Ed Howell Reflects on 12 Years of Service at UVA Medical Center - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Ed Howell Reflects on 12 Years of Service at UVA Medical Center

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Ed Howell Ed Howell

Wednesday marks Ed Howell’s final day at the helm of UVA Medical Center. NBC29 is taking a look at his legacy, from the challenges of the job to the future of healthcare.

It's unheard of for a hospital administrator to keep the same job for 12 years; the average tenure is 3.8. But Howell is reflecting on 12 years of service at UVA, remembering what brought him to the medical center: potential.

"When I came here I looked at all the parts that really ought to, that are required for true excellence in education and thought there was an opportunity here,” said Howell.

When Howell arrived in 2002, he says UVA was terribly under-capitalized. He recalls a tour he took of what was still being touted as the new hospital.

"We came to the main hospital that had been moved into in 1989. So essentially I was looking at a 25- year-old hospital that was identified as new,” said Howell.

So began a major capital project campaign totaling $1.6 billion. Under Howell's guidance there were two hospital expansions - the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center and the UVA Children’s Hospital.

"An academic medical center actually has to invest heavily in capital to create an environment for training physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals today for the practice they're going to see tomorrow,” said Howell.

Howell says he's faced a trio of challenges while at UVA, including managing change, the recession, and healthcare reform.

"Managing that ambiguity is going to be very, very difficult,” said Howell. "It has adequate financial resources to deal with the healthcare reform era.”

Howell admits he does have some regrets. The biggest one is that he didn't set the bar high enough.

"What I came here to do, my aspiration to move this organization to the very top echelon, I think in all fairness I haven't been able to do that,” said Howell.

However, Howell does believe he's been a good steward of his position, helping to move UVA in the right direction.

"Overall, I hope I left the place a little better than when I found it,” said Howell.

Howell says turning over the keys to the hospital really is a bittersweet moment in his career. Howell is 65 years old and has been a CEO for 28 years. He oversaw two hospitals in the Midwest before coming to UVA.

Now he's off to Europe now to take a small break with some of his family. He will start teaching at UVA in August.

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