In his current role, Peterson oversees the health system’s six hospitals: The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital, Suburban Hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
He also serves as chair of Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, which has more than 39 primary and specialty care outpatient sites throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia.
He is also director of Johns Hopkins HealthCare, Johns Hopkins Home Care Group and Johns Hopkins Medicine International.
The organization has not named his successor.
In an industry now accustomed to a revolving door of healthcare executives, Peterson is a rarity. He actually began his association with Johns Hopkins 50 years ago as an undergraduate student at Johns Hopkins University.
"In the life of an institution, there are leaders who leave such a deep and distinctive imprint that their influence spans well beyond the bounds of their career," Paul B. Rothman, dean of the medical faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, wrote in an announcement about Peterson’s retirement to employees. "Beyond any question, Ron has been instrumental to the success of this organization, and I have a profound appreciation for all of his contributions."
After he completed his administrative residency, Peterson began his career at the Baltimore nonprofit academic medical center in 1974 as an administrator in the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry. He held several positions, the organization said, before taking over as administrator of the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
His ability to manage financially troubled organizations earned him the nickname “fiscal surgeon,” according to Johns Hopkins’ publication, The Hub. Indeed, his bio on the organization’s website describes his work as executive director of the former Baltimore City Hospital, which was mired in debt when it came under contract between the city and The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Peterson directed a $100 million physical redevelopment program and turned a $7 million a year loss under city ownership into a positive bottom line. The medical center, now known as Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, became part of the system in 1984, the same year Peterson was named president. He served in that position until 1999, even after he became president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Among his achievements: Peterson was involved in the acquisition of the former U.S. Public Health Service Hospital, Wyman Park. The Hub notes this led to the establishment of the U.S Family Health Plan and Johns Hopkins' primary care organization, now known as Johns Hopkins Community Physicians.
Peterson became the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the health system in 1995. A year later, he was officially named president of The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System.
During his tenure as president of Johns Hopkins Hospital, he oversaw the opening of a new comprehensive cancer center and undertook one of the most expansive private building campaigns in Maryland history, culminating in two new state-of-the-art hospital towers for adult and pediatric patients.
"Ron Peterson's leadership resonates across Johns Hopkins and across this city," Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels told The Hub. "His leadership is driven by exceptional humanity, and inspires both respect and affection wherever he goes. And, of course, as he is a Johns Hopkins alumnus, we are proud that he is—and will remain—a member of the Johns Hopkins family."
As president emeritus of the Johns Hopkins Health System, Peterson will serve for at least one year as special adviser to the dean of the medical faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine.