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Eileen Whalen Appointed New Executive Director for Harborview Medical Center


After a national search, Eileen Whalen has been appointed executive director for Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, effective Oct. 6. Whalen, who has 25 years of experience in health care, has served as vice president of University Medical Center in Tucson since 2004. In her new position, she will provide executive leadership for Harborview and will serve on the leadership team for UW Medicine.

The University Medical Center, like Harborview, is a Level I trauma center and academic medical center dedicated to advancing medical care through excellent training and research. In addition to University Medical Center in Tucson, Whalen has worked at Saint Mary’s Regional Health Care System in Nevada, San Francisco General Hospital, and Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems.

“I am very excited about our ability to recruit Eileen as the new executive director for Harborview. She brings a wealth of experience and leadership abilities that make her an outstanding fit for the hospital and our UW Medicine health system,” said Johnese Spisso, clinical operations officer of UW Medicine and vice president for medical affairs at the University of Washington.

Whalen earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Niagara University and her master’s degree in public health from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She was the founding editor of the Journal of Trauma Nursing. She has authored many articles on emergency and trauma services and on health-care system design. She is a nationally recognized speaker and a health-care consultant for trauma care systems across the country.

Whalen will report to Spisso and to the Harborview Board of Trustees, consistent with the King County-UW management contract. Harborview is owned by King County, governed by a county appointed board of trustees and managed by the UW.

“Eileen Whalen is an innovative leader,” said Kimberly McNally, president of the Harborview Board of Trustees. “She has broad-based experience in operations, business development and clinical care. She has demonstrated a commitment to quality care and patient safety, and enthusiasm for Harborview’s unique mission. In addition to her widely known expertise in trauma services, Eileen brings the ability to develop strong working relationships with medical staff and community partners.”

“I’m excited to be joining the Harborview Medical Center/UW Medicine team,” Whalen said. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with such a stellar management team and with faculty, staff and a board of trustees who are totally committed to Harborview’s focus and mission.”


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