Originally published in Modern Healthcare.

By Andis Robeznieks

Delvecchio Finley built an impressive track record long before he took over this year at public health system Alameda Health in Oakland, Calif.

Finley opened people’s eyes as a young CEO at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, a Los Angeles County hospital, which had just received dismal results in a CMS survey.

ASPIRATIONS   To lead Alameda Health to become the most trusted partner in our community.
LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHY   I truly see leadership first and foremost as a service.
SOMETHING SURPRISING   I am an introvert at my core.

“My first or second week there, I got the kind of letter you never want to get,” Finley said. “We were deemed noncompliant.”

He said the turnaround was already underway, but it was up to him to “marshal the team over the finish line.”

Finley grew up in an Atlanta housing project. The beginning of his healthcare career was just as humble. While in college, he worked as a parking attendant at Piedmont Hospital. After that, he was a medical records file clerk and then an emergency room registrar—like the Jerry and Frank characters in the “ER” television show. “Only I wasn’t as charismatic,” he joked.

That was followed by work as an intensive-care-unit technician and then, after earning his master’s degree in public policy from Duke University, a job as an associate administrator with the San Francisco Public Health Department.

“He’s chosen to work in public hospitals, but he could work anywhere,” said Jessie Tucker III, executive vice president and administrator at Houston’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital, who nominated Finley. “I wouldn’t put any limits on his future.”

Edited on June 25, 2018.