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Banner Health Chief Clinical Officer named to ‘50 Most Influential Clinical Executives’

Modern Healthcare lists Marjorie Bessel, MD among elite group

PHOENIX (June 23, 2021) – Marjorie Bessel, MD, chief clinical officer for Banner Health, has been named one of the nation’s 50 Most Influential Clinical Executives for 2021 by Modern Healthcare, one of the country’s leading publications on health care news. 

This prestigious award recognizes physicians who have demonstrated significant leadership and impact. The individuals named to this group have used their influence to help their organizations achieve and exceed financial, operational and clinical goals, as well as efforts to sustain their organizations culture of innovation during the pandemic. 

“This is a well-deserved recognition for Dr. Bessel as her tireless leadership throughout the pandemic continues to be nothing short of inspirational to all who have the privilege of working with her,” said Peter Fine, Banner’s president and CEO. “She has remained committed to ensuring the health and well-being of her Banner colleagues, as well as providing the best possible care to the patients we serve. And, she has done so with steadfast calmness, grace and composure.”    

Bessel is the highest-ranking physician and clinician for Banner, one of the largest secular nonprofit health care systems in the country, with more than 52,000 employees and 30 hospitals across six states. She is responsible for driving the clinical quality of care across the continuum and for overseeing performance and safety improvement. She also oversees all information technology, informatics, performance improvement and research, and is the executive sponsor for programs to address physician wellness and burnout, a key challenge during the pandemic.

As Banner’s pandemic “incident commander,” she has motivated colleagues and associates in being nimble, creative and unwaveringly focused on fighting the pandemic’s effects across Banner’s six-state service area—and led Arizona’s largest health system in continuously caring for nearly half of all COVID-hospitalized patients in the state. 

Bessel was one of the first clinical leaders in Arizona to publicly voice concerns about an early trend of COVID case increases in the state. She led the development of a partnership with other chief clinical officers throughout the state to ensure that hospitals throughout Arizona—urban, rural, private, public and Indian Health Service—worked collaboratively in the pandemic and her leadership resulted in the creation of the Arizona Surge Line in partnership with the Arizona Department of Health Services (AzDHS).

Her foresight also enabled Banner Health to rapidly deploy telehealth technology to ensure that 100 percent of the health system’s providers across six states had the capacity to conduct telemedicine visits with patients. Additionally, Dr. Bessel oversaw the installation of telehealth capabilities in COVID-19 patient rooms across the Banner system to continue physician consults virtually thus reducing exposure and the use of personal protective equipment. 
Fighting clinician burnout has long been a passion of Dr. Bessel’s and a top priority in her work. Previously, she led the implementation of an evidence-based program, Cultivating Happiness in Medicine, that draws on and integrates proven strategies as well as adding elements tailored to Banner. To build on these efforts during the pandemic, Dr. Bessel also led the formation of the Well-Being Collaborative, a partnership working to identify, collect, and share resources nationally for clinician self-care, resiliency, and support services—all to help fight the clinician burnout that existed before the pandemic and has worsened since. 

"It is a great honor to be recognized by Modern Healthcare and humbling to be included among such an extraordinary group of individuals who have worked to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and for future change in health care delivery,” said Bessel. “This would not have been possible without the tireless dedication of all my Banner colleagues and our collective goal of making healthcare easier so life can be better.” 

The Class of 2021 is published in this week’s issue with profiles of the winners, at  

About Banner Health
Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns and operates 30 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine, academic and employed physician groups, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services; including Banner Urgent Care, family clinics, home care and hospice services, pharmacies and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit
Banner Health Leadership

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