Oncology Nurse and ONS Member Named President of Johns Hopkins Health System

December 13, 2017 by Chris Pirschel ONS Staff Writer/Producer

ONS member and oncology nurse, Kevin Sowers, MSN, RN, FAAN, former president of Duke University Hospital in Chapel Hill, NC, was appointed president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine (https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/stories/kevin-sowers-named-president-of-johns-hopkins-health-system-executive-vice-president-johns-hopkins-medicine.html), both in Baltimore, MD, on December 8, 2017, and begins his tenure on February 1, 2018. He is only the second person in Johns Hopkins history to hold these dual roles.

In his new role, Johns Hopkins Medicine says that Sowers will focus furthering the institution’s strategic initiatives while also fully integrating its clinical delivery systems. He will work with others at Johns Hopkins to oversee six major hospitals, more than 40 outpatient primary care clinics, a number of home-health service providers, and more than 40,000 full-time faculty and staff.

“I have known Kevin Sowers through ONS for many years and have had the privilege of working with him at Duke for the past 17 years,” Susan Schneider, PhD, RN, AOCN®, FAAN, ONS president, said. “Kevin is a thoughtful, innovative nurse leader who puts patients and families first. He’s extremely proud of his nursing background and is a true role model for oncology nursing. Johns Hopkins Health Systems is fortunate to have this visionary leader at their helm.”

Throughout his oncology career, Sowers has been a leader in ONS at the local and national levels. He’s a member of the North Carolina Triangle Chapter; has served on the Board of Trustees for the ONS Foundation, including a term as president; and was the keynote speaker at the 40th Annual ONS Congress in Orlando, FL. Sowers received the 2009 Friend of the Foundation Award, participated in ONS committees focused on nursing management and government relations, and served on planning teams for ONS Congress and the former ONS Fall Institute.

Sowers began his oncology career working at Duke more than 30 years ago as a staff oncology nurse. Since then, he’s held a number of key leadership roles, including nurse educator, director of medical oncology and nurse internships, and director of a cancer care consortium. He’s also served as a unit manager for hematology, oncology, and gynecologic oncology. For the past eight years, Sowers has led Duke as president.

In his position at Duke, Sowers oversaw a more than 1,000-bed teaching hospital. Through his leadership, Duke has seen improvements to patient satisfaction, clinical quality, workforce culture, and the hospital’s bottom line.

"I’ve had the great fortune to witness the beauty, complexities, and challenges of healthcare delivery," Sowers said in a news conference. "Whatever my position was at any moment, I consistently saw in my colleagues dedication, compassion, and a commitment to better the lives of others through advancing science and caring for the human spirit."

As a dedicated teacher and mentor, Sowers has devoted much of his career to sharing his oncology nursing knowledge and experience with his peers. Currently, he is an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health and Duke University Fuqua School of Business. He also works as a clinical associate in Duke University’s Graduate School of Nursing.

Sowers attended Capital University School of Nursing in Columbus, OH, for his undergraduate degree. He later obtained his masters of science from Duke University. He is an extensively published author and speaks both nationally and internationally about topics such as organizational change, leadership, mentorship, and cancer care.

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