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Leadership Bios

Gregory Feirn - Chief Executive Officer of LCMC HealthGregory C. Feirn

Chief Executive Officer of LCMC Health

Greg Feirn serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at LCMC Health, a nine-hospital system based in New Orleans that he spearheaded the creation of in 2009. As CEO, Greg provides strategic leadership to advance the system’s mission of health, care, and education beyond extraordinary.

After 11 years in leadership at Children’s Hospital New Orleans, Greg focused his efforts on building a health system that could truly serve the diverse needs of the New Orleans community. As part of this vision, Greg served as the lead negotiator when Children’s Hospital acquired Touro and provided instrumental guidance and direction during the formation of LCMC Health.

Under Greg’s leadership, LCMC Health has grown to include University Medical Center New Orleans, New Orleans East Hospital, West Jefferson Medical Center, and East Jefferson General Hospital. Today, LCMC Health has a workforce of 15,000 employees, including over 2,800 physicians throughout the six hospitals and more than 100 clinical and urgent care centers. Recently, Standard & Poor (S&P) affirmed LCMC Health’s A+ rating - the only hospital in Louisiana with the preeminent rating.

Greg’s commitment to serve the industry has resulted in recent recognitions for his contributions to healthcare and the community. Greg was recently honored as a Healthcare Hero by New Orleans CityBusiness for industry achievements and community involvement. He has also been recognized as an Executive of the Year by Biz New Orleans, as well as named to the CityBusiness Power 50 Most Influential People list and selected as a CityBusiness ICON.

In July of 2022, Greg was appointed Chairman of the Louisiana Hospital Association. In addition, he also serves the New Orleans community on several boards including Greater New Orleans, Inc., Metairie Park Country Day School, Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region, and New Orleans Museum of Art.

With Greg at the helm, LCMC Health has also earned the 2021 Joy in Medicine designation, been named to the Forbes 2021 “Best Employers” list and was identified on the 2022 “150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare” by Becker’s Hospital Review.

John Heaton, M.D., Chief Marketing Officer and President of Clinical and System OperationsJohn Heaton, MD

LCMC Health President and Chief Medical Officer

Dr. John Heaton is the President and Chief Medical Officer for LCMC Health. Managing a variety of clinical and operational areas, he provides his considerable medical expertise and operational experience to such departments as Quality, Case Management, and Population Health.

Prior to moving into his system-level leadership role, he was Senior Vice President/Chief Medical Officer for Children’s Hospital. He originally joined the medical staff at Children’s Hospital in 2000 as Director of Anesthesiology.

An alumnus of the LSU School of Medicine, Dr. Heaton is a diplomate of the American Board of Anesthesiology and holds a Master of Medical Management degree from Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Heaton is a passionate advocate for patient safety and the quality of our care delivery systems. A longstanding clinical faculty member at both LSU and Tulane medical schools, he is also a staunch supporter of Children’s Hospital – and the entire LCMC Health family – and works tirelessly to uphold the hospital’s reputation as the premier site for pediatric clinical education in Louisiana.

Bill Masterton, Chief Market Officer of LCMC HealthJohn R. Nickens IV

LCMC Health Maternal and Child Health Services

President, Chief Executive Officer Children’s Hospital New Orleans

John R. Nickens IV is the LCMC Health Maternal and Child Health Services and the President and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Hospital New Orleans. He originally came to New Orleans in September 2017 as President and CEO of Children’s Hospital. Mr. Nickens began his career at Texas Children’s Hospital in 1990 with management positions in revenue cycle and clinical operations. He went on to hold various administrative positions at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and then returned to Texas Children’s where he has most recently held the position of Executive Vice President, overseeing system-wide clinical business analytics, Pediatric subspecialty medical service lines, and inpatient and outpatient operations.

JoAnn Kunkel photo​JoAnn Kunkel

Chief Financial Officer

JoAnn Kunkel is the Chief Financial Officer for LCMC Health and its nine-hospital system. In addition to leading the finance and accounting departments, JoAnn also serves as a financial and strategic business advisor to the hospital system CEO and broader leadership team.

JoAnn brings years of finance and healthcare experience to LCMC Health. For the bulk of her career, JoAnn held positions with the $6+ billion Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, S.D. In her capacity as the Corporate Chief Financial Officer of the Sanford Health system, JoAnn led the transformation of the finance organization together with a team of more than 3,000 finance, accounting, revenue cycle, and analytics professionals and was responsible for overseeing financial operations and integration of the system hospitals and clinics into the broader operating company. JoAnn also oversaw operational and financial aspects of the $1 billion Sanford Health Plan, serving membership in commercial and individual products including multi-state exchange products, Medicare supplemental and Medicaid expansion lines of business.

Immediately prior to joining LCMC Health, JoAnn led financial affairs at the University of South Dakota where she was responsible for leading and developing strategic growth opportunities for the university, including its expansion and enhancement of health care related objectives. JoAnn earned both her master’s in Business Administration and bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of South Dakota.

Maurice “Mel” L. Lagarde​Maurice “Mel” L. Lagarde

Chief Strategy and Growth Officer

Maurice “Mel” L. Lagarde joined LCMC Health as Chief Strategy and Growth Officer in 2023. He is a transformative leader responsible for providing strategic direction and advancing opportunities designed to continue LCMC Health’s growth as an integrated healthcare system.

