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Ronald Peterson: Biographies

Ronald Peterson

Mr. Ronald R. Peterson

Ronald R. Peterson is president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine — the umbrella alliance of the health system and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In these leadership positions, Mr. Peterson provides senior oversight through an executive structure for the health system’s six hospitals: The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital, Suburban Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. He also serves as chair of Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, which has more than 39 primary and specialty care outpatient sites throughout Maryland and the Washington, D.C., area, and as a director of Johns Hopkins HealthCare, Johns Hopkins Home Care Group and Johns Hopkins Medicine International.

Mr. Peterson served as the 10th president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, from December 1996 until July 2016 — a period during which the hospital maintained its record of being ranked #1 in the nation for 22 years out of the first quarter-century that U.S. News & World Report compiled its annual Best Hospitals rankings, beginning in 1991.

Mr. Peterson arrived at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1973 as an administrative resident and by 1974 had been named administrator of the Henry Phipps Psychiatric Clinic. In 1975, he became head of The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Cost Improvement Program, then administrator of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in 1978.

In 1982, he was asked to become the executive director of the financially troubled and decrepit Baltimore City Hospitals, then mired in debt, under a contract between the city and The Johns Hopkins Hospital. He led the transformation of the facility, directing a $100 million physical redevelopment program and turning a $7 million a year loss under city ownership into a significant, positive bottom-line performance. The medical center, now known as Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, became part of the Johns Hopkins Health System in 1984. Mr. Peterson was named president that same year and continued serving in that position until 1999, even after he became president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

In 1995, Mr. Peterson was named executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Johns Hopkins Health System, assigned to bring stronger coordination and cohesion to its operations and strategic planning. He was named acting president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System in September 1996. The hospital position was made permanent in December 1996, as was the health system position in February 1997. Since 1998, he has also served as the executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

A 1970 graduate of The Johns Hopkins University, Mr. Peterson obtained a master’s degree in hospital administration from The George Washington University. Among his many civic activities, Mr. Peterson serves as vice chairman of the Governor’s Workforce Investment Board and holds an appointment on the Notre Dame of Maryland University President’s Advisory Council. He serves as a member of the boards of the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education, the Living Classrooms Foundation, the Greater Baltimore Committee and the Center Club. Most recently, he completed terms as a member of the Maryland Hospital Association Executive Committee, the Board of Governors of the University HealthSystem Consortium and the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare’s Leadership Advisory Council.

These undertakings, as well as his work on behalf of Johns Hopkins Medicine, have in the past decade earned him induction in the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s Business Hall of Fame; distinguished alumnus awards from The Johns Hopkins University and the George Washington University School of Public Health; the Community Service Award (on behalf of Johns Hopkins Medicine) from Chabad, the largest Jewish religious organization in the world; the Maryland House of Delegates Speaker’s Medallion for outstanding contributions to the state; the Governor’s International Leadership Award; the Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce’s Freeman Hrabowski Visionary Leadership Award; and the Greater Baltimore Committee’s Walter Sondheim Public Service Award. He was also honored by the creation of the $2.5 million endowed Ronald R. Peterson Professorship in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Born in 1948, the New Brunswick, New Jersey, native now lives in Bel Air, Maryland, with his wife, Elizabeth “Rooney” Peterson. Their daughter, Susie, a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is a member of the emergency medicine faculty at Johns Hopkins, and their son, Joe, is an attorney in Baltimore. They have four grandsons.