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UF Health Jacksonville names new CEO

Russell Armistead
Russell Armistead

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Russell Armistead was named chief executive officer of UF Health Jacksonville on Friday, replacing Dr. Leon L. Haley Jr., who died July 24 in an accident.

Armistead, the former CEO of the hospital system from 2013 until his retirement in December 2017, will return to the job on Monday.

Armistead has broad experience in academic health centers and medical school administration. He has navigated numerous areas — from finance to clinical operations, to patient care, education and research. He helped the organization achieve key financial goals and plan for future growth at the same time the hospital was rebranding while ensuring the system maintained its reputation for quality patient care, stating early on that the patient experience would be his No. 1 priority.

During his previous tenure, the health system opened numerous primary care practices as well as the hospital, multispecialty office building and emergency room at UF Health North. He also was instrumental in the improvement of quality and patient safety measures, and UF Health Jacksonville received numerous health care designations and recognitions.

“Russ has an excellent track record leading UF Health Jacksonville to new heights,” said David R. Nelson, senior vice president for health affairs at the University of Florida and president of UF Health. “We’re excited to welcome him back and look forward to what we’ll accomplish together.”

For nearly a decade until he became CEO in 2013, Armistead served as associate vice president for finance and planning for UF Health in both Gainesville and Jacksonville. He led initiatives to improve profitability, managing financial and planning projects affecting the Jacksonville campus.

Prior to joining UF, Armistead was president of Armistead Consulting LLC, a North Carolina firm that provided management and consultation services to academic health centers, hospitals and other health care organizations.

In comments Dr. Haley made at Armistead’s retirement in 2017, he shared that whether through the direct care of a patient, research that brings new discoveries to the bedside or the training of tomorrow’s health care providers, the more than 5,000 professionals at our organizations focus their energy and skills to improve the health of every person we serve.

“Russ Armistead has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to these things,” Dr. Haley said. “When I first came to serve as dean of the College of Medicine, I was immediately impressed by Russ’ tenacity and dedication, not just to the patients we care for, but also to each person on this campus. Employees’ reactions to him were impressive. His response to them was inspiring. People instantly sensed his genuineness. It’s clear that Russ is invested in the betterment of this organization. People truly matter to him. He recognizes that everyone who is a part of this institution contributes to the quality we’ve achieved. And it shows in how he conducts business.”