Saint Thomas Health Leadership

James Bearden James Bearden
Chairman, Board of Directors

James Bearden was commissioned as the Chairman of the Board of Saint Thomas Health on Feb. 1, 2011. Bearden began serving on the Saint Thomas Health Board of Directors in 2006. Bearden is the CEO of Gresham, Smith and Partners, an ENR Top 100 Design Firm, and has more than 30 years of national and international health care design experience.





Dr. Mike Schatzlein Dr. Mike Schatzlein
Chief Executive Officer

Mike Schatzlein, MD, was named president and chief executive officer for Saint Thomas Health in June of 2010. Dr. Schatzlein also serves as the Ascension Health Ministry Market Leader for Indiana and Tennessee. Previously, he was Chief Executive Officer for Lutheran Health Network in Fort Wayne, a unit of Community Health Systems, where he was a Division VP for all of Indiana operations.

Schatzlein, 63, has 40 years of healthcare experience as a physician and administrator. He received his Bachelor of Science and MD degrees from Indiana University and an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University. He trained in surgery at the Indiana University Medical Center and in thoracic surgery at the University of Michigan.

Schatzlein practiced cardiothoracic and vascular surgery in Fort Wayne, Indiana, from 1980 to 1994. He led the team that developed Lutheran Hospital's heart transplant program, and performed northern Indiana's first heart transplant in 1985. At one point, nine of the world's 22 longest-living heart transplant patients had received their transplants under Schatzlein's direction.

Beginning in 1994, Schatzlein served in various executive roles building and leading Lutheran Health, which became northern Indiana's largest health system, with eight hospitals and 43,000 annual admissions.

Schatzlein is active in community affairs, serving on the boards of the United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville Health Care Council and the Tennessee Hospital Association. He is a nationally-recognized leader in the field of population health management, one of the most promising mechanisms for reform of the U.S. healthcare system.

Schatzlein and his wife Liz, a broadcast journalist, live in Nashville. Their son, Derek, a graduate of Denison University, is pursuing a doctorate in computer science at Purdue University. Another son, Michael, is an attorney and director of information technology at an Indianapolis law firm, while daughter Tricia practices law in Boston. Schatzlein is very proud of his six grandchildren.


Jason Dinger, PhD
EVP, Chief Strategy Officer, Saint Thomas Health
CEO, MissionPoint Health Partners


Jason Dinger is EVP and Chief Strategy Officer for Saint Thomas Health and is the CEO of MissionPoint Health Partners - one of the first dedicated accountable care organizations created in response to the overwhelming need to improve quality outcomes and lower health care costs. MissionPoint currently supports the health care needs of thousands of people throughout the country and works in various capacities with over 100 small and large companies throughout the region. Jason is responsible for the strategic, operational and cultural stewardship of the organization.

Prior to his work with MissionPoint, Jason directed Saint Thomas Health Ventures - a social venture arm of Saint Thomas Health focused on developing non-acute services such as rehabilitation clinics, sleep centers, clinical research organizations, pharmacies, and other health care services.

Prior to joining Saint Thomas Health, Jason was CEO of a consulting firm whose clients included FedEx, Caterpillar Financial, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the World Bank.

Jason received his doctorate from Vanderbilt University and lives in Nashville with his wife and son.


Karen Springer
Chief Operating Officer

Karen Springer joined Saint Thomas Health as the Senior Vice President of Operations on March 14, 2011. Previously Springer held the role of Chief Operating Officer/Executive Vice President of Lutheran Hospital of Indiana in Fort Wayne, a position she has held since 2007.

As COO of Lutheran Hospital, Springer oversaw the operations of the acute care hospital as well as providing key leadership to 16 divisions including emergency care and all ancillary and support services. She established a COO council for six of the regional facilities within the Lutheran Health Network.

Springer received her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University and her Master of Science in Nursing Administration from Ball State University. She is a board member of the Matthew 25 Health Clinic, Three Rivers Ambulance Authority and the local Children’s Hope House. She is a 2004 graduate of Leadership Fort Wayne.


Craig Polkow
Chief Financial Officer

Craig Polkow has been named Chief Financial Officer of Saint Thomas Health. Craig, who previously held both CFO and Chief Operating Officer positions at Saint Thomas West Hospital, has more than twenty years of progressive management experience with broad expertise in both operations and finance. In his new role, Craig will oversee and direct all financial functions for Saint Thomas Health’s hospitals, joint ventures and affiliate relationships.

In the CFO role at Saint Thomas West Hospital, Craig oversaw all hospital financial functions including accounting, statistical reporting, budgeting, tax and audit activities.

Prior to coming to Nashville and Saint Thomas West Hospital, Craig was Chief Financial Officer for Dupont Hospital and served as Interim Chief Executive Officer. While at Dupont, he developed and nurtured partnerships with physicians, as well as oversaw all financial services for the hospital and many for the parent system. His leadership at Dupont resulted in increasing earnings each year, reductions in employee turnover and superior Core Measures results.

Craig also held the Chief Financial Officer roles at DeKalb Memorial Hospital, Auburn, Indiana, and Madison Center in South Bend.

Craig received his Bachelor of Science in Economics from Indiana University at South Bend and his Master of Business Administration with Highest Distinction from the same university. He received his public accounting certification in 1990. Polkow has served in adjunct faculty positions for Indiana University at South Bend, Tri-State University, Concordia University and the University of Phoenix. Craig is a member of the Executive Leadership Team for the American Heart Association’s Nashville Heart Walk.