Mel received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Tulane University School of Arts and Sciences and a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine. Prior to joining the LCMC Health leadership team, Mel spent the past 40 years at HCA, with 25 years of experience running divisions for the system.

Throughout his career, Mel has been recognized for his tremendous contributions to the healthcare industry. He is a two-time Tulane University Outstanding Alumnus honoree and a Tulane University School of Public Health & Tropical Medicine Alumnus of the Year. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and serves on the Board of Directors for the Federation of American Hospitals.

Dr. Mary "Toni" Flowers, Chief Diversity and Social Responsibility Officer​Dr. Mary "Toni" Flowers

Chief Diversity and Social Responsibility Officer

Toni is a subject matter expert on the topics of diversity, strategy and action planning, health care equity, health and health care disparities, community health, cultural competency, executive coaching, customer/patient experience, and social marketing.

She has spent more than two decades focusing on diversity and inclusion and health equity and disparities in healthcare. Most recently, she was the inaugural Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Roper St. Francis Healthcare System in Charleston, South Carolina. She served in a similar capacity for the St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, Michigan.

Toni is a member of the executive committee of the American Leadership Council for Diversity in Healthcare and serves as faculty for the Institute for Diversity’s Certificate in Diversity Management Fellowship. She also serves as an advisor and executive coach to health systems and healthcare executives across the country.

Toni has been recognized nationally by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for her excellence in program development and the reduction in health disparities. She is a certified Social & Emotional Intelligence Coach and has received multiple diversity-related certifications from Cornell University and Georgetown University. She is a nurse and medical anthropologist, and for more than 20 years she has served internationally as a medical missionary to many countries throughout Africa, South America, and the West Indies.

In 2018 and 2019, Becker’s Hospital Review named Toni one of 50 “Great African American Health Administrators to Know,” noting her influence in impacting how organizations approach healthcare delivery, the development of healthcare policy, and advocating for the next generation of leaders.

Toni earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Education, a Doctor of Humane Letters, and a Master of Business Administration from Christian University of Southern Indiana. Before those degrees, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Wayne State University after earning an Associate Degree in Nursing from Wayne County Community College.

Ayame Dinkler, Chief of StaffAyame Dinkler

Chief Administrative Officer

Ayame Dinkler is the Chief Administrative Officer for LCMC Health, a non-profit health system on a mission to provide the best possible care for every person in Louisiana and beyond. As CAO, she has executive responsibility for government affairs, innovation, and several strategic and operational partnerships. She joined LCMC Health in 2015 after spending more than a decade in public service.

Ayame previously served in a Chief of Staff capacity at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC, and also served in various leadership roles at the City of New Orleans and on Capitol Hill.

National healthcare publication Becker’s Hospital Review recognized Ayame as one of its Rising Stars for 2018. She has been recognized by New Orleans CityBusiness as a Healthcare Hero (2019) and Women of the Year (2021). She serves on the boards of America’s Essential Hospitals’ Policy Committee, Youth Force NOLA, the New Orleans Building Corporation, Greater New Orleans Inc.’s NextGen Council, the Independent Women’s Organization, the University of New Orleans Research and Technology Foundation, United Way of Southeast Louisiana, the AntiDefamation League South Central Region, and is active with several community organizations focused on women’s issues and youth development.

Christine Albert, Vice President, Marketing and CommunicationsChristine Albert

Chief Marketing and Experience Officer

Christine Albert is the Chief Marketing and Experience Officer for LCMC Health and its nine-hospital system. She provides strategic leadership for marketing planning and employee experience across the entire LCMC network. Her commitment to our system and our city’s residents has helped us build a powerful reputation for our brand.

At Touro, Christine was initially employed as Director of Marketing and later promoted to the position of Associate Vice President of Marketing. Prior to her current role, she served as Vice President of Marketing for the entire LCMC Health system. Christine also has worked in public affairs positions for the Department of the Navy and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Outside of the office, Christine serves as a board member AHA Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD). Active in several professional associations, including the American College of Healthcare Executives, Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and American Marketing Association, she has been recognized as a “40 Under 40” honoree Gambit Weekly in its annual list of outstanding young professionals in the New Orleans area. Christine is a dedicated community ally who stays active in ventures that benefit causes like the American Heart Association, where she is a Circle of Red member, and the Youth Empowerment Project’s 40 Under 40, a group of young professionals who pledge their time and philanthropic support to have a direct and meaningful impact on the lives of New Orleans’ underserved young people.

Jody Martin, Chief Legal Officer​Jody Martin

Chief Legal Officer of LCMC Health

Jody Martin is the Chief Legal Officer for LCMC Health and, as such, is the system’s primary legal advisor. As he manages the many legal situations that arise for the system – such as compliance issues and risk management functions – Jody successfully articulates the system’s position, while helping to ensure that the entire LCMC Health team remains committed to its mission of quality healthcare and clinical excellence.

He brings wide-ranging legal experience in the healthcare arena to LCMC Health, including service at several hospitals across the South, and his contributions represent an incalculable asset for our system. His most recent role before joining LCMC Health was Regional General Counsel for the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System (FMOLHS) in Baton Rouge.

Jody successfully articulates the system’s position, while helping to ensure that the entire LCMC Health team remains committed to its mission of quality healthcare and clinical excellence. Like his medical counterparts in the LCMC Health system, Jody is committed to maintaining excellent and compassionate care in our community.