PROVIDENCE – After more than 30 years at Women & Infants Hospital, Constance Howes, the hospital’s president and CEO stepped down this week. The current executive vice president and chief operating officer Mark Marcanato will serve as acting president.
Over the next six months, Howes will help Marcantano with the transition and then will continue to serve as executive vice president of women’s health, overseeing program development in women’s health for the Care New England system, according to a news release.
Howes will also continue her roles as chair of the Governor’s Workforce Board and of Innovation Providence, an effort to improve Rhode Island’s economic development and Knowledge economy. Starting in January, Howe will begin a three-year term on the Board of Trustees of the American Hospital Association, contributing her knowledge of women’s health issues and the Medicaid population.
When Howes took the position of president and CEO in 2002, she envisioned serving for about 10 years, “long enough to make an impact and then step aside,” she said in a press release.
During Howes’ tenure, labor relations, patient satisfaction, and academic research have improved. Since labor disputes in 1998-99, there has been an “extended period of labor peace,” Howe said in an interview, and the hospital has been able to focus on patient satisfaction, Howe said.
The hospital has consistently been ranked in the top 10 for patient satisfaction across the country and was named one of 20 National Centers of Excellence in Women’s Health by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2003.
External funding for academic research grew from $9 million to $17 million in 2012, Howe said. The hospital also raised the most in its history – $22.9 million – to fund its neonatal intensive care unit, which opened in 2009.
Howe said whenever she is having a bad day, she visits the NICU. She admires the premature babies, who sometimes weigh just a single pound – the equivalent of four sticks of butter. Their skin is semi-transparent and their feet are the size of the end of her thumb – “It’s not technically miracle, but it’s like a miracle,” she said.
“You realize the trust that the family has in us. It’s extremely gratifying,” Howe said. “One thing I never tire of doing is looking out the window and watching a family leave with that new baby. … We make families here, that’s what we do. It doesn’t get better than that,” she concluded.
Marcantano has served in his current role at Women & Infants since January 2010, after serving as vice president of ambulatory and network services at Children’s Hospital in Boston. Prior to that post, Marcantano was executive dean, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Albany Medical College.
“There is no doubt that I have some very big shoes to fill,” he said in a press release. “Connie has set Women & Infants firmly on a path toward excellence, and I am excited to have the opportunity to continue her fine work,” he continued.