Albert Wright to assume role in September

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – After several years of dedicated service, Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., will retire as the President and Chief Executive Officer of West Virginia United Health System (WVUHS) effective August 31, 2016.  

Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H.
Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H.

For the past seven years, Dr. Colenda has served as Chancellor of the West Virginia University Health Science Center (HSC), then as President and Chief Executive Officer of the WVUHS.  

Colenda made significant contributions toward unifying the HSC, West Virginia University Hospitals (WVUH), University Health Associates (UHA), and the WVUHS. He has helped make these collective entities a world-class organization and developed a leadership team that will continue his efforts.  

“I am grateful for Chris’ service and for his friendship,” Gordon Gee, president of the WVUHS Board of Directors, said. “He has led with passion and with a sincere commitment to our patients and their families. That dedication has created a more unified and progressive approach to healthcare in West Virginia.”

During his tenure as Chancellor of the HSC, Colenda oversaw the development of a joint operating agreement among WVUH, UHA, and the West Virginia University School of Medicine (SOM), which greatly improved the operations of all three. As Chancellor, he established the School of Public Health, was instrumental in the Health Sciences receiving the IDeA Clinical and Translational Science Award, initiated the revitalization of the health sciences infrastructure, and championed inter-professional education within the health professions.

During his tenure as President and Chief Executive Officer of WVUHS, Colenda presided over the addition of three hospitals to WVUHS, including Potomac Valley Hospital in Keyser, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Buckhannon, and later this year, Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Glen Dale.  

System net assets rose during his tenure to $2.4 billion, and year-end revenue for 2015 exceeded $1.65 billon. Importantly, quality, access, and patient-satisfaction measures improved during his tenure, with the total physician/provider complement across the System rising to more than 1,000.

Albert L. Wright, Jr., Pharm.D.

“My seven years at WVU has been an extraordinary journey, and folks, it’s time for me to retire,” Colenda said. “I am deeply grateful the Board of Directors of the West Virginia United Health System for enabling me to lead this wonderful organization. I am humbled by the over 12,000 health professionals in our system who put the wellbeing of patients first. I am blessed to have had an executive team who led – and will continue to lead – our efforts to create an integrated healthcare system, with an academic focus, and the heart and soul of West Virginia values. Dr. Wright will be an outstanding champion of those values.”
Effective September 1, 2016, the Board of Directors of WVUHS has appointed Albert L. Wright, Jr., Pharm.D., the current President and CEO of WVUH and Chief Operating Officer of the WVUHS, as the new President and Chief Executive Officer of the WVUHS.  

As the President and CEO of WVUH and Chief Operating Officer of the WVUHS, Wright has overseen and facilitated growth and utilization at Ruby Memorial Hospital (Ruby); overseen the development of the Heart and Vascular Institute at Ruby, the ambulatory care center at University Town Centre (UTC), the outpatient surgery center at UTC, and the clinical affiliation with Garrett Regional Medical Center in Maryland; and participated in the recruitment of internationally recognized physicians to Ruby, UHA, and the SOM.  

Wright will serve as President and Chief Executive Officer of both the WVUHS and WVUH for a period of time to oversee the completion of several of WVUH’s on-going strategic projects.

With more than 12,000 employees and nearly $2 billion in annual revenues, the WVU Medicine-West Virginia United Health System includes eight West Virginia hospitals and their affiliated practices and clinics, including West Virginia University Hospitals, United Hospital Center, Camden Clark Medical Center, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Potomac Valley Hospital, Berkeley Medical Center, Jefferson Medical Center, and WVU Medicine Children’s. The specialists, sub-specialists, and primary care physicians of West Virginia University (through its affiliated faculty practices in Morgantown, Charleston, and Martinsburg); the WVU Cancer Institute; the WVU Eye Institute; and the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute also operate under the WVU Medicine brand. To learn more, visit