September 8, 2022 by
Sunil Eappen, M.D., M.B.A. (Courtesy photo)
The University of Vermont Health Network has named Sunil “Sunny” Eappen, M.D., M.B.A., as the health system’s next president and chief executive officer, following an extensive national search. Eappen, who comes from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, part of the Mass General Brigham network, will lead the organization forward in the next phase of its evolution into a more integrated and equitable health system. He will be responsible for oversight of all operations, including the flagship academic medical center, five community hospitals, children’s hospital, multi-specialty physicians group, and home health and hospice agency.
Currently, Eappen serves as chief medical officer and senior vice president for medical affairs for Brigham and Women’s and is an associate professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School. His appointment will be effective November 28, 2022, and he will succeed John R. Brumsted, M.D., who is retiring after leading the health system for more than 10 years.
“All through the search process, Dr. Eappen stood out as an accomplished and inspirational leader whose personal and professional values closely align with the strategic direction of the Network,” said Allie Stickney, chair of the UVM Health Network Board of Trustees and CEO search committee. “His track record of building partnerships, commitment to health equity and belief in a value-based approach to health care will build upon the strong foundation Dr. Brumsted began a decade ago. We are incredibly excited and fortunate to have Dr. Eappen join us to lead this organization and its talented people into the next phase of its evolution.”
Throughout his time at the Mass General Brigham system, Eappen’s leadership was integral to improving clinical care and the patient experience. He also served since 2020 as the interim leader for Brigham’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts, representing Brigham and Women’s for Mass General Brigham United Against Racism.
An accomplished healthcare executive, Eappen was named interim president of Brigham and Women’s from March 2021 to December 2021, when a permanent candidate was selected. He is the author of numerous published articles and a national speaker on topics including optimizing OR efficiency, surgical checklist implementation and change management. The UVM Health Network search committee cited Eappen’s strong record of coalition building, deep experience in academic medicine, and commitment to equity among the many reasons he emerged as a top candidate.
“The UVM Health Network is a model for how we can provide and preserve high-quality health care in our communities, while innovating and educating through academic medicine,” said Eappen. “I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to work alongside, learn from and support thousands of dedicated providers and staff across Vermont and Northern New York, and to deliver on the promise of the Network. Together, we will address our challenges and work to provide expert, equitable, value-based health care for our patients and communities.”
This appointment comes at a critical time for the health system, which serves more than one million patients across Vermont and Northern New York. Immediate challenges, shared by hospitals and health systems across the country, include extraordinary cost inflation and the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eappen’s expertise and leadership will play a pivotal role in the Network’s financial recovery and in guiding the transformative work being done across the Network to increase patient access to care, address national workforce shortages and more deeply integrate the organization’s operational and governance structure to become more nimble, equitable and aligned with its population health centered mission.
“I’m incredibly pleased with the result of the search, and I’m dedicated to ensuring a smooth leadership transition for our health system,” said John R. Brumsted, MD, President and CEO of the UVM Health Network, who will stay on until late November 2022.
“Dr. Eappen is an accomplished academic physician and skilled administrator, including his interim leadership of one of the premier teaching hospitals in the country,” Dr. Brumsted added. His experience will serve our patients, our communities and our people well. I’m gratified that he’s interested in coming to the UVM Health Network and helping us meet our mission.”
Prior to joining Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Eappen served as chief medical officer of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, where he led the Medical Staff Office, Patient Safety and Quality, Pharmacy and oversaw nursing leadership. He also served as associate medical director of the Controlled Risk Insurance Company (CRICO) Patient Safety Organization of Harvard Medical School and as chair of anesthesiology at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School.
Among Eappen’s extensive community service are positions on the boards of the Matty Eappen Foundation, CRICO and the New England Donor Services/New England Organ Bank.
Eappen earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; his medical degree from the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine; and an M.B.A. from the Yale University School of Management. He also previously served as chief resident in anesthesiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
(This article was adapted from a press release produced by Elliott Bent, UVM Health Network director of communications and engagement.)