Area health care providers name new leaders

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  • | 7:20 a.m. January 15, 2015
Margaret Brennan
Margaret Brennan
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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For the first week of the new year, two major providers of health care in West Orange County appointed new leaders of their companies.

Within a day of Community Health Centers appointing Margaret Brennan as its new president and CEO, Orlando Health gave the same positions in its hierarchy to David Strong.

Brennan formally began Jan. 12, after 12 years as division manager of Orange County Government’s Health Services and Administrator for Orange County’s Primary Care Access Network.

Strong, on the other hand, will not officially begin his new role until early April. He currently is president of Rex Healthcare in Raleigh, North Carolina — an affiliate of University of North Carolina Health Care — and chief operating officer for system affiliations at the UNC Health Care System in Chapel Hill.


Brennan applied for her new post in September and was among the final interviewees in December, when she accepted the position.

“As CEO and president, you’re really responsible for oversight of the organization as a whole, really making sure the mission and services are being fulfilled,” Brennan said. “Community Health Centers has a large footprint in Winter Garden. They have a large clinic on Colonial Drive; they also have administrative offices there. They want a presence long-term in Winter Garden with the community, as well as other sites in Orange and Lake counties, continuing to expand healthcare to those who need it most, both underinsured and those who have insurance.”

In her previous line of work, Brennan became familiar with Community Health Centers by overseeing relations between it and Orange County government, she said.

“At the beginning of that initiative, I began to know Community Health Centers as a strong community partner, so I knew the organization as something I wanted to be part of,” she said. “It’s a strong, patient-centered organization. I worked closely with them and their health care services. It’s a privilege for me.”

Brennan said she has been a registered nurse and has worked in healthcare since the 1980s. She also has been a chair of faculty at the University of Phoenix as an instructor in health care, and her master’s degree is in strategic leadership and business management.

She emigrated from Germany at a young age, lived in New Jersey for a while and then lived most of her young-adult life in upstate New York, she said.

“I relocated here — the climate of course attracts everyone,” she said. “I worked with Florida hospitals and then just stayed in the community.”

In this role, Brennan plans to continue expanding healthcare services and patient-service standards, to grow the practice and be a strong community partner, she said.


Strong has more than 20 years of health care management experience in a career that began at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he served as vice president of operations and ambulatory care and executive vice president.

In 2000, he joined Mercy Health Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, as COO. Under his leadership, the hospital opened urgent care centers and primary care practices, expanded and renovated patient units and opened the Oklahoma Heart Hospital, a 78-bed joint ventured heart hospital.

In 2004, Strong became president of Rex Healthcare. During his time there, it became a Modern Healthcare “Best Place to Work,” a Thomson-Reuters Top 100 Hospital and a Thomson-Reuters Quality Improvement Leader.

“David is a leader who has successfully guided several organizations through the rapidly and continually changing healthcare environment,” said Dianna Morgan, chairman of the board of directors for Orlando Health. “He has the unanimous support of the Orlando Health board of directors and key executives involved in the selection process.”

In November 2011, Strong became COO for system affiliations at the UNC Health Care System. In this position, Strong is responsible for seven community hospitals, including almost 2,000 licensed hospitals beds, ambulatory and post-acute facilities, physician practices and joint ventures. He also formed Rex Health Ventures, one of few venture capital investment funds in the nation begun by a local, non-profit hospital, driving health care innovation, service, care and efficiency.

In his new role, Strong will guide eight wholly owned or partner hospitals; Orlando Health Physician Group and Physician Associates, two of the biggest multi-specialty practices in Central Florida; ownership in an outpatient surgery location; and an auxiliary interest in five outpatient imaging facilities.

“I look forward to working closely with physicians, team members and the board to ensure Orlando Health’s continued success,” Strong said. 

Strong attained his master’s degree in of hospital and health administration degree from Xavier University.

Contact Zak Kerr at [email protected].


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