Sister Susanne Hartung, SP, chief mission integration officer for Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH) was honored with the Health Care Leadership Inspiration Award by Puget Sound Business Journal (PSBJ) on Dec. 6, 2019, during a luncheon event at The Westin Bellevue.

Sister Susanne Hartung, SP, portrait
Sister Susanne Hartung, SP

The award was presented at PSBJ’s inaugural Health Care Leadership Awards ceremony, a celebration of outstanding leaders in health care from around the Puget Sound area. Sister Susanne was one of 15 honorees recognized as an innovative and influential thinker, on the front lines of the health care industry, whose leadership has had a lasting impact on the region. She used the opportunity to challenge the Puget Sound community to harness the spirit of innovation that we are known for to address the homelessness crisis.

Having recently celebrated her 60 year jubilee as a Sister of Providence, Sister Susanne’s fundamental belief is: To know the poor, you have to serve the poor. In her role at PSJH, she is responsible for integrating the Mission and core values into the everyday work and culture for more than 12,000 shared services caregivers (employees) from across the organization in seven states. She also serves on executive teams that are responsible for administrative initiatives. Sister Susanne is bold in her approach to ensure that the Mission ― to serve the poor and vulnerable ― is first and foremost in every decision at the system level.

In 2012, Sister Susanne served as the executive sponsor to conduct a community needs assessment for Providence’s system offices based in Renton, Wash. Grounded in the assessment’s data, Sister Susanne has been passionate about building strong relationships with six community agency partners to foster the success of the Mission Ambassador program she founded at Providence. Over the years, this program has encouraged hundreds of Providence employees to go out into the community each week during business hours to serve the homeless and those most in need.

Nine Sisters of Providence stand in a row.
Sister Susanne Hartung, SP, (third from left) surrounded by Sisters of Providence at the awards ceremony Dec. 6, 2019

Her efforts in the community have been recognized by Mothers Against Violence in America with the Community Catalyst award, the Joseph A. Maguire, SJ, Distinguished Community Service Award, and the Fort Vancouver National Trust Award for her efforts to preserve the Providence Academy built in 1873 by Mother Joseph of the Sacred Heart, foundress of Sisters of Providence in the West.

Sister Susanne’s service on numerous boards and committees includes Providence Health & Services, Providence Services, Providence Eastern Washington, Sarcoma Foundation of Children’s Hospital, Matt Talbot Board for the Homeless, Washington Health Foundation (WHF) Board, WHF Health Advisory Board, St. James Cathedral Development Committee, Ethics Committee for the Western Catholic Systems, Public Health Committee on Disparity in Healthcare, King County programs to advance health care for the uninsured, and Washington State Hospital Association Legislative Advisory Committee.

Prior to entering health care, Sister Susanne spent 25 years in the education ministry as a teacher, counselor and administrator. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social sciences and a master’s degree in psychology. She has also done master’s work in history, advanced studies in theology and doctoral studies in business, and social and medical ethics at the University of Louvain, Belgium. Her love for healthcare and education is rooted in her knowledge that the opportunity to serve and teach others is perhaps the greatest gift we can give to humanity.