Cooper University Health Care's executive management team has a wealth of experience in health care administration and development. The team's commitment to Cooper's patients, employees and the community combined with a focus on fiscal responsibility has resulted in a strong infrastructure designed to meet today's health needs while moving toward tomorrow's innovations and breakthroughs. Cooper's leadership drives the organization to exceed the expectations of its patients and improve the overall health of the community.
ADRIENNE KIRBY, PhD, FACHE
President and CEO, The Cooper Health System
Adrienne Kirby, PhD, FACHE, is President and CEO of The Cooper Health System. She is responsible for the health system including all hospital and Ambulatory operations and oversees the physician group and the Institute structure at Cooper. Dr. Kirby leads Cooper's efforts to advance strategic healthcare partnerships and the implementation of new models of care delivery to improve quality and service and decrease cost.
Dr. Kirby joined Cooper in January 2012 with more than 30 years of healthcare management experience, much of it at hospitals in the Delaware Valley. Prior to joining Cooper, Dr. Kirby served as President of Medstar Franklin Square Medical Center in Baltimore, a 380-bed community teaching hospital. Franklin Square is the third largest hospital in Maryland and has been nationally recognized for excellence in clinical quality. Prior to her accomplishments at Franklin Square, Dr. Kirby served in various leadership positions at Virtua Health, including Chief Operating Officer of Ambulatory Services and Programs of Excellence and Chief Operating Officer of Virtua Hospital Voorhees. At Virtua, she spent more than 10 years building a foundation for growth, physician partnerships and development of services and facilities. Dr. Kirby has also worked at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where she was involved in an international healthcare project in Kiev, Ukraine.
Dr. Kirby has served as the chairman of numerous physician-health system joint venture boards. She has also served on many community boards in Southern New Jersey. In 2010 she led the Southern New Jersey American Heart Association's Go Red for Women event.
Dr. Kirby earned her bachelor of science in nursing degree from Rutgers University and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives since 2003 and a certified healthcare executive since 1998. Dr. Kirby was born at Cooper and raised in South Jersey.
KEVIN M. O’DOWD, ESQ.
Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer
Kevin M. O’Dowd, Esq., is the Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for Cooper University Health Care. In that capacity, Mr. O’Dowd is responsible for business and organizational development, including the MD Anderson Cooper partnership and the AmeriHealth New Jersey relationship. Mr. O’Dowd also oversees marketing, public affairs, human resources, corporate real estate and development.
Before joining Cooper, Mr. O’Dowd served in the Cabinet of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, including as Chief of Staff from 2012 to 2014. Prior to joining the Christie Administration in 2010, O’Dowd served as the Chief of the Securities and Health Care Fraud Unit in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. During his seven year tenure as a federal prosecutor, Mr. O’Dowd investigated and prosecuted cases ranging from computer hacking and intellectual property theft to complex healthcare, securities and financial fraud. Mr. O’Dowd also served as the Chair of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Health Care Fraud Task Force, which comprised the leading federal and state health care fraud investigators and prosecutors in the State of New Jersey.
While at the U.S. Department of Justice, Mr. O’Dowd was a frequent panelist and speaker on health care fraud and compliance matters. Mr. O’Dowd was twice awarded the prestigious Integrity Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Award for Excellence from the United States President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency. In 2012, Seton Hall University School of Law presented Mr. O’Dowd with the St. Thomas More Medal for his distinguished public service and outstanding contributions to the law and the community.
Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 2003, Mr. O’Dowd served as Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey. In that position, Mr. O’Dowd’s responsibilities included providing legal counsel to the New Jersey Department of Health. Mr. O’Dowd also served as Assistant Counsel in the Office of Counsel to the Governor. He received his B.A. from The Catholic University of America and his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law in 1997.
STEPHANIE CONNERS, MBA, RN, BSN, NEA-BC
Senior Executive Vice President, Hospital Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer
Ms. Conners brings many years of progressive leadership experience in health care to Cooper, much of it in leadership roles driving strategic and operational goals to achieve service, quality and financial results. Ms. Conners was most recently Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. From 2002 to 2012, she was a member of the leadership team at Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia, serving in a variety of roles including Chief Nursing Officer for eight years. Previously, she served in numerous leadership and nursing positions with Virtua Health and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Ms. Conners is also a Lean Six-Sigma Black Belt and has worked to advance the application of Lean Six Sigma principles in health care. She has been published in a variety of health care journals, addressing both clinical and managerial topics, and has presented at national healthcare conferences on topics addressing advancements in nursing practice and patient safety. One of her most significant accomplishments was leading the Hahnemann team in achieving Tenet’s first Magnet designation in one of the system’s adult acute care hospitals in December 2009.
