TUCSON, Ariz., September 18, 2012 — R. Rodney Howell, M.D., chairman of the Board of Directors of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, today announced that Steven M. Derks has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association after a nationwide search.
"Steve brings with him a passion for making a difference to patients and families, as well as a broad range of executive leadership skills in nonprofit health care and policy management," said Howell. "Steve will certainly help propel MDA to new levels of success."
Derks, a leading executive in health-care-related nonprofit organizations, is currently CEO of the American Cancer Society, Illinois Division. During his tenure there, Derks led the organization to substantially expand patient services with the creation of the Patient Navigation Services program, and initiated and grew funding for research programs.
"I’m proud and honored to have been chosen to lead one of the most respected health care organizations in the country," said Derks. "MDA’s commitment to fighting muscle diseases is unmatched, and I look forward to working collaboratively with our dedicated Board, donors, volunteers and team of employees to continue to elevate the important work of the Association."
He added, "Individuals and families impacted by these diseases will remain MDA’s top priority."
In addition to funding some 300 research projects worldwide, MDA maintains a national network of 200 medical clinics; facilitates support groups for families affected by any of more than 40 neuromuscular diseases; and provides local summer camp opportunities for thousands of youngsters fighting progressive muscle diseases.
About Steven M. Derks
A member of the American Cancer Society national executive team, Derks has been recognized as a creative and energetic leader and many of his initiatives have been adopted nationwide by the American Cancer Society.
He joined the American Cancer Society in 2002, and founded the organization’s CEOs Against Cancer public education and fundraising program. The program today includes nearly 100 CEOs in Illinois, empowering 5 million employees and dependents with lifesaving prevention, early detection and cancer information. It also has grown to 400 CEOs nationwide in 14 chapters.
Prior to his work there, Derks was vice president of Advocate Health Care in Oak Brook, Ill., a $3 billion health care delivery network with 10 hospitals and 200 sites of care, serving more than 2 million people per year. There he was responsible for federal, state and local government relations, metropolitan community relations, facilities planning, community benefit strategy and spending. Earlier in his career he was a senior director of the Illinois Hospital Association.
Derks has been active in many community organizations including Horizons for Youth and the Respite Board of Directors. He was appointed by the governor of Illinois to serve on the Illinois Board of Health from 2002 to 2008.
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to finding treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education.
Editor’s note: To learn more, read Steven Derks’ introductory Keeping in Touch column in the Winter 2013 issue of Quest magazine.