Fifty Making a Difference Profile: Marti Jourden, St. Anthony Hospital, Vice President of Performance Improvement/Chief Quality Officer

Article excerpt

Health care is a hot news topic right now, but for Marti Jourden, improving health care is more than a political debate. It's a driving passion that has been with her through more than two decades with Oklahoma City's St. Anthony Hospital.

"I was interested in a service profession, and health care is very service-oriented," Jourden said. "Working with the mentally ill was a very challenging area that allowed me to grow personally and professionally. Recreational therapy allowed me to not only educate others but myself as well. Being a Type A personality gave me a lot of energy but did not allow me to relax. I learned to relax because I taught relaxation as a stress management skill for years. I am healthier today because of I what I personally learned."

Jourden began her career at St. Anthony's in 1979 as a recreational therapist working with mental health patients. There she began a steady climb through the ranks, being promoted to program director, director, and then vice president of performance improvement/chief quality officer for the St. Anthony Hospital.

Her career is indicative of her strong determination. Jourden overcame a disadvantaged background to put herself through school, earning her bachelor's degree in recreational therapy from the University of Oklahoma. It was the first college degree ever earned by anyone in her extended family. Later, she went on to complete her master's in business administration at Oklahoma City University.

One of her proudest achievements is earning fellow status in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). Jourden joined an elite group of only 24 female health care executives who have achieved this status in Oklahoma, and currently serves as president of ACHE's Oklahoma chapter. She is also a former board member for the organization.

SSM Healthcare was the first health care system in the entire United States to win the prestigious U.S. Secretary of Commerce Malcolm Baldrige Quality award, which was presented by former Vice President Dick Cheney to Sister Mary Jean Ryan, CEO. Jourden was one of the 50 employees from the more than 23,000 across the system invited to attend the award ceremony in Washington, D. …


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