Ms. Conners earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Villanova University in 1993 and her Master of Business Administration from Eastern University in 2002. She completed a Johnson & Johnson/Wharton Fellowship in Management for Nurse Executives at the University of Pennsylvania in 2007. She was awarded Modern Healthcare’s “Up and Comer” in 2009.
DOUGLAS E. SHIRLEY
Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
As Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Douglas E. Shirley is responsible for the strategic direction and management of the finance function for the Cooper Health System. Mr. Shirley oversees Accounting, Revenue Cycle, Supply Chain, Treasury and Investment Management. In addition, he is Administrator of the Finance and Audit and Ethics Committees of Cooper’s Board of Trustees. Mr. Shirley joined Cooper in 2009 as Vice President of Revenue Cycle, where he was responsible for all revenue cycle functions of Cooper University Hospital and Cooper University Physicians.
Mr. Shirley has had a long and successful career in healthcare financial management, business development and process improvement. Prior to joining Cooper, he was Director of the Healthcare Advisory Practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP in Nashville, TN. Mr. Shirley earned his bachelor of business administration in Finance from the University of Georgia.
GARY J. LESNESKI
Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Gary J. Lesneski is responsible for all aspects of the organization’s legal affairs. Mr. Lesneski was most recently a partner and president of the law firm of Archer & Greiner, P.C. He concentrated his practice in health and hospital law, labor and litigation.
A graduate of Haverford College and University of Pennsylvania Law School, Mr. Lesneski has appeared in state and federal courts on a regular basis and before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance and the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. His health and hospital practice focuses on administrative, regulatory, labor, litigation and corporate compliance issues. He has twice served as Chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association Health and Hospital Law Section, most recently from 2008 to 2009.
ANTHONY J. MAZZARELLI, MD, JD, MBE
Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Physician Executive and Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Mazzarelli has had various roles at Cooper since his arrival in 1999. In his most recent role as the Senior Vice President of Operations and Deputy Chief Medical Officer, he oversaw the reorganization of the Quality and Patient Safety Department, which led Cooper to its recent first-time recognition as a “Top Performer” by The Joint Commission. Under his leadership, Cooper also realized significant improvement in the nationally recognized quality and safety Leapfrog Report Card.
In 2011, Dr. Mazzarelli helped start Cooper’s new Process Improvement Office, which has included the introduction of continuous process improvement principles, such as Lean Six Sigma, as a methodology for operational efficiency improvements. Prior to that role, he was Vice President of Strategic Planning and Implementation and was responsible for assisting in the development of the latest strategic plan for the health system as well as other business development projects. He was also one of the three original team members to work on integrating Cooper and Rowan in preparation for the new Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
Dr. Mazzarelli received his medical degree from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, his law degree from University of Pennsylvania Law School and his master's in bioethics from University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics. He trained in Emergency Medicine at Cooper University Hospital, where he also served as Chief Resident and later as the Medical Director of the Department of Emergency Medicine. In 2009, he was recognized as one of Philadelphia’s “Best Physicians Under 40.” In 2010, he was awarded the Halo Award by the South Jersey Professionals Association for leading a team of 18 healthcare providers from Cooper into Haiti in the days immediately following the 2010 earthquake.
In 2012, Dr. Mazzarelli was named one of the 50 most powerful people in New Jersey health care by NJ Biz. A member of the board of trustees for the YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties, as well as the Camden Coalition of Health Care Providers, Dr. Mazzarelli has also received commendations for his leadership, and was named an Outstanding Young American by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce.
BARBARA H. SMITH, MBA
Senior Vice President, Cooper Adult Health Institute and Cooper Heart Institute
Barbara H. Smith oversees growth, management and operations of Cooper University Health Care’s outpatient programs and services—a vast, regional network of comprehensive services that include prevention and wellness, primary and specialty physician services, ambulatory diagnostic and treatment centers.
Ms. Smith has more than 30 years experience in healthcare, much of it in leadership roles using strategic and operational goals to obtain improved profit margins for hospital systems. Prior to her position at Cooper, she served as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – Hamilton, a 280-bed community hospital that is part of the Robert Wood Johnson Health System.
Ms. Smith returns to Cooper after serving in management and leadership roles within the hospital system from 1984 to 2000, including Vice President of Operations from 1996 to 2000. She holds an MBA in healthcare administration from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.
DOUGLAS ALLEN, SPHR
Senior Vice President of Human Resources
As Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Doug Allen, SPHR, is responsible for the delivery of all human resources and employee health services at Cooper University Health Care. Mr. Allen has played a significant role in developing and implementing the organization’s culture change toward a patient- and family-centered care environment. A successful union negotiator, Mr. Allen has created quality management programs for all levels of staff and management with emphasis on productivity and customer service.
Mr. Allen has had a long career in healthcare management. Prior to joining Cooper in 2003, he was Chief Human Resource Officer for Hahnemann University Hospital, Vice President/Human Resources for St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and Director of Human Resources for Health Care Plan of New Jersey, Inc.
Mr. Allen is an active member of the Society of Human Resource Management and the Hospital Association of Pennsylvania and a member of the adjunct faculty of Villanova University.
Executive Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy
Gary S. Young is the Executive Vice President for Government Relations and Public Policy for The Cooper Health System. His career spans more than 30 years of experience in strategic planning, marketing, statistical consulting and government relations. Mr. Young has extensive expertise in health policy and regulatory affairs in New Jersey. He received his bachelor's degree in sociology from The Pennsylvania State University. He also received a master's degree in sociology with a concentration in market research, and held a research fellowship in applied statistics and economics, also at The Penn State University.
Mr. Young began at Cooper in 1985 as Director of Planning and Marketing. He was subsequently promoted to Vice President for Planning and Marketing in 1996, and then appointed Executive Vice President for Planning and Marketing in 2000. He has served as Executive Vice President for Government Relations and Community Affairs since 2001. He has published papers on public policy and taught at The Penn State University, Drexel University and Rutgers University. Mr. Young has been a member of various health care strategy and government relations committees in both the New Jersey Hospital Association and the New Jersey Council of Teaching Hospitals, and is currently Chair of the Government Relations Committee for the Council of Teaching Hospitals.
Mr. Young is an active member of the American Sociological Association and the American Statistical Association. He is also a member of the American College of Health Care Executives.
Mr. Young and his family are residents of Cherry Hill, where he is involved in the community and his daughter's extracurricular activities.
LOUIS S. BEZICH, MPP
Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances
LOUIS S. BEZICH is Chief of Staff to the President and CEO of the Cooper Health System and also serves as Executive Director of Cooper’s Center for Population Health. With more than 30 years of executive management experience, Mr. Bezich leads a number of system-wide initiatives, most significantly Cooper’s comprehensive Population Health strategy, which includes Cooper’s relationship with AmeriHealth NJ, pilot programs, education and research. He represents Cooper on the Board of Directors of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers.
Prior to joining Cooper in 2011, Mr. Bezich was Vice President of Administrative Services at Camden County College, one of New Jersey’s largest county colleges. He was responsible for a $75 million budget and directly oversaw finance, human resources, information technology, public safety, facilities and economic development.
From 1998 to 2008 Mr. Bezich founded and built Public Solutions, Inc., into South Jersey’s leading economic development consultancy. Prior to founding Public Solutions, Mr. Bezich had a distinguished career in business and public administration including service as County Administrator of Camden County.
Mr. Bezich serves as Vice Chair of the Rowan University/Rutgers-Camden Board of Governors, an organization focused on generating collaborative instruction and research in the health sciences. Since 2002 he has served as Chairman of the Camden Higher Education and Health Care Task Force. He is also an adjunct professor in the Graduate Department of Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers-Camden.
TERRY RICCA, RN
Senior Vice President and Chief Experience Office
Terry Ricca, RN, is Senior Vice President and Chief Experience Officer. She joined Cooper in 2014 with more than 30 years of health care experience.
Ms. Ricca provides the vision, leadership and direction for customer-centric approaches to improve the emotional, physical and spiritual experiences of patients and their families. She works with leaders and staff to build relationships both externally and internally to develop a customer-centered culture that results in greater patient satisfaction and loyalty.
Prior to coming to Cooper, she served in a variety of leadership roles at Virtua Health, including vice president of customer experience where she provided strategy and direction for the health system’s patient satisfaction and service excellence initiatives. Previously, she held leadership roles within the health system’s women’s and children’s service line including, as vice president from 2006 to 2009.
Ms. Ricca earned her diploma from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and her bachelor of science degree in nursing from Thomas Edison State College. She is an active volunteer with Junior Achievement and the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women and has received numerous awards for her accomplishments. She received the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern NJ Women of Achievement Award in 2005. In 2006 she was honored with the Outstanding Leadership and Achievement in Nursing from the Alumni Association of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing; and, in 2010, she was featured in South Jersey Magazine’s Super Women issue.