Leslie D. Hirsch to join Saint Peter’s as president of the healthcare system

July 21, 2015

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – Ronald C. Rak, JD, chief executive officer of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, announced today that Leslie D. Hirsch, FACHE, has been named president of the healthcare system, effective Aug. 24, following an extensive nationwide search. Hirsch comes to Saint Peter’s after serving as president and CEO of Saint Clare’s Health System in Denville for the past seven years.Les Hirsch

“Les Hirsch and I share the same vision and values. We are privileged to have such a transformational leader join our team,” Rak said. “Saint Peter’s is a front-runner in New Jersey’s healthcare marketplace. We look forward to his aid in strengthening that position through his wealth of experience, creative ideas, and eagerness to aggressively advance organizational growth. Given his extensive experience in faith-based healthcare, Les is also mindful of the special role played by our Catholic hospitals.”

As president, Hirsch will report to Rak and be responsible for the daily management of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, including but not limited to: organizational and clinical structures; inpatient and outpatient programs; strategic initiatives; financial performance; physician relations and practices, and healthcare facilities.  The separate position of president was created in late 2014 by the Saint Peter’s Healthcare System Board of Governors at Rak’s request and the national search followed this year.        

“I am very excited to be joining the team at Saint Peter’s,” Hirsch said. “It is my hope to build many relationships within and outside of the organization that help Saint Peter’s forge even stronger bonds with its key constituencies, especially employees, the physician community, fellow healthcare organizations, area and state governmental entities, and the communities we serve. I am honored to be joining such a highly respected and mission-driven organization.”

Hirsch has 16 years of experience as a healthcare CEO.

At Saint Clare’s, Hirsch oversaw a 400-bed, 2,800-employee, $310 million-in-annual-revenues Catholic hospital system that includes a 100-bed regional behavioral health hospital and a number of other facilities and services, including a continuing care retirement community and the Saint Clare’s Foundation. During Hirsch’s tenure Saint Clare’s was the recipient of numerous awards for patient safety and clinical quality, among them recognition by The Joint Commission, The Leapfrog Group, and other leading national ratings organizations.

Hirsch also served as president and chief executive officer of Touro Infirmary, a faith-based healthcare system of Jewish heritage located in New Orleans, from 2005 to 2008; Saint Joseph Hospital, Denver, a member of Exempla Healthcare, from 2002 to 2005, and Cooper Health System, Camden, from 1999 to 2002. He started at Cooper in 1988, serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer for those first 11 years. Hirsch implemented major clinical, strategic and financial initiatives at each institution.

Hirsch is chairman of the New Jersey Hospital Association Board of Trustees. He served on the American Hospital Association’s Regional Policy Boards. He is the recipient of numerous leadership honors, including the American College of Healthcare Executives–New Jersey Distinguished Service Award.

Rak will continue to be responsible for leadership of the healthcare system as a whole, particularly with regard to its faith-based mission, system-wide strategies, business development, fund raising, government affairs, and overall external relationships.

Rak has also assumed the role of founding president of The National Gianna Center for Women’s Health and Fertility. The Gianna Center, begun in 2009 in New York City under the now-defunct St. Vincent’s Hospital, has been headquartered on the Saint Peter’s New Brunswick campus since its acquisition by Saint Peter’s in 2010. It has grown today to multiple affiliations across the nation that offer a wide range of women’s and family health services consistent with Catholic Church teachings.         
“I have known Ron Rak professionally for many years and I look forward to working with him,” Hirsch said. “I am equally excited to work with the Saint Peter’s physicians and staff, who are among the best in the industry, as shown by the many clinical, quality and patient care awards earned by Saint Peter’s.”

“Les is a proven leader in the healthcare industry and I welcome him,” Rak said.

About Saint Peter’s Healthcare System
Saint Peter’s Healthcare System Inc., parent company of the Saint Peter’s healthcare delivery system, is comprised of Saint Peter’s University Hospital, a 478-bed acute-care teaching hospital; Saint Peter’s Foundation, the fundraising arm of the hospital, and Saint Peter’s Health and Management Services Corp., which oversees the system’s outpatient facilities. These include the CARES Surgicenter; New Brunswick Cardiac Cath Lab; Community Care Services Inc.; the Margaret McLaughlin McCarrick Care Center Inc., a residential skilled nursing facility in Somerset, and Saint Peter’s Adult Day Center in Monroe Township. Saint Peter’s Healthcare System is sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen. For more information about Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, please visit or call 732-745-8600.

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