SSM Health appoints new board chair, adds 3 board members

ST. LOUIS, MO (January 10, 2023) – Samuel Ross, MD, MS, has been named Board Chair at SSM Health, effective Jan. 1, 2023. Dr. Ross’ appointment began with the conclusion of the term of former board chair Rick Corcoran, who continues his service as a board member.

Dr. Ross has served on the SSM Health Board of Directors since 2020, and as a member of SSM Health Ministries (SSMHM), the sponsoring body responsible for preserving SSM Health’s Roman Catholic identity and serving as liaison to the Vatican.

Dr. Ross is the retired Chief Community Health Officer of Bon Secours Mercy Health, where he managed an acute hospital in West Baltimore, Md., and a vast network of community outreach divisions focused on programs impacting social determinants of health. He was the 2021 recipient of the Sr. Carol Keehan Award from the Catholic Health Association. He received his medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Texas, and a Master of Science in Medical Management from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Dr. Ross has long been a pioneer and champion of health equity in our country,” said Laura S. Kaiser, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer of SSM Health. “He is the right person to lead the System Board at this critical time as we work to provide peace, hope and health for every person, family, and community, especially those most in need.”

As incoming Chair, Dr. Ross noted, ”We are grateful to Rick Corcoran for his skillful leadership as board chair the past three years. He skillfully chaired the Board during a time of unparalleled challenges with the pandemic. On behalf of the Board and leadership, I’m delighted he will continue to serve on our board.”

SSM Health also appointed three new board members:

Sr. Judith Bell, FSM, joins as a member of SSMHM and the SSM Health Board. She currently serves as President of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, SSM Health’s founding congregation, of which she has been a member for 63 years. She has held numerous roles as a nursing executive at several hospitals. She earned a BSN from the Saint Louis University School of Nursing and Health Alliances, a master’s degree in nursing services administration from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, and a post-master’s certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She ministered in an Appalachian medical clinic, in Manchester, Ky., for six years.

J. Alex Valdez, JD, FACHE, joins as a member of SSMHM and the SSM Health Board. He is a consultant with Newport Healthcare Advisors and previously served in a number of leadership positions with CHRISTUS Health, including CEO roles at Clinica San Carlos De Apoquindo in Santiago, Chile, and St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, N.M. He also served as a Cabinet Secretary for both the Departments of Health and Human Services with the State of New Mexico. He earned his law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and his master’s degree in theology from the Norbertine University in De Pere, Wis. He also serves as a deacon in the Archdiocese of Santa Fe at Sacred Heart of Jesus in Espanola, N.M.

Tomas Valdivia, MD, joins the SSM Health Board. He is a co-founder of Bright Health Group and served as its Chief Health and Equity Officer since its inception. He has three decades of experience founding, building, managing and selling companies in a range of sectors, including health care information technology, provider accountable care services, integrated care delivery and financing, consumer health and health benefits. He currently serves as chairman of the Board of Trustees for Intermountain Healthcare’s Homecare and Hospice Division and as a senior adviser to InTandem Capital. Dr. Valdivia holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and a Master of Science degree in health informatics from the University of Minnesota.

Concluding their service to SSM Health as members of SSMHM and/or the SSM Health board are Ronald Hamel, PhD, Sr. Susan Scholl, FSM, Sharon Homan, PhD, Kavita Patel, MD, and Gaye Woods. Dr. Hamel had served since 2014, including a term as Chair of SSMHM. Sr. Scholl served since 2013, and Dr. Patel had been a board member since 2014, serving for the last five years as Chair of the Quality Committee.

“SSM Health has been blessed with the expertise of such distinguished board members for many years, and we sincerely thank and wish them the very best in their future service,” said Michael Rozier, SJ, PhD, President of SSM Health Ministries. “We also look forward to the contributions that Sr. Judy, Alex and Tomas will make as we address the future.”

Mr. Valdez’s appointment was effective Aug. 31, 2022. Sr. Bell and Dr. Valdivia joined effective Jan. 1, 2023.


About SSM Health

SSM Health is a Catholic, not-for-profit health system serving the comprehensive health needs of communities across the Midwest through a robust and fully integrated health care delivery system. The organization’s 40,000 team members and more than 11,600 providers are committed to providing exceptional health care services and revealing God’s healing presence to everyone they serve.

With care delivery sites in Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, SSM Health includes 23 hospitals, more than 300 physician offices and other outpatient and virtual care services, 13 post-acute facilities, comprehensive home care and hospice services, a pharmacy benefit company, a health insurance company and an accountable care organization. It is one of the largest employers in every community it serves. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook and Twitter.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *