Since she joined Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) as a junior adminstrator in 1979, Marna P. Borgstrom, M.P.H. ’79, has become a vice president, the chief operating officer and, as of October 1, the CEO and president of the hospital and the Yale New Haven Health Systems (YNHHS). She succeeds Joseph A. Zaccagnino, M.P.H. ’70, who retired on September 30 after a 35-year career at the hospital.

During more than a quarter-century at the hospital she has watched it grow into the 944-bed flagship of a health system that stretches along Long Island Sound from Rye, N.Y., to Westerly, R.I. It is the hub of a New Haven health care delivery network that includes a children’s hospital, a psychiatric hospital, two independent ambulatory surgical centers, a large radiology practice and the Shoreline Medical Center in Guilford.

Working with Zaccagnino, Borgstrom oversaw the hospital’s $850 million budget and served as the primary liaison to the School of Medicine. She led the planning and construction of the children’s hospital, and headed up a patient safety program that trained 40 senior managers under General Electric’s process-improvement initiative known as Six Sigma. As the second- in-command at the hospital for more than a decade, Borgstrom helped develop YNHHS, an affiliation of several dozen organizations including YNHH and two other large hospitals, in Bridgeport and Greenwich, that encompasses their networks of physician practices, surgical centers, diagnostic facilities, rehabilitation centers, pharmacies and visiting nurses.

“We want to be the provider of choice—locally, of course, but also regionally and nationally,” she said. The hospital’s regional and national distinction, which Borgstrom intends to build on, reflects joint investments in unique clinical programs with the School of Medicine. She is looking forward to the construction of a $440 million clinical cancer center, currently awaiting approval from New Haven zoning officials, that will provide needed capacity for current and emerging clinical initiatives.

Other recent achievements of YNHHS include the creation of an emergency angioplasty program at Greenwich Hospital in collaboration with YNHH and physicians at the School of Medicine. Previously, emergency patients in Greenwich had to be transported out of town for the procedure. Now they can be treated locally, and elective angioplasty cases and cardiac surgeries will be referred from Greenwich to New Haven.

A revamped liver transplantation program that began operations in July has the potential to draw pediatric patients from the region and beyond, and many joint programs—in epilepsy, endocrine surgery and maternal-fetal medicine, to name several—already bring patients to New Haven from across the country. Borgstrom would like to see the list grow, so that more out-of-state patients come to the city for care.

Her appointment came a little more than a year after the arrival of medical school Dean Robert J. Alpern, M.D., in June 2004. Based on her work with Alpern during his first year here, Borgstrom sees “unprecedented opportunities” ahead for the hospital and medical school. Alpern called Borgstrom “an excellent choice for the job of CEO.”

Borgstrom earned her public health degree in hospital administration at Yale in 1979. She said the program gave her a footing in how to analyze and solve problems at a large health care organization, and also an appreciation for the public health challenges facing health care executives.