It was my honor to recently conduct a wide-ranging, one-on-one interview with Michael Dowling in his offices in New York City. The following is a portion of one of several articles published on the America’s Healthcare Leaders website as a result of that interview. To read this and related articles in their entirety, please visit www.americashealthcareleaders.com.
Michael Dowling has been with New York’s North Shore-LIJ since 1995, serving for two years as Senior Vice President, Hospital Services, five years as the system’s Executive Vice President and COO, and now more than ten years at the system’s helm as President and CEO. Since becoming the President and CEO in 2002, Dowling has helped North Shore-LIJ grow from a modest health system with just a handful of hospitals, to become one of the largest non-profit secular healthcare systems in the nation.
Michael Dowling rose from very humble beginnings in his native Ireland to become one of the most influential healthcare leaders in America. He has been named by Modern Healthcare Magazine as one of the “100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare” for the past six years in a row, and is currently a nominee on the final ballot for this year.
Dowling’s humble Irish roots go all the way back to the tiny mud-floor, thatched-roof cottage in County Limerick, Ireland, where he was raised as the eldest of five children – without electricity, running water, or an indoor bathroom. Dowling’s hardworking father instilled in him a strong work ethic from a very young age, and his mother nurtured in him a love for reading and a passionate inner drive to succeed.
Dowling says the best advice he ever received was from his mother, who frequently reminded him to “Never let your circumstances limit your potential.” No matter what, Dowling’s mother believed in his potential and ability to overcome the steely trap of poverty. Unlike his optimistic parents, a well-to-do neighbor from a local farm once commented to young Dowling, “Isn’t it too bad somebody like you will never go to college?” That one off-hand remark cut to Dowling’s core, stirring-up in him the stubborn conviction that he would someday prove the man wrong – he would go to college. And he did.
To continue reading the full article on the America’s Healthcare Leaders website, please click here.
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