Archived News Stories
Sr. Mary Jean Ryan Elected Chair of IAQ, Honored for Commitment to Quality
June 26, 2012
On May 20, Sr. Mary Jean Ryan was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal from the American Society of Quality (ASQ) "For her distinguished contributions to the quality profession by extending the reach of quality into the healthcare profession, and by living a role-model life that demonstrates the heart of quality in service to humankind."
The highest distinction accorded by ASQ for service, the Distinguished Service Medal honors the lifetime contribution of one who is recognized as a long-term enabler, catalyst, or prime mover in the quality movement. "It is granted only to those people who have clearly driven progress by promulgation of quality principles, methods, or science for the good of the society at large or who have exemplary, sustained service on behalf of ASQ that has benefited the whole Society."
On June 15, the ASQ recognized Sr. Mary Jean's accomplishments and gifts even further: The Board of Trustees chose her to serve as Chair of the International Academy for Quality (IAQ), effective immediately; she will serve until the next triennial meeting in 2014. She is assuming the leadership role from former Chairman Gregory H. Watson.
A communication from Janak Mehta, president of IAQ, reads: "The committee deliberated on various options and after consultation has unanimously nominated Sr. Mary Jean Ryan for the post of Chair of IAQ for the remaining period of the current triennial. All members of the nomination committee made glowing reference about her capabilities and achievements. Sr. Mary Jean has given her consent to accept the nomination.
"Sr. Mary Jean is eminently qualified for this role . . . Sr. Mary Jean Ryan is a seasoned executive, chairman of a 24-hospital chain and strong on executive leadership experience. She is well recognized throughout the world as a quality advocate and has received numerous awards that recognize her in this capacity (e.g., her own organization, SSM Health Care, was the first healthcare organization to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, and she is a personal recipient of the Grayson Medal from the American Quality and Productivity Center as well as the Juran Medal and the Distinguished Service Medal from ASQ). She is already a member of the Board of Trustees of the Academy. We believe Sr. Mary Jean Ryan's leadership would enhance the working and the image of the Academy."
Sr. Mary Jean said, "To be the Chair of the International Academy for Quality (IAQ) is an honor and a privilege. It gives me the opportunity to continue the work begun at SSM Health Care, but within the broader global community, not only in health care but in every aspect of human life."
Congratulations and best wishes, Sr. Mary Jean!
Sr. Mary Jean Ryan Receives Honorary Doctorate
On Sunday, May 13, Sr. Mary Jean Ryan was awarded the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, by St. Bonaventure University in St. Bonaventure, New York.
She, along with Charles J. Dougherty, Ph.D., president of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Pittsburgh attorney John R. McGinley Jr., outgoing chair of St. Bonaventure's Board of Trustees, received honorary doctorates at the university's 152nd commencement exercises, recognizing their significant contributions to the nation's Catholic healthcare system.
Naming Sr. Mary Jean "a true heroine as the leader of one of this nation's most remarkable and inspiring health care systems," the university said of her: "On her impressive list of personal honors and accolades, one serves as simple summation of all the others: For the past eight years, Modern Healthcare magazine has recognized her as one of the most powerful women in health care.
"Sister Mary Jean has achieved such stature with what SSM executives called 'iron-willed competence and unblinking compassion.'...
"Operating revenues at SSM grew five-fold in her quarter-century of service, to $3 billion in 2010. That enabled the company to provide more than $115 million in uncompensated and discounted care....
"As the New York Times observed, Sister Mary Jean's retirement leaves a great legacy: preaching about the dignity of patients, paying blue-collar workers above scale, making her hospitals the first to become smoke-free, banning the use of foam cups and plastic water bottles, and insisting on gender-neutral and nonviolent language....
"She's used her power to help take care of those denied rights simply to make our society a better place for all of us to live."
Congratulations, Sr. Mary Jean!