NEW: Jupiter Medical Center’s new CEO is Long Island native

8:19 a.m. Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 Local
Don McKenna, new president and chief executive officer of Jupiter Medical Center (Photo/JMC)

Donald McKenna, a Long Island native who started his medical career at Palm Beach Medical Center, has been named president and chief executive officer of Jupiter Medical Center, the largest employer in the town.

McKenna, 52, is president and of St. Mary’s Health Care System in Athens, Ga., the home of the University of Georgia, since 2008. The nonprofit health care system includes three hospitals and serves 13 counties.

“My goal is to continue the growth and expansion of (JMC),” said McKenna, whose first day will be Jan. 15. “I want (JMC) to continue to be a part of the community.”

McKenna replaces John Couris, who resigned on Aug. 11 to be president and chief executive officer of Tampa General Hospital. Couris, 49, started with JMC in 2010.

Hundreds of applicants — from around the country, Europe and the Middle East — applied for the position, said Bob Stilley, chairman of the 15-member board of trustees of JMC.

McKenna’s previous ties to South Florida, his work with St. Mary’s Health Care System and his vision for medical care won him the job, Stilley said.

“(McKenna) told us ‘If you focus on quality, everything else will fall into place,’” Stilley said. “He’s a real team player. He had great quality ratings. He fits in really well with what we are.”

McKenna, who also served as chief operating officer of Wuesthoff Medical Center in Rockledge just north of Melbourne from 2003-08, said he plans to continue JMC’s efforts in fundraising. JMC has had strong growth in its health programs because of donations.

The medical center off Military Trail employs about 1,800, not including the 580 physicians.

Working with the local migrant community and continuing the expansion of urgent care centers is another goal, said McKenna. JMC recently opened its fourth urgent care center in West Palm Beach, its fourth in four years.

“The demand for access to off-site care will continue to grow and flourish,” he said.

JMC is a not-for-profit 327-bed regional medical center consisting of 207 private acute-care hospital beds and 120 long-term care, sub-acute rehabilitation and hospice beds. JMC is slightly smaller than St. Mary’s Health Care System.

McKenna served in several administrative positions with the Tenet Healthcare Corp. between 1991-2003. The hospitals include Seven Rivers Community Hospital in Santa Barbara, Calif., Northridge Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center.

The youngest of six children, McKenna and his wife Jana, a primary care physician, have two sons, Nicholas, 17, and Liam, 15. They have two dogs, Lilly and Annabelle, and two cats, Diego and Molly.

McKenna bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in public administration are from Long Island University in Brookville, N.Y.

While he enjoys golf and boating, McKenna said his real off-work passion is watching his sons play baseball. He’s been a Miami Dolphins fan since seventh grade.

“I love sports,” he said.

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