Jackie DeSouza-Van Blaricum, Research Medical Center Chief Executive Officer, was recently named to the Kansas City Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business list. An accomplished healthcare executive—and the 127-year-old hospital’s first female and person of color to serve as CEO—DeSouza-Van Blaricum’s leadership continues to elevate the strong patient care tradition of one of Kansas City’s largest hospitals. Research Medical Center is part of HCA Midwest Health, Kansas City’s leading healthcare provider.
DeSouza joined HCA in May 2000 as an Administrative Resident of HCA Health ONE—The Medical Center of Aurora in Aurora, Colorado. She moved to Kansas City in 2003 when she was named Associate Administrator to support the Division President and Chief Financial Officer in the Health Midwest acquisition and conversion to HCA. That fall she was promoted to Overland Park Regional Medical Center as Chief Operating Officer and in 2006 DeSouza joined Research Medical Center where she served five years as Chief Operating Officer. She was named CEO of Lee’s Summit Medical Center in 2011 and Research Medical Center CEO in 2014.
In 2012, DeSouza was named to Modern Healthcare’s prestigious list of Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare in America and in 2013, she was recognized as one of the Kansas City Business Journal’s NextGen Leaders in its inaugural class. Becker’s Hospital Review named her to the List of 500 People to Know in American healthcare in 2014.
“Jackie is an exemplary employee who personifies the excellence of HCA Midwest Health System,” says M.L. Lagarde III, HCA Midwest Health System President. “Anyone who has worked with her can tell you she is driven, inspiring, motivating and passionate—not just about work, but also about her employees, the community and the patients and their families her team serves. That is a key value for HCA Midwest Health System as we build our future leaders.”
“I am thrilled for this recognition of my work with HCA Midwest Health System and in the community and honored to be named among this group of such highly accomplished women,” DeSouza-Van Blaricum says.
Community service is an important element in DeSouza-Van Blaricum’s life.
“One of the most profound examples of paying it forward came to me at a young age,” DeSouza-Van Blaricum says. “My father grew up as one of 12 children in deep poverty in Kenya; his family had no electricity or running water. However, he and several of his siblings went to medical school. Today I emulate my grandfather and father’s spirit of giving back by serving on the boards of several nonprofit organizations—including the board of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce— and being an engaged and avid community volunteer.”
DeSouza-Van Blaricum has served as the chairperson for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night, the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk and the Kidney Walk and participated in Dancing with the Kansas City Stars to raise funds for educational scholarships for low-income youth. Her efforts have collectively helped these organizations raise more than $5 million.
“I am proud to work in a progressive city like Kansas City, which doesn’t rest on its laurels and is always looking for ways to improve the quality of life for its residents,” she says. “Research Medical Center plays a vital role in that community wealth and, as a leader, it’s in my DNA to be philanthropic and participatory. And here at Research, we have a commitment to the care and improvement of human life, above all else. My team works to carry out that mission each and every day.”
DeSouza-Van Blaricum holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Services Administration from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and a Master of Health Administration degree from Medical College of Virginia Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia.