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The Northwest Arkansas Council is seeking an Executive Director to lead and facilitate the work of the Northwest Arkansas Council’s Healthcare Transformation Division. This position is a high-level opportunity to make a significant difference in the health and vitality of a region and possibly serve as a model for other areas of the state and country. The Executive Director’s charge will be to lead the effort to expand graduate medical education, develop an interdisciplinary research institute, and possibly develop a medical school in Northwest Arkansas. Northwest Arkansas is one of the nation’s fastest growing regions and is home to three fortune 500 companies and more than 1,300 corporate subsidiary offices, and well-known consumer brands.
Full Job Description

Full Job Description

Position:  Executive Director, Healthcare Transformation Division  (Full-Time, Newly Created)

Organization: Northwest Arkansas Council: nwacouncil.org 

Location: Northwest Arkansas

Reporting Relationship: Reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer of the Northwest Arkansas Council and works with the guidance of the Council’s Healthcare Steering Committee.  Selected candidate will have the option of a faculty appointment at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. 

In 2018, the Northwest Arkansas Council (NWAC) commissioned a study through a nationally recognized firm, Tripp Umbach, to gain a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between the region’s healthcare sector and its economic success.  Unlike traditional healthcare assessments, the study was chartered to examine actions intended to drive regional success in becoming a healthcare service destination while advancing quality of life, economic vitality and gains in health of the population.  The study found significant health care strengths in the region, including high quality primary care.  However, the study also found a significant shortage of specialty and sub-specialty care causing an outmigration of health care with an annual economic impact of nearly $1 billion. Taking steps to address the outmigration of specialty health care services and becoming a health care destination through advancements growing a strong healthcare workforce by leveraging regional focus, talents, and collaboration is a desired outcome.  This will enhance the quality of life for residents and strengthen the economy of the region.  

In July 2019, upon completion of the study, the NWAC accepted the report and endorsed three priority areas for regional effort: 

  • Expanding Residency Graduate Medical Education with a stated goal of 200 new regional residency slots and reaching further into the areas of needed specialties
  • Development of a robust interdisciplinary research institutes
  • Expanding medical education for health professionals to include potential for a regional medical school

In order to accomplish these goals and guide the region forward through collaborative effort, the Healthcare Transformation Division (the Division) was convened under the NWAC organizational structure. 

The Division has enlisted chief executive officers from the region’s largest and most distinguished health, academic and research institutions to serve as its steering committee.  This committee guides the work and is a catalyst for coordinated efforts needed for success as work proceeds toward the desired goals.  The Division is a strategic convener of regional decision makers and promotes intentional collaboration and alignment as both opportunities and challenges arise. 

The Division’s first scope of work will be the Graduate Medical Education (GME) Strategy.  This effort includes design and development as well as full implementation and sustainability components.   Sustainability will depend on the creation of long-term strategies for on-going funding and supportive relationships with local, state and federal legislators.  NWAC has been highly successful in nurturing these relationships over time.  Success on this first scope of work is foundational to the success of the later stated goals.   It is the expectation that this effort will serve as a model for the state of Arkansas and the nation.  

The Northwest Arkansas Council is therefore launching a formal search for an Executive Director for its newly formed Healthcare Transformation Division. 

Position Summary 

The Executive Director leads and facilitates the work of the Northwest Arkansas Council’s Healthcare Transformation Division.  The Director is responsible for supporting the work of the Steering Committee and functions as a lead facilitator of process for the committee.  The Director leads and facilitates development of strategies to achieve the stated goals and provides leadership and oversight for the deployment and implementation of these strategies.   

This position is a high-level opportunity to make a significant difference in the health and vitality of a region, through the work of the Division and the accomplishment of stated goals.  This position will be highly visible. 

The Executive Director will work with leaders from the healthcare community, physicians, allied health professionals and local employers.  She/he will work with chancellors and vice chancellors in the academic environment and have the benefit of access to great talent deep within these organizations.   The Executive Director will also be accountable for nurturing and supporting key relationships with business and community leaders, local philanthropists, legislators, government agency, and other change makers. 

