Sharon L. O’Keefe
DAMEN AWARD - MARCELLA NIEHOFF SCHOOL OF NURSING
Sharon O’Keefe (MSN ’76) is president of the University of Chicago Medical Center. She oversees a $1.5-billion-dollar clinical enterprise and integrates the patient care mission of the medical center with the education and research missions of the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division.
O’Keefe has more than 30 years of health care experience, beginning as a staff nurse and transitioning to executive leadership. She engages in breakthrough initiatives focused on creating high-performance health care organizations, engaging patients as partners in their care, and developing a culture that fosters creativity, risk-taking, and diversity of thought.
O’Keefe previously served as president of Loyola University Medical Center, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and in leadership roles at Barnes-Jewish hospital in St. Louis. She also worked as senior vice president for operations at the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore, where her efforts helped the medical system become the first health care organization to receive the State of Maryland Quality and Productivity Award.
Outside her academic medical center experience, O’Keefe was senior manager for health care at the accounting firm Ernst & Young, where she developed a consulting practice focused on organizational design, operations improvement, and large-scale change management.
In 2013, Modern Healthcare listed O’Keefe as one of the 100 most influential people in health care and selected her as one of the top 25 women leaders in health care. In January 2015, Healthcare Purchasing News honored her with its annual “SURE” Award for Excellence in Supply Chain Leadership.
O’Keefe actively participates and serves in leadership roles in a number of professional and industry organizations, including the Illinois Hospital Association’s Finance and Audit Committee, the board of America’s Essential Hospitals, the board of Vocera Communications, the board of CURE: Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (chairperson), and several other boards. She has chaired the American Heart Association Go Red for Women campaign. She is also a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Chicago Network, a women’s business leadership organization.
O’Keefe received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Northern Illinois University and a Master of Science in Nursing from Loyola University Chicago. A native of Chicago, she, her husband, and her daughter enjoy the city, its cultural offerings, and its sports.