her community, she enrolled in nursing school at Hotel Dieu School of Nursing. From that humble beginning, an extraordinary 51-year career in the health care industry began – first as a nurse, then a nurse leader, a hospital executive, a hospital president and finally a division president within CommonSpirit Health, one of the nation’s largest health care organizations. CommonSpirit Health was formed in 2019 by the alignment of Dignity Health and Catholic Health Initiatives.
Each step of the way, Hunt used her proven capability for establishing trust and collaboration to deliver world-class health care to the community.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Linda and have considered her one of my most trusted advisors for many years," says Marvin O'Quinn, President and Chief Operating Officer for CommonSpirit Health. "Her legacy is impressive and her retirement well deserved. The appreciation she shows her teams and people is unwavering, her connection to them genuine. She has always been an empathetic, strategic leader who is a strong and consistent advocate for her people."
Hunt, who is often described as a leader with a servant’s heart, has led with grace, purpose, and a forceful vision throughout her career. Her mission-driven devotion to improving the health of all people, especially to those who are vulnerable, while advancing social justice, has enriched the lives of thousands of individuals.
“When I joined Dignity Health, the Arizona community was so welcoming and devoted to our mission that I was eager to contribute to the good works the Sisters of Mercy began in Phoenix more than 126 years ago,” says Hunt. “It has been an absolute privilege to be part of the Valley’s strong community and I am grateful for the support and encouragement that has been provided to me throughout my tenure to serve and advocate for the health of our tremendous community.”
Hunt has served on several state and national commissions to shape the future of health care and medical education. She is a founding member of the Health System Alliance of Arizona and serves as a board member for Creighton University Arizona Health Education Alliance. She is the co-chair of Greater Phoenix Leadership’s Affordable Housing and Homelessness Committee, and served as the chair of the Phoenix Forward Healthcare Leadership Council as well as a member of the Governor’s business leadership council, Arizona Zanjeros. Additionally, she has served on the Arizona Commerce Authority Board, Greater Phoenix Economic Council’s Healthcare Leadership Council, Council of Teaching Hospitals and Health Systems Administrative Board of the American Association of Medical Colleges, American Association of Medical Colleges Executive Council, Arizona Commission on Medical Education and Research, Arizona Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee and Greater Phoenix Leadership Bioscience Task Force. Hunt has also represented Dignity Health in several community organizations, including Greater Phoenix Leadership and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.
Hunt’s work has received local and national recognition from a wide spectrum of organizations. She was named one of the Top 25 Women in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine, and a Top 25 Most Admired CEOs by the Phoenix Business Journal. She was given the Transformational Leader award by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Outstanding Business Leader of the Year by the YWCA, and the Humanitarian of the Year Award by the National Conference for Community and Justice.
CommonSpirit Health will conduct a national search for Hunt’s successor.