Finally, the Executive Director will be responsible for strategic planning, strategy execution, financial and performance measures, opportunity cultivation, initiative management, telling and selling the story as it unfolds, and facilitating community partnerships. 

Key Accountabilities 

The Division’s three priority goals drive the key accountabilities and performance expected of the Executive Director. 

  • Convenes, engages and directs the involvement of members of the Division, community decision makers, key stakeholders and others who serve in advisory and implementation capacity. 
  • Defines respective roles and assignments, opens doors for progress in both short- and long-term focus areas. 
  • Builds strong relationships, effective teams and regional support. 
  • Maintains a network of subject area experts and key decision makers to support the work. 
  • Develops structure and systems for sustainability, meeting agendas, assignments, timelines, outcome measures, follow-up tools and progress reports. 
  • Fosters collaboration, team performance and processes of recognition. 
  • Routinely communicates and engages local, state, and national legislators, as well as regional change makers. 
  • Identifies and establishes sustainable funding strategies to support the Division’s priorities. 
  • Represents the Healthcare Transformation Division within the structure of the NWAC. 
  • Other duties as assigned. 

Experience, Qualifications, Education and Characteristics. 

To perform this job, an individual must have executive level skills and be able to perform these essential duties satisfactorily.  Requirements listed below are representative of some of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required. 

A minimum of a master’s degree and five years of experience in a field related to medical science, medical education, research, business development, economic development, medical project management or equivalent combination of education and experience is required.  MD or PhD would be valued.  Experience and knowledge in graduate medical education is needed.  Experience in interdisciplinary research or medical school development is highly valued. 

To performs the job successfully, an individual should demonstrate the following competencies: 

  • Leadership ability, integrity, credibility, alignment with Mission of NWAC. 
  • Excellent written communication and public presentation, influence and relationship building.
  • Ability to prioritize, negotiate and work effectively with decision makers, physicians, CEO’s, philanthropists, regulators. 
  • Proven competencies in strategic planning, project management, timeline and budget management and systems thinking. 
  • Proven competencies in convening and facilitating for the purpose of plan development and role assignment. 
  • Self-motivated multi-tasker, with ability to achieve results by working with a variety of stakeholders. 
  • Proficient with financial statements, contracts, budgets, and business plan development. 
  • Understanding of the inner workings of medical communities and academia. 
  • Analytical and critical investigation skills, ability to study and evaluate trends, developments, and challenges, then clearly focus the team on shared strategy and common solutions. 

Work Environment 

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential function of this job. 

Exposed to typical office environment conditions and noise levels.   Frequently required to travel to local, regional, state and national meetings or training by car and air travel.    

Regularly scheduled to work 40 hours per week; frequently may be required to work more than 40 hours per week to meet deadlines, finish assignments, or attend functions and meetings. 

NWAC is an equal opportunity employer.   Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.  


Compensation for the Executive Director will include a base salary, along with a comprehensive benefits package commensurate with the successful candidate’s experience level and qualifications. 

How to Apply

Please email resume to Stacey Sturner at the Northwest Arkansas Council at Stacey@nwacouncil.org

¹ Northwest Arkansas (NWA) includes FayettevilleSpringdaleRogers, and Bentonville, the third, fourth, eighth and tenth largest cities in Arkansas.  One of the fastest growing regions in the nation, Northwest Arkansas doubled in population between 1990 and 2010.  The total regional population is currently over 550,000. Growth has been driven by the three Fortune 500 companies based in NWA: WalmartTyson Foods, and J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., as well as over 1,300 suppliers and vendors drawn to the region by these large businesses and NWA’s business climate. The region has also seen significant investment in cultural amenities, including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the Walmart AMP, and the NWA Razorback Regional Greenway.  US News and World reports frequently lists Northwest Arkansas as one of the top 10 best areas to live.  

To learn more about Northwest Arkansas, explore FindingNWA and/or visit NWACouncil.org.

² Click here to read the Northwest Arkansas Health Care Assessment