Donna Katen-Bahensky’s journey in health care began by working as a patient relations representative in Phoenix, Arizona as a college junior to her current position as President and CEO at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in February 2008. In between she spent over 30 years in leadership positions in a number of prestigious academic medical centers.
Prior to her current role, she served as CEO of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, as well as the Senior Associate Vice President for Medical Affairs at University of Iowa Health Care. Donna also served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating officer at the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System and Medical College of Virginia Hospitals and Clinics.
Her first professional opportunity after college was at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where she rose to Hospital Chief Operating Officer after having started as the Director of Strategic Planning and Marketing and completing an administrative residency at the University of Michigan Hospitals.
As a leader in health care, Donna has been active in many professional organizations. She was elected to serve on the Board of Trustees for the American Hospital Association starting in January of 2012. Previously she served on the Administrative Board of the Council of Teaching Hospitals of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and on the Board of Directors of the University HealthSystem Consortium.
Since her arrival at UW Hospital and Clinics in 2008, Donna has led the hospital to enhanced fiscal stability, while ensuring that the hospital continued to care for the states neediest by being the leading hospital in Wisconsin for providing uncompensated care. This past year the fiscal achievements of the hospital were recognized when its bond rating was upgraded. She has also positioned UW Hospital and Clinics well for the future which culminated in the groundbreaking of an over $200 million health care campus with an emphasis on wellness and healthy lifestyles in the spring of 2013. As a “hands on” CEO, Donna has been a leading advocate for building a patient- and family-centered care culture at UW Hospital and Clinics and views this growing culture as part of her lasting legacy.
Quality care has also been an important part of Donna’s tenure at UW Hospital and Clinics. The hospital has been a pioneer in implementing electronic medical records and is one of the less than 2% HIMSS Stage 7 facilities in the country. Under Donna’s leadership, the hospital has also seen its rankings by outside organizations improve, most recently being named the best hospital in Wisconsin for the second year in a row by U.S. News and World Report. In addition, UW Hospital and Clinics was again named a Magnet Hospital for Nursing and was recently named one of the first comprehensive stroke centers in the country. Donna is most proud though, of the recognition the hospital has received for its focus on employees. UW Hospital and Clinics was also named by Working Mother Magazine this past year, for the fourth consecutive year, as one of the top employers, in any industry, for hourly workers. This award is a testament to the commitment Donna has for making UW Hospital and Clinics an employer of choice locally and nationally.
Donna also volunteers in her community. She has had a 26-year relationship with the American Heart Association having most recently been a member on its Midwest Affiliate Board of Directors and Vision for Volunteerism Task Force. In addition, she is a member of the Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors of the United Way of Dane County and was also the Co-Chair of the United Way Delegation to Improve Behavioral Health in Dane County.
She has also served as a board member for multiple community non-profit organizations including the Ronald McDonald House and American Red Cross. In 2008, Donna was named a "Family Champion" by Working Mother magazine and was made a lifetime member in the Girl Scouts of the USA for her contributions to the program.
She received her B.A. in anthropology and a master's of science degree in public health administration, with an emphasis in health services management, from the University of Missouri in Columbia.