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New Orlando Health CEO Ready to Listen

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Orlando Health
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The incoming CEO of Orlando Health will take over an eight-hospital system that’s once again profitable when he starts his new job.

But there are still challenges facing the CEO of Florida’s second-largest hospital system.

David Strong got his start in health care mopping surgery floors in high school.

He’s now president of Rex Healthcare in North Carolina, which was recently named a top-100 hospital by Thompson-Reuters. He also created a fund to spur investments in health care innovation.

Strong says his first job at Orlando Health will be to listen.

“I think my job as an executive and the executive team’s job is to make sure the people who work in hospitals and in health care have the opportunity and the things they need to make that care happen,” Strong said.

Orlando Health isn’t losing money on operations like it was 2013, but the hospital is losing market share to competitors and a union-building campaign is still ongoing.

Board Chairman Dianna Morgan says Strong comes from a similar health care market.

“Rex is a little smaller as a standalone hospital than is Orlando Health, but they are in a very competitive market, just as we are in a very competitive market,” Morgan said.

Strong begins his new job in April.

Abe Aboraya is a reporter with WMFE in Orlando. WMFE is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya works for WMFE in Orlando. He started writing for newspapers in high school. After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2007, he spent a year traveling and working as a freelance reporter for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Weekly, and working for local news websites in the San Francisco Bay area. Most recently Abe worked as a reporter for the Orlando Business Journal. He comes from a family of health care workers.