University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health (UM UCH) President and Chief Executive Officer, Lyle E. Sheldon, FACHE, has announced he will retire in December 2021, after 34 years with the health system, including 26 as its executive leader.
A native New Yorker, Sheldon joined UM UCH in 1987 as Senior Vice President/Chief Operating Officer for Fallston General Hospital. In 1995, Sheldon moved into the role of President/Chief Executive Officer for Upper Chesapeake Health System, which included Fallston General Hospital, Harford Memorial Hospital, Upper Chesapeake Home Care, Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation, Upper Chesapeake Management Services Organization and Landmark Medical Group (an employed physician group).
In 2000, under Sheldon’s leadership, Fallston General Hospital transitioned care to a new modern medical campus, Upper Chesapeake Medical Center (UCMC) in Bel Air. At that time, UCH included two acute care hospitals; UCMC with 183 acute care beds and Harford Memorial Hospital, an 84-bed acute care hospital in Havre de Grace caring for the community for almost a century, as well as Upper Chesapeake Medical Services, Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation and HealthLink Community Health Programs.
In 2008, Sheldon pursued a joint venture agreement with the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), culminating in a full merger in 2013, which allowed for additional health care services to be available locally for Harford County residents. An example is the Patricia D. and M. Scot Kaufman Cancer Center, which brought academic state-of-the-art cancer care to the region by collaborating with the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center. Another unique service offering developed under Sheldon’s leadership is the Senator Bob Hooper House, an assisted living facility specializing in hospice care, which opened in 2011, supported by $5 million of philanthropic support.
Sheldon also led the innovative public/private partnership work that resulted in the 2019 opening of the Klein Family Harford Crisis Center in Bel Air. With the shared resources from Harford County Government, Harford County Health Department, Office on Mental Health and Healthy Harford/Healthy Cecil, the crisis center provides behavioral health and addiction services to adults. It is the first-of-its-kind center in Maryland to focus on the common dual-diagnosis of mental illness and addiction.
Sheldon and his leadership team partnered with the Harford County community seeking philanthropic support for the Kaufman Cancer Center, raising over $19 million. Since the move to the Bel Air campus, philanthropy became a key component to UM UCH’s strategic priorities. To date, Sheldon and team have raised $17.3 million toward a $20 million goal for the “Your Health. Our Mission. Caring for our Families Together” campaign. Key areas of focus include strengthening services through integrated programs and technology and continuing to improve access and coordination of mental health services throughout the region.
“Servant leader is the best way to describe my leadership style,” Sheldon said. “I am fortunate to work with colleagues both at UM UCH and UMMS, as well as a deeply committed community board, an engaged medical staff, volunteers and a service-oriented passionate group of team members. This entire team are experts in their respective fields, and their talent and dedication has allowed such tremendous growth over the years. Who could ask for more? I am proud and humbled that, together, we were able to accomplish so much for our community.”
Over the last decade, Sheldon’s vision turned toward reshaping the delivery of health care for the residents of northeastern Maryland. This transformation of the traditional model for health care services required community care providers and hospital partnerships to coordinate care, to increase access to specialty care closer to home and improve innovative ideas and technology to allow broader and more convenient access. More than facility planning, Sheldon knew that proactive treatment and screening, especially for chronic disease management, was key to UM UCH’s mission of creating the healthiest community in Maryland. Sheldon faced many challenges with his plans for building a new modern medical campus to replace the aging University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital and expand services on the Bel Air campus. Today, the clinical planning and construction are well underway.
“Lyle’s legacy will not be bricks and mortar; it will be his selfless and enthusiastic devotion to people,” said Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer of UMMS. “Lyle has been a devoted advocate for the needs in his community and his limitless energy could be seen among Harford County leaders, state officials in Annapolis and among his colleagues at the System, right up to the UMMS boardroom. I congratulate Lyle on his retirement and thank him for his exceptional service during a long and very distinguished career.”
“Lyle Sheldon is a community-minded man of faith who truly wants the best for his family, friends and neighbors,” said Bryan Kelly, UM UCH board chair. “He has dedicated his career to improving the health of his community in a very real and impactful way. I am grateful to him for his service and his friendship.”
Under Sheldon’s leadership, UM UCH has not only greatly expanded its health care services, but has implemented programs to improve quality, safety, efficiency and compassionate care across the service line areas both inside the hospitals and in outpatient settings.
The Maryland Patient Safety Center, the American Heart Association, Joint Commission, Delmarva Foundation American Association of Critical Care Nurses and the American Cancer Society have all recognized both UM Upper Chesapeake Medical Center and UM Harford Memorial Hospital for its patient safety and quality efforts.
UMMS and the UM UCH Board of Directors will begin a selection process to identify a new President and CEO for UM UCH.
About University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health
University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health includes the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center and the Patricia D. and M. Scot Kaufman Cancer Center on its Bel Air campus. Most recently, it opened The Klein Family Harford Crisis Center in Bel Air offering services for behavioral health. The Senator Bob Hooper House in Forest Hill is an assisted living facility that specializes in hospice. The University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital has been operating in the community for over a century and is located in Havre de Grace. The leading health care system and largest private employer in Harford County, UM Upper Chesapeake Health offers a broad range of health care services, specialty care, technology and facilities to the residents of northeastern Maryland. Visit www.umuch.org for more information.