Visionary Leader and Life-Long Donor: Austin Ross Sr.

Visionary leadership is essential to delivering remarkable healthcare. Fortunately, Virginia Mason has attracted and developed outstanding leaders throughout its 98-year history. One of those leaders is nationally acclaimed healthcare expert Austin Ross, Sr., who retired as Virginia Mason’s head administrator in 1991 after nearly 37 years of service. He has received many prestigious awards including being inducted into the Healthcare Hall of Fame.

Because of his deep commitment and love for the organization and its team members, Austin is a life-long supporter and donor. “I arrived at Virginia Mason in 1955 as an administrative resident and retired as its Executive Administrator and Vice president after nearly 37 years of employment,” says Austin. “I have always been emotionally tied to what I consider to be the finest health care anywhere. The privilege I had to learn under magnificent leaders tied me permanently to Virginia Mason.”

High Value on Being the Best

“These leaders and staff members created a cultural rarity,” Austin emphasizes. “They cared especially about their patients and provided them with the highest of quality care. The leaders today are offspring of those early leaders and they carry on in placing high value on working to be the very best.”

During his career at Virginia Mason, Austin worked to help integrate the clinic, hospital and research center into one entity under the Virginia Mason Health System, allowing care to be provided more seamlessly. He also encouraged growth at the Benaroya Research Center at Virginia Mason and helped launch Bailey-Boushay House by having Virginia Mason operate the facility. He gives generously to all three institutions.

Incredible Service to the Community

“I’m proud of the internationally recognized research of Benaroya Research Institute and the sensitive caring and services of the Bailey-Boushay House for people with AIDS. They are examples of incredible services to the community and elsewhere. To initiate these and other programs required institutional and financial courage. I remember those days with great fondness though at times it was frustrating.”

Austin is also gratified with the work of Virginia Mason. “The variety of services developed over the years and expanded so diligently today under the Virginia Mason Boards and the leadership of Dr. Gary Kaplan and his team are very impressive,” he says, “The new Virginia Mason Institute programs, offering consulting services to health care providers worldwide to improve quality and reduce waste, is a beacon of hope for the future, not only for Virginia Mason but for hospital and care providers nationally and internationally.”

Gratitude for Their Care

Austin and his family also give in thanks for the care they have received. They have also included Virginia Mason in their will. “Annette, my spouse of 67 years, and I have received outstanding medical care from Virginia Mason for many of our years and that made it a second nature to financially help support Virginia Mason. I am a prostate cancer survivor and Annette’s heart problems were resolved with great effectiveness. Providing a dedicated gift in my will to Virginia Mason was a natural move for the Ross family. We feel grateful to be able to do that.”

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