Harff to assume Bartlett CEO role next month

Bartlett Regional Hospital is bringing in talent from the Lower 48 as its top administrator, the hospital announced Friday by naming Christine Harff as permanent chief executive officer.

Harff, who is CEO of Sanford Medical Center in Thief River Falls, Minn., is expected to assume her new role in Juneau in mid-August.

“Chris comes to us with outstanding credentials,” Bob Storer, president of Bartlett’s board of directors, said in a statement Friday. He added that Harff “demonstrated quite clearly that she has the skills we are seeking” through the Assessment Center process, which evaluates professional candidates’ responses to situations they might confront on the job.

Harff was selected from a field of more than 500 applicants, which Bartlett narrowed down last month to Harff and Elizabeth Woodyard, CEO of Petersburg Medical Center in Petersburg. The two finalists participated in a series of Assessment Center exercises, interviews and presentations, many of which were open to the public, on June 15 and June 16.

Although the Bartlett job will be Harff’s first professional experience in Alaska, she is no stranger to the broader Pacific Northwest. Before moving to Minnesota, Harff worked in nursing at three hospitals in Seattle, including Harborview Medical Center, according to the hospital’s statement.

Harff could not immediately be reached for comment, but Storer’s statement said she “is looking forward” to her new job.

“Chris is looking forward to working with the excellent Bartlett team and is excited about joining the Southeast Alaska community,” said Storer.

As permanent CEO, Harff will succeed Shawn Morrow, who left office in January when Bartlett switched over from having its CEO be an employee of Brentwood, Tenn.-based management firm Quorum Health Resources to the hospital’s board of directors directly hiring the CEO. As such, Harff will be an employee of the City and Borough of Juneau.

John Vowell has been serving as interim CEO since Morrow’s departure.

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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