October 1, 2011

Cover Story

Healthcare Heroes

With unwavering courage and compassion, the 2011 Healthcare Heroes are imp...Read More

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Sean Whalen

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Kris Rudarmel


Healthcare Heroes


Dianne Lewis, Heather Stewart

October 1, 2011


Dr. Edward B. Clark

  • Wilma T. Gibson Presidential Professor; Chairman, Department of Pediatrics; University of Utah School of Medicine; Chief Medical Officer, Primary Children’s Medical Center

Flexibility and teamwork are key to a life in medicine, says Dr. Edward Clark. With a career spanning hospitals and universities, Clark has worked with many people throughout the world. He says individuals entering medicine have many paths to choose from to be a part of the team.

“A career in medicine is more a calling than a choice. At some point you will realize that what you really want to do is care for people. Then explore what the right pathway is for you,” Clark says. “If your passion, your calling, is medicine, explore all the ways you can achieve your goals.”

Clark realized medicine was his calling after seeing family members with chronic disease, as well as his own experience with having a congenital heart defect. After studying developing chick hearts in his undergraduate degree, Clark chose to enter medical school to combine clinical care and research. He continues to change lives through research and as chief medical officer at Primary Children’s Medical Center.

Rod L. Betit

  • President and CEO, Utah Hospital Association

Rod Betit didn’t start out in healthcare. He began his career managing public assistance programs in the mid-1970s when the governor of Alaska asked him to solve problems in the state Medicaid program. Designing and operating a complex, quality public healthcare program and the satisfaction of seeing people served convinced Betit that healthcare was his true calling.

Most of Betit’s career was in public service, with those 30 years split between Alaska and Utah. Betit is now in his eighth year in the private sector. Although there have been many challenges along the way, Betit says his most rewarding experience has been as executive director of both the Utah Department of Health and Utah Department of Human Services, where he developed and implemented a strong child welfare program.

In the coming years, Betit hopes states take advantage of the opportunity to develop effective, state-specific healthcare programs as an answer to current healthcare challenges.

Joseph Horton

  • Senior Vice President of Hospital Operations, Intermountain Healthcare

Soon after Joseph Horton became CEO of Primary Children’s Medical Center in 1994, he was faced with an enormous problem: the academic affiliation between Primary Children’s and the University of Utah School of Medicine was threatened. Over the course of several months, Horton worked carefully and successfully to maintain that affiliation.

A cool head and strong leadership characterize his career. Horton says his involvement in healthcare came from watching his father, an internist, provide committed and principled care. He sees a great opportunity for change in the healthcare system and hopes people are up to the challenge of working to better it.

“It won’t be easy, but I believe it will be rewarding for those who step up to this challenge,” he says.

Throughout his 31-year career, Horton has worked with many organizations, but he says the one in which he contributed most and enjoyed deeply was the National Association of Children’s Hospitals, where he served as chairman. Horton recently shifted focus and has started using his experience to help teach and train graduate students preparing for a career in healthcare.


Dr. Aaron A. Hofmann

  • Clinical Professor, Orthopedics; Director, Center for Precision Joint Replacement, Salt Lake Regional Medical Center; Founder, Hofmann Arthritis Institute, Operation Walk-Utah; Co-founder, Total Joint Orthopedics Inc., Amedica Inc.

Dr. Aaron Hofmann has spent more than 25 years designing joint replacement implants and technology, particularly focused on hips and knees. Ergonomic, logical instruments and computer-assisted navigation guide more accurate installation and alignment of replacements. In addition, Hofmann uses MAKO’s RIO robotic arm to help patients.

Hofmann leads a groundbreaking team that manages Utah’s only robot-assisted joint replacement program. The team uses a CT scan of the damaged joint to guide the surgery through smaller incisions and less tissue disturbance. Patients recover quicker and have more accurate implant placement. Hofmann says he anticipates more surgeons will use the robot-assisted replacement as they simplify and streamline the process.

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