Ohio State Names Insurance Executive To Lead Health System

Feb 20, 2019

The Ohio State University officials have named an Aetna executive as health chancellor for the Wexner Medical Center.

Dr. Harold Paz will oversee the Wexner Medical Center as Executive Vice President and Chancellor for Health Affairs at Ohio State. That includes all seven hospitals in the health system, seven health-sciences colleges, and more than 20 research institutes.

Paz led major medical programs at two large public universities, Penn State and Rutgers, in the span of 20 years.

At Penn State, Paz served as CEO of the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, senior vice president for health affairs, dean of the College of Medicine, and president/CEO of the Penn State Hershey Health System from 2006 to 2014.

He left Penn State to join Aetna, a managed health care company based in Hartford, Conn., as executive vice president and chief medical officer, providing clinical leadership for the company’s domestic and global businesses.

Paz said in a university statement that the time is right to return to academic medicine, and specifically Ohio State.

“A comprehensive flagship university like Ohio State can marshal all of its resources and intellectual prowess in fields as diverse as the health sciences, economics, social work, agricultural extension and even climate science to identify solutions,” Paz says. 

While at Rutgers University, Paz served as dean of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson University Medical Group. During his tenure, NIH funding increased by more than 88 percent, and the endowment increased by over 600 percent.

In a statement, Ohio State president Michael Drake praised Paz's work at Aetna, saying that he brought an “innovative, data-driven approach to fighting opioid abuse.”

“He also brings to the position an openness to new ways to make bold advances," Drake said. "That portfolio is a perfect fit for a medical enterprise that employs top talent and is seeing historic highs in research funding and productivity, innovative medical training, and patient-care quality and demand."

Paz will start in the spring, pending board approval.