St. Louis Nun Named 19th Most Powerful Person in Health Care


Her smile says "hello," but her eyes say "power." - IMAGE VIA
  • image via
  • Her smile says "hello," but her eyes say "power."
Sister Mary Jean Ryan
(so nice they named her thrice) made Modern Healthcare Magazine's list of the nation's most influential people in health care for the eighth year in a row. She ranks nineteenth on the list of one hundred, coming in behind Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who was ranked second (damn!), and President Barack Obama, who topped the list (double damn!). 

Ryan is the only Catholic nun to have made the list for eight years running, and one of a small number who has achieved the ranking for that many consecutive years. The list is determined by submitted nominations from Modern Healthcare Magazine readers, and then the rankings are drawn from the number of votes each nominee received. 

Ryan, 72, has been a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary for 50 years, and began in health care as a nurse 45 years ago. For the last 24 years, she has been CEO of SSM Health Care. Last August, she took up the additional role of Chairwoman of the Board of SSM, and is one of a few Catholics still in charge of running a Catholic health care company. 

You can read more about the most intense-sounding nun in healthcare on the SSM site. 


Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.