Executive Leadership Team at Group Health

Group Health's Executive Leadership Team provides senior leadership at Group Health. Their responsibilities include setting long-term strategy, monitoring performance and overseeing day-to-day functions.

Scott Armstrong

President and chief executive officer
Group Health Cooperative

Scott ArmstrongScott Armstrong is president and CEO of Group Health Cooperative, one of the nation's largest consumer-governed health care systems. He has been with Group Health since 1986 in positions ranging from assistant hospital administrator to chief operating officer. He became president and CEO in January 2005.

Armstrong has nearly 30 years of experience in health care. He joined Group Health from Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, where he was the assistant vice president for hospital operations.

He received a bachelor's degree from Hamilton College in New York and a master's degree in business with a concentration in hospital administration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Armstrong is a commissioner of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, board member of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, and a board member of America's Health Insurance Plans. He is also a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Michael Soman, MD

President and chief medical executive
Group Health Physicians

Michael Soman, MDMichael Soman, MD, leads Group Health Physicians, a professional corporation of 1,350 physicians and clinicians who provide and manage medical services for Group Health Cooperative. He continues to serve as the executive medical director of the Group Practice Division, overseeing the care of nearly 400,000 patients in Group Health-operated medical facilities.

Dr. Soman has been with Group Health since 1984. He practiced as a family physician for 17 years, and was a primary care clinic chief for 14 years. He has served as the executive medical director for the Group Health Puget Sound Region, and before that as the medical director for Primary Care, overseeing all primary care facilities.

Dr. Soman earned his medical degree from University of California, Davis in 1978. He has been a volunteer teacher for Bainbridge Island schools, a soccer coach, and was a longtime member of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Chris Knackstedt

Executive vice president and chief financial officer

Chris KnackstedtChris Knackstedt is executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO). He is responsible for all aspects of finance at Group Health Cooperative.

Prior to joining Group Health, Knackstedt served as CFO for MultiCare Health System, a nonprofit integrated health care system spanning four counties in the South Puget Sound area of Washington state. He has also served as CFO at health organizations that include Mercy Health, Centura Health/St. Anthony Health System, and Sierra Providence Health Network. In addition, he has worked on the insurance side of health care with Great-West Life and Annuity, Healthcare Division. His accomplishments included strengthening network development and management across multiple regions, improving service, processing, analytics, and financial performance.

Knackstedt holds an MBA from the University of Texas at El Paso, and a bachelor’s degree in accountancy with a minor in economics from New Mexico State University. He is a CPA.

Dawn Loeliger, JD

Executive vice president
Strategic Planning & Deployment

Dawn LoeligerDawn Loeliger provides executive leadership for strategic planning, strategic business development, Lean consultancy, enterprise project management, and capital and facility planning.

Loeliger has nearly 30 years of leadership experience. Since joining Group Health in 2011, she has served as executive director, Marketing Operations and Innovation; and executive director, Business Management. One of her accomplishments in 2013 was to co-lead the Cost Repositioning Team, where she demonstrated her ability to oversee the implementation of challenging, controversial initiatives across the organization. She has also worked as a senior vice president at Hitachi Consulting, overseeing the global Microsoft account; and held leadership positions with Microsoft, MyPoints.com, and M/A/R/C Inc.

Loeliger has a juris doctorate with honors from Southern Methodist University. She earned a masters in marketing research and a bachelor's in English — graduating magna cum laude — from the Universty of Georgia.

Robert O'Brien

Executive vice president
Health Plan Division

Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien is responsible for Group Health's market analysis, new product development, health plan marketing and sales, care-network management, and health plan administration and operations. O'Brien was previously with Mercer, a global consulting subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Cos. He led Mercer's health and benefits consulting business and advised the Care-Focused Purchasing Governance Committee, an employer-led effort to accelerate cost-and-quality transformation of the nation's health care system. O'Brien has also served as an adjunct professor at Lewis and Clark College's Northwestern School of Law.

O'Brien holds a bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard University and a law degree from the University of Maine School of Law. He is an active member of the Oregon Bar, the American Bar Association, and the American Health Lawyers Association. He also is a member of the board of directors at the Puget Sound Health Alliance and the Seattle Sports Commission.

Paul Sherman, MD

Executive medical director
Health Plan Division

Medical director
Care Systems Development
Group Health Physicians

Paul Sherman, MDPaul Sherman, MD, leads the process of optimizing Group Health's health plan and care-delivery capabilities. He began clinical practice at Group Health in 1992, and his previous roles include associate medical director of Strategy Deployment, medical director of Consultative Specialty Services, Seattle district medical director, and chief of Pediatrics.

Dr. Sherman is a board-certified pediatrician. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame and his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Sherman completed internship and residency at Seattle Children's and obtained his master's degree in health administration at the University of Washington. He currently serves on the board of Giddens School and as board president of Seattle Counseling Service.

Mark Szalwinski

Executive vice president
Group Practice

Mark SzalwinskiMark Szalwinski is responsible for care provided to nearly 400,000 members at Group Health Medical Centers. In addition, he oversees one of the region's largest pharmacy systems, lab and radiology operations, occupational health programs, behavioral health services, and is responsible for care delivery information technology and organizational quality.

Szalwinski was previously a corporate vice president at Virginia-based Sentara Healthcare, where he led three hospitals and multiple ambulatory sites, and coordinated a regional physician strategy with Sentara Medical Group. After early career pursuits as a high school science teacher and basketball coach, Szalwinski earned a bachelor's degree in pharmacy, graduating summa cum laude from the Medical College of Virginia (MCV). He earned a master's degree in health administration from MCV in 1990, and is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Stephen Tarnoff, MD

Executive medical director
Group Practice Division

Stephen Tarnoff, MDStephen Tarnoff, MD, is executive medical director of Group Health Medical Centers, overseeing the care of nearly 400,000 patients who are served in Group Health Cooperative's 25 owned and operated facilities.

Dr. Tarnoff has been with Group Health since 1981, practicing as a family physician for more than 25 years. He has held numerous leadership roles in Primary Care, Consultative Specialty Services, and as medical director for the Group Practice Division. Before his current role, he was medical director for Medicare and Medicaid, and acting medical director for Group Health's Western Washington contracted network. 

Dr. Tarnoff graduated from University of California, Berkeley, and earned his medical degree from the University of Southern California School of Medicine. He completed his residency at the University of Washington and a fellowship in medical education and health policy at the Association of American Medical Colleges. He is board certified in family medicine and a member of the Washington Academy of Family Physicians and the Washington State Medical Association. He serves on the board of the Northwest Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Rick Woods

Executive vice president and
chief legal officer

Rick WoodsRick Woods directs Corporate Services, which includes Enterprise Risk and Governance, Public Affairs, Information Technology, and Administrative Services. His responsibilities encompass legal, privacy, compliance, audit, risk management, public policy and government relations, corporate communications and external relations, IT data services and operations, enterprise information management and analytics, facilities administration and operations, and supply chain.

Woods has been with Group Health since 1988, serving on the executive leadership team since 1997. Before moving to the position of chief legal officer, he was general counsel from 1997-2012. Prior to working for Group Health, Woods served as assistant attorney general for the State of Washington. Woods holds a law degree from the University of Idaho and a bachelor's degree in economics from Oregon State University. He is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association and Washington State Society of Healthcare Attorneys.

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