Welltower Appoints National Healthcare Executives Karen DeSalvo, Johnese Spisso to Board

TOLEDO, Ohio — Welltower Inc. (NYSE: WELL) has appointed Karen DeSalvo and Johnese Spisso, both high-profile healthcare executives, to its Board of Directors.

DeSalvo is a physician and professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Population Health at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School. Her medical and public health leadership and expertise spans three decades in the academic, policy and practice environments.  

DeSalvo served as acting assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and concurrently as national coordinator for health information technology for the United States during the Obama Administration. She was previously the Health Commissioner for New Orleans.

DeSalvo has been repeatedly recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Leaders and Executives. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Humana and on the Advisory Board of Verily.

Spisso, president of UCLA Health, CEO of UCLA Hospital System, and associate vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences, is a nationally recognized academic healthcare leader with more than 30 years of experience. She oversees all operations of UCLA’s hospitals and clinics as well as the health system’s regional outreach strategy. 

Prior to joining UCLA in 2016, Spisso served as the chief health system officer for the University of Washington School of Medicine, as well as the vice president for medical affairs for the university. Prior to her tenure at UW, she spent 12 years at the University of California Davis Medical Center

Spisso was included in Becker’s Hospital Review 100 Great Healthcare Leaders to Know in 2017.

“These two healthcare professionals have outstanding depths of experience in major health systems management, healthcare technology and groundbreaking public health initiatives,” says Jeff Donahue, board chair. “Their knowledge and the key roles they have played in health care innovation will complement our diverse and talented Board.”

“The outstanding skill sets in healthcare delivery that Karen and Johnese bring to our board will further enhance Welltower’s ability to be the industry leader in health care infrastructure and solutions,” adds Welltower CEO Tom DeRosa. “On a personal level, I am especially proud that their addition to the Board will bring our number of female directors to four. With 55 percent of our independent directors minorities and women, Welltower stands at the very top ranks of the S&P 500 for Board diversity.”