Kathleen Becker was announced as the new CEO of the University of New Mexico Hospital on Tuesday afternoon.

The decision was made by chancellor of the Health Sciences Center Dr. Paul Roth and a selection committee.

According to the Health Sciences Center news report, Becker will begin at the hospital on July 15. She will replace interim CEO Michael Chicarelli, who has been filling in for former CEO Steve McKernan since last fall. McKernan retired after 21 years as CEO of UNMH.



UNMH is a well-renowned hospital, earning a spot on the 2017 “Health Care’s Most Wired” list released by the American Hospital Association, and several other awards. It is the only academic hospital and level 1 trauma center in the state of New Mexico.

Becker is coming from the SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital, a similar level 1 trauma center and academic hospital. Prior to her job as president there, she worked as president of SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital and SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital. She also worked as CEO of SLUCare.

Becker visited UNMH last month along with the two other finalists. In her town hall speech, she discussed the need to improve communication, coordination and costs. She said she wants to utilize new technology to improve research and teaching. She also wants to change from a disease focused model to a clinical care model, placing the emphasis on the patient and face-to-face interaction.

According to Michael Richards, co-chair of the search committee, he said during the town hall that Becker has an extensive background in both business and medicine, receiving her degrees in public health and law. He said she has been working in the health systems for over 20 years.

Becker’s family is originally from Albuquerque. Her grandparents ran a pharmacy in the city and she visited them often when she was young. She said she is excited to come back to New Mexico and work at UNMH.

Catherine Stringman is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. She can be reached by email at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @cathey_stringam.