The longtime chief executive of Maine’s second-largest health care system is stepping down to take a post with the American Hospital Association.

Michelle Hood, president and CEO of Northern Light Health, is leaving to become chief operating officer and executive vice president of the national hospital trade association. She has been a member of the AHA board for three years.

Michelle Hood, president and CEO of Northern Light Health Bernard Littlefield

In a news release announcing her departure, Hood said she is leaving with mixed emotions.

“While the position at AHA is an honor and I am energized to begin this work, I have been so privileged to spend the last 13.5 years of my career with Northern Light Health,” she said. “I have had the honor of working with so many talented and dedicated people at all levels of the organization. My time here has truly been an experience I will always treasure.”

Barry McCrum, chair of the Northern Light Health board, said a search committee will be appointed to oversee a process for leadership transition. While Hood is expected to join the AHA next year, an official departure date has not been established.

Based in Brewer, Northern Light Health employs more than 12,000 people in Maine and is comprised of a network of hospitals and health care facilities. Under Hood’s tenure, Northern Light Health grew by adding Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital in Ