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AzHHA announces new additions to its Board of Directors

Anthony Santiago, MD, CEO of Gila River Healthcare and Jeff Christensen, Area CEO of Encompass Health Tucson have been approved to serve on the 2022 AzHHA Board.


 For Immediate Release │ October 28, 2021

Media Contact: Holly Ward │602-445-4327 │[email protected]


PHOENIX — The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) Board of Directors approves two new healthcare executives to serve on its Board and confirms its roster for 2022.

The current 19-member board represents hospitals and healthcare partners across Arizona and has authority over the governance and management of AzHHA. As a resourceful, influential and diverse hospital association, AzHHA works tirelessly to advance healthcare public policy and to implement programs that promote better healthcare for Arizonans.

Two new healthcare executives were invited to join the AzHHA Board of Directors on Friday:

Anthony Santiago, MD, Gila River Health Care Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Dr. Santiago joined the Gila River Health Care (GRHC) as the Chief Medical Officer in April 2019 and assumed the CEO role in March 2020. He is a nationally-recognized expert in neurodegenerative disorders; an active investigator for industry-sponsored and publicly-funded research – with more than 80 funded clinical trials and translational research projects; author of numerous peer‐reviewed journal articles and book chapters; and an award-winning educator in the clinical neurosciences. As the CEO of GRHC, in partnership with its Board of Directors and the leadership of the Gila River Indian Community, their response to COVID-19 has been recognized as highly innovative by tribal, state and federal partners.

Jeff Christensen, Encompass Health Tucson Area Chief Executive Officer

Christensen brings more than 30 years of healthcare experience as the area CEO to both Encompass Health Rehabilitation Institute of Tucson (RIT) and Encompass Health Rehabilitation Institute of Northwest Tucson. Originally from New York, Christensen relocated with his family to Tucson from Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was CEO at Carolinas Specialty Hospital. He received a master’s degree in business administration from Texas A&M at Corpus Christi and a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, in Brooklyn.

Santiago and Christensen will serve a three-year term on the AzHHA Board of Directors. Their tenure will begin at the next board meeting in December 2021.

In a unanimous vote, the Board confirmed sitting Chair, John Amos, President and CEO of Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center, to serve a second year in his role. The Board also extended the terms of Neal Jensen, CEO of Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center as Secretary/Treasurer and Michael Patterson, Market President-Arizona and CEO of Havasu Regional Medical Center, Immediate-Past Chair of AzHHA for an additional year.

“While we welcome new faces, we say goodbye with gratitude to Beth Bacher who is rotating off the board after 8-years of service,” said John Amos, AzHHA Board Chair. “As Chair of the post-acute care constituency group, Beth passionately led an education project to help healthcare providers get patients to the right level of post-acute care so those patients can get back to - as close as possible - their functional living.” 

“It’s been a pleasure serving with everyone,” said Bacher during Friday’s meeting. “When I started, I had a question on where I would fit serving in a post-acute world. But this experience serving among some truly dedicated healthcare professionals has allowed us to improve patient care in that setting and I look forward to seeing that progress continue.”

The 2022 AzHHA Executive Committee includes:

John Amos, Chair

Mike Patterson, Immediate Past Chair

Neal Jensen, Secretary/Treasurer

Ann-Marie Alameddin, President

Jeff Christensen, Chair, Post-Acute Care Constituency Group

Bob Trenschel, D.O., Chair, Regional Community Health Systems Constituency Group

Bruce Waldo, Chair, Behavioral Health Hospitals Constituency Group

Roland Knox, Chair, Small Rural Hospitals Constituency Group


A full list of the AzHHA Board of Directors may be found on its website

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About the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association

AzHHA is the association giving Arizona hospitals a voice to collectively build better healthcare and health for Arizonans. As the champion for healthcare leadership in Arizona, AzHHA and its member hospitals explore ideas and take collaborative action at the state capitol, in hospitals and at home to attain the best healthcare outcomes for our community. Above all else, we put people and patients first through Better Care, Better Health and Lower Costs. Visit for more information.