Duke Raleigh Hospital didnt have to look far for a new leader to succeed retiring president Doug Vinsel.
As chief operating officer, Rick Gannotta has been Vinsels right-hand man since both arrived from WakeMed in 2006. Gannotta will take the reins of the hospital on Wake Forest Road on Jan. 1.
Gannotta has an unusual background for a hospital executive hes a registered nurse and nurse practitioner who teaches for the Duke University School of Nursings health care leadership track.
Gannotta arrived at Duke Raleigh after 12 years at WakeMed, where he held several administrative jobs including director of the Heart Center. Hes also a major supporter of Alliance Medical Ministry, a Raleigh clinic for the uninsured where hes both a board member and volunteer.
Q. Your background is in nursing. How did you make the transition into administration and how does your nursing experience help you as a leader?
Ive been in health care for over 30 years from the bedside through to executive positions. I started out in nursing because I wanted to go into critical care and make a difference. I had increasing responsibilities clinically.
I consider myself multilingual in that I can speak finance: I have an MBA and a doctorate in health care administration. Its given me an insight and perspective that is not only informed by the finances and how you need to have management and leadership experience, but also what happens at the bedside with those who seek our care.
I think having a clinical background has been a great benefit for me. One aspect of that is a caregivers perspective.
Q. What drew you to join Duke Raleigh?
Ive been here going on seven years, and I was brought over (from WakeMed) by my predecessor and mentor, Doug Vinsel. For me, working for Duke is one of those opportunities of a lifetime. I love the academic medical center mission and the teaching aspect making a difference at a greater level was what attracted me.
Q. What goals do you have for Duke Raleigh in the coming years as you take over as president?
I think the most important thing is continuing to maintain the trajectory that Doug Vinsel has set for us. I hope to maintain the same focus areas leading the way in oncology and orthopedics.
Q. What health-care niche do you see Duke Raleigh filling in the city, particularly in comparison to its two larger neighbors, WakeMed and Rex?
I think the benefit with Duke Raleigh is our close tie to Duke Medicine. With that, we can leverage great expertise even out of a modest size campus here. We have a very robust neurosurgical program here as well as orthopedics. We partner with the community physicians to deliver fantastic care.
Q. What do you see as the hospitals role in the broader community?
Were going to continue the outreach we have right now with the Open Door Clinic, Alliance Medical Ministry so our commitment to the community is maintained. Along with that is making sure we collaborate with the other hospitals to make sure we have coordinated care.