Interview with John Westerman

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Interview with John Westerman

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University of Minnesota


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Westerman begins by discussing his childhood and youth in Minneapolis. He describes his time in the US Air Force and in Tachikawa, Japan. He discusses his time as a student in the Masters in Hospital Administration program and his interactions with James Hamilton and James Stephan. He describes Ray Amberg and other University Hospital administrators. He discusses being CEO of Strong Memorial Hospital and working at the University of Minnesota Hospitals. He describes the physical reorganization of the Health Sciences and the reputation of the PhD programs in other parts of the country. He discusses collaborations between the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota. He describes the Hospital’s referral system. Westerman discusses the atmosphere of the Hospital and its relationship with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He discusses nursing at the Hospital and the influence of Marie Manthey and Florence Julian. He also discusses the role of Pharmacy and having pharmacy students in the Hospital. Westerman discusses abortions at the University Hospital. He also describes the increasingly competitive hospital marketplace in the 1970s. Finally, he discusses the Consortium of University Hospitals.


John Westerman was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After earning a bachelor of science in law from the University of Minnesota in 1954 and then attending law school for two years, he was called up as a member of the ROTC to serve in the Air Force. When he returned, he took additional coursework and earned a bachelor of business administration with a major in finance in 1958. He then attended the University of Minnesota for his Masters in Hospital Administration, which he earned in 1960. He then completed his administrative residency at University Hospital under Ray Amberg from 1959 to 1961. From 1961 to 1964, he served as assistant administrator, in a position akin to chief operating officer, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York, part of Rochester University. Westerman returned to the University of Minnesota to work with Dr. Richard Magraw, under Dean Robert Howard, on expanding the Comprehensive Clinic. As the project grew, he transferred to President O. Meredith Wilson’s office as an executive secretary, serving as the coordinator of the Committee for Long Range Planning in the Health Sciences. After serving in this position from 1964 to 1966, he took over as general director of University Hospitals and Clinics in November of 1966. He served in this position until 1982. He then moved to Pittsburgh, PA to serve as president and CEO of Allgheny Health Services from 1982 to 1985. From 1985 to 1992, he served as president and CEO of The Hospital of the Good Samaritan, part of the University of California system, in Los Angeles, CA. He served as interim president for the Association of University Programs in Health Administration in Arlington, VA in 1993, and then moved to Hawaii where he served as CEO of Hilo Medical Center from 1993 to 1996 and then CEO of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation from 1996 to 1997. He continues to serve on a number of boards and trusts within the health care industry.

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Tobbell, Dominique A.; Westerman, John. (2012). Interview with John Westerman. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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