DALLAS—After four decades in hospital administration, including more than 15 years as president of Baylor Health Care System, Joel Allison announced plans to step down as president and chief executive officer of Baylor Scott & White Health next year and become senior adviser to the chairman of the board.
Allison will move into his new role—working with the board chair in advocacy, philanthropy and medical education—effective Feb. 1, 2017, when he turns 69.
“There is no doubt that Joel has helped shape the health care landscape, not only in Texas, but in the country,” said Jim Turner, chairman of Baylor Scott & White Holdings board of trustees. “In our national search for the next CEO, the board will be looking for someone who can continue to carry the exceptional momentum he has built. We know we are on the right course with the right strategy, and we plan to consider both internal and external candidates who are also high-integrity servant leaders.”
Long career in health care administration
Allison—who served 10 years as an administrator at Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene—joined Baylor Health Care System as senior executive vice president and chief operating officer in 1993. He was promoted to president and chief executive officer in 2000, succeeding Boone Powell Jr.
Allison became chief executive officer of Baylor Scott & White Health following the 2013 merger of Baylor and Scott & White Healthcare.
“I’ve been blessed. I was called into this career that I love. So, while I’ve spent the past 40-plus years working in health care, I feel I haven’t worked a day in my life,” Allison said. “Now, I’m looking forward to the next phase—one in which I’ll still remain engaged in an advisory role to the chairman, while enjoying more time with my wife and six grandchildren.”
Years of growth and expansion
During his years at Baylor, Allison helped oversee the system’s growth from five hospitals and a few outpatient facilities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to 48 hospitals and more than 900 patient access points across North and Central Texas.
“A remarkable testament to Joel’s servant leadership is that he was able to build what today is the largest not-for-profit health care system in Texas, while remaining steadfastly dedicated to the organization’s mission to serve as a Christian ministry of healing,” Turner said.
“It is in large part because of his personal integrity, character and work ethic that this organization has grown through many strong partnerships, including one of the largest health care mergers in U.S. history, yet it never sacrificed its culture or values.”
In the wake of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Allison created Baylor’s Faith In Action Initiatives, which has helped communities in dozens of countries through medical missions and disaster relief, as well as providing supplies to local free-access clinics and ministries.
“I have always said the people of Baylor Scott & White are the difference,” Allison said. “I have been honored to work with so many dedicated and talented individuals who, like me, feel they are called to serve here.”
Received national recognition
Allison has received numerous honors and accolades through the course of his career, including the B’nai B’rith National Healthcare Award. He serves nationally on the Healthcare Leadership Council, the Wall Street Journal CEO Roundtable and the United Surgical Partners International board.
He chaired the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, the Dallas Regional Chamber and the Dallas Citizens Council boards. He has been ranked annually by Modern Healthcare as one of the “Most Influential People in Healthcare.” In 2014, he was named D Magazine’s “D CEO of the Year”—the first chief executive officer of a health care system or any not-for-profit organization to earn the honor.
He and his wife of 46 years, Diane, are longtime members of Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas.
Following his transition next February, Allison will maintain an office in Temple. The Allisons will live in Waco, near their alma mater, Baylor University
Allison serves on the university’s board of regents, and he has been recognized by Baylor as a distinguished alumnus, received the George W. Truett Distinguished Church Service Award and has been inducted into the “B” Association’s Wall of Honor.