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Mary Brainerd

President and Chief Executive Officer

Mary Brainerd is president and chief executive officer for Minnesota-based HealthPartners, the largest, consumer-governed, nonprofit health care organization in the nation. Under her leadership and direction, HealthPartners has experienced record growth and is often recognized as a national leader in the health care industry.

In her role, Brainerd oversees more than 12,000 employees in the HealthPartners integrated system, which includes a care delivery system with more than 800 physicians at nearly 70 primary, specialty and urgent care clinics, four hospitals, a large dental practice, a 1.36 million members in top-rated medical and dental health plans, a large research foundation and an Institute for Medical Education.

Brainerd has been with HealthPartners since 1992. Since that time, the organization has received numerous accolades for outstanding patient care, health plan service and its charitable community work. Some of the most notable awards include:
  • Top 25 in nation. Ranked in the top 25 in 2011, and in the top 50 for seven consecutive years by U.S. News & World Reports/NCQA America's Best Health Plans (2005-2011)
  • National benchmark. HealthPartners is among the national leaders in 11 of 14 surveyed areas of health care by the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH).
  • Highest member rating. HealthPartners has the highest overall member rating of any health plan in Minnesota by Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS).
  • Top rated health plan. HealthPartners receives “excellent” ratings from National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for its commercial and Medicare health plans
  • Excellent accreditation. HealthPartners ranks first on NCQA’s health plans in the state on health plan rankings for the seventh consecutive year. HealthPartners also ranked top 25 nationally.
  • Best place to work. Minneapolis/St. Paul Journal Best Places to Work (2011)Twin Cities Business Journal Great Places to Work (2007), Modern Healthcare Magazine Best Places to Work in Healthcare (2008), Star Tribune Top Workplace (2010).
  • Award winning program. The National Business Coalition on Health 2008 eValue8 Health Plan Innovation Award to improve quality and safety of high-tech imaging.
  • Award winning heart care. For the second year in a row, Regions Hospital was named one of the nations top 100 hospitals for cardiovascular care by Thomson Reuters (2008, 2007)
  • Top-rated quality care. The National Quality Forum granted HealthPartners the 2007 National Quality Healthcare Award
  • Leadership in Diversity Award. The National Association of Corporate Directors honored HealthPartners for having a diverse board of directors
In addition, Brainerd is often cited for her strong business acumen and unwavering commitment to the community. Honors include receiving the Shotwell Award for leadership in health care (2012), the Caux Roundtable Award for outstanding citizenship (2012), induction into the Twin Cities Business Hall of Fame (2011), induction into the Junior Achievement of the Upper Midwest’s Business Hall of Fame (2010), the KPMG Role Model for the Advancement of Women as Business and Community Leaders Award (2008); Executive of the Year (2007) and Most Influential Women in Business (1999, 2002) by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal; the Medal of Distinction from the College of St. Catherine; and the University of St. Thomas Award for Ethical Leadership (2002). She was recognized as one of the top 25 women in health care by Modern Healthcare (2005); and has received the Jean Harris Award from the Women’s Health Leadership Trust (2005); and Century College’s Women of Distinction Award (2006).

Prior to joining HealthPartners, Brainerd held senior level positions with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, including senior vice president and chief marketing officer. She was also senior vice president and chief executive officer of Blue Plus. Before that, she was a marketing instructor in the graduate program at Metropolitan State University.

She holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas, and a bachelor-of-arts degree from the University of Minnesota. Brainerd grew up in St. Paul and has been actively involved in the Twin Cities community for several years. She is one of the founding CEOs of the Itasca Project, a group of 40 government, civic and business leaders addressing the issues that impact long-term economic growth, including jobs, education, transportation, and economic disparities. She also serves on the boards of Minnesota Life/Securian, Minnesota Council of Health Plans, The St. Paul Foundation, Minneapolis Federal Reserve, and SurModics.