Randy Cox
Chief Information Officer

Randy Cox joined Saint Thomas Health in March 2011 as senior vice president and chief information officer (CIO).

As CIO for Saint Thomas Health, Cox leads the health ministry’s strategic IT initiatives, including the attestation of Stage I Meaningful Use, efforts to achieve “One Patient. One Chart.” and implementation of the physician order entry system by the end of 2012. While at Saint Thomas Health, Cox has been successful in updating the network infrastructure, establishing a multi-tier IT governance structure and leading multiple clinical information system roll-outs.

Cox previously worked at the Lutheran Health Network in Fort Wayne, Ind., as the chief information officer where he developed a multi-year IT strategic plan. In addition, Cox has served as CIO for Riverview Hospital in Noblesville, Ind., and Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis.

Cox received his bachelor’s degree in business management from Indiana Wesleyan University and his master’s in business administration from Davenport University. Cox first earned the honor of certified professional in healthcare information and management systems in 2003 and was recertified in 2006, 2009 and 2012.


Bernie Sherry
President and Chief Executive Officer
Nashville Inpatient Operations

Bernie Sherry began his duties as president and CEO of Nashville Inpatient Operations on July 15, 2013. Previously, he served as president and CEO of Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital where he was appointed in June 2003. There he was res responsible for leading the largest not-for-profit community hospital in Middle Tennessee with 683 licensed beds and nearly 2,000 associates.

As President and CEO of Nashville Inpatient Operations, Sherry will oversee operations at both Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital and Saint Thomas West Hospital. He will help to accelerate synergy between the two Nashville facilities including rationalization of service lines and capital allocation. This role is vital to reducing variation and duplication across the system, and will result in greater operational efficiency.

He began his role in the Saint Thomas Health system in 2000 serving as vice president of managed care. Prior to joining Saint Thomas Health, Sherry worked at the Greenville University Hospital System, a 1,100 bed multi-hospital system, in Greenville, S.C.

He earned his bachelor's degree from Gannon University in Erie, Pa., and his master's degree in health administration from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C. He is a diplomat of the American College of Health Care Executives and a graduate of Ascension Health's Leadership Formation for Healthcare Ministry, a two-year program focusing on ministry within a health care setting. Sherry is active in the Nashville community and has served as the chair of the March of Dimes 2010 and 2011 Nashville March for Babies, a board member for the March of Dimes Tennessee chapter and the Music City Division, tournament chair for the American Junior Golf Association Franklin Junior Classic, Nashville Sports Council board member, Hospital Hospitality House board of directors and West End/Broadway Corridor Steering Committee member. He was honored in June 2010 as a Father of the Year by the American Diabetes Association/Father’s Day Council and as a Health Care Hero by the Nashville Business Journal in August 2011. 


Gordon B. Ferguson, FACHE
President and Chief Executive Officer
Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital

Gordon B. Ferguson has served as president and chief executive officer since 2006. Ferguson has more than 20 years of health care experience. He began his career as director of planning at Baptist Medical Center Princeton in Birmingham, Ala. In 1998, Ferguson joined Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital as senior vice president of support services and subsequently served as senior vice president of operations. In 2004, he was named chief operating officer. He has overseen the construction of a $26 million outpatient service facility, facilitated the establishment of joint ventures and completed a master facility plan as part of the hospital's overall strategic plan. Most recently, he oversaw the $267 million project for Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital's replacement facility.

Ferguson received a bachelor's degree in business administration with honors from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He earned a master's degree in hospital and health administration from the University of Alabama, Birmingham. In 2007, Ferguson became a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, an international professional society of more than 30,000 healthcare executives who lead hospitals, healthcare systems and other healthcare organizations. Ferguson serves on the board of directors for United Way of Rutherford County; he serves on the Business Education Partnership board of directors and is a member of noon Rotary in Murfreesboro.


Dawn Rudolph
Chief Experience Officer

Dawn Rudolph began her duties as Chief Experience Officer for Saint Thomas Health on July 15, 2013. Previously, Dawn served as president and CEO of Saint Thomas West Hospital, joining the organization in Nov. 2010. Before moving to Nashville, she served as Chief Executive Officer of St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne, Ind.

As Chief Experience Officer, Dawn will focus on operationalizing patient, physician and family experience strategies across all facilities. This will include monitoring patient satisfaction scores, providing tools to address improvement opportunities and creating policies and procedures to insure a consistent, yet distinctive experience for all who enter a Saint Thomas Health facility.

Rudolph began her health care career at St. Joseph Hospital in 1990 advancing from a project coordinator to Administrator of the Dupont Surgery Center.  In 2000, she was named Support Services Team Leader at Dupont Hospital, also a part of the Lutheran Health Network.  Here, she was promoted to Vice President of Operations and then served as the Chief Operating Officer of that facility from 2006 to 2009.  She returned to St. Joseph Hospital as its CEO in 2009 where she successfully expanded the medical staff, improved EMS-hospital relationships and developed a multicultural community roundtable to improve health indicator metrics in Fort Wayne.

Rudolph received her Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Indiana University – Fort Wayne and her MBA (with healthcare specialization) from Indiana Wesleyan University – Fort Wayne.  Active in various community organizations, Rudolph serves as the 2012 chair for the Nashville chapter of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement to fight heart disease in women, board member of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville and member of Nashville Chamber CEO Champions. She is also a diplomat for the American College of Healthcare Executives and has been recognized as Nashville Post’s Most Powerful Women 2012 and a 2012 Women to Watch Honoree by Nashville Medical News.