Sister Mary Jean Ryan
Her smile says "hello," but her eyes say "power."
(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.