The 2016 Leaders in Health Care Awards: Outstanding Health Care Executive, Puget Sound Region


June Altaras
Swedish Seattle Chief Executive and System Chief 
Executive for Acute Care, Swedish Medical Center, Seattle

As chief executive of acute care for the Swedish Health Services system, June Altaras guides her team to deliver the most efficient, effective and reliable care in Swedish hospitals by working directly with chief executives at each campus.

With more than 31 years in health care, she also leads a newly formed system acute care operations council. In addition, Altaras serves as chief executive of Swedish Seattle, which includes the Cherry Hill and First Hill campuses, overseeing operations at Swedish’s two largest hospital facilities. 

One of the most challenging aspects of her job is making sure the changes she leads are meaningful and not just change for change’s sake. “Transforming health care is like rebuilding the plane while flying it,” Altaras explains. “Yet what we are rebuilding isn’t a thing; it’s people’s health and lives. This is a very important and significant challenge.”

Altaras started her career as a licensed practical nurse in the psychiatric unit at Stevens Memorial Hospital in Edmonds (now Swedish Edmonds), and later worked as a bone marrow transplant nurse for 15 years. In 2009, she was promoted to nurse executive for Swedish First Hill, where she led her team to receive the prestigious Magnet designation and the Pathway to Excellence award from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Throughout her career, Altaras has empowered nurses to take ownership of their work and lead patient care improvement processes. She is also responsible for creating systematic processes for all of Swedish’s hospitals. 

Sarah Patterson
EVP/COO, Virginia Mason 
Medical Center, Seattle

A champion of lean management skills and process improvement in hospitals, Sarah Patterson has been a member of the leadership team at Virginia Mason Medical Center for nearly 30 years. As executive vice president and chief operating officer, she is responsible for all operations of the clinic and hospital along with the Kaizen Promotion Office, Human Resources, Quality and Compliance, Facilities and Pharmaceutical Services. In 2002, Virginia Mason embarked on a systemwide program to change the way it delivers health care, embracing Japan’s Kaizen system of continuous improvement. Patterson’s extensive training in what has become the Virginia Mason Production System included several study missions to Japan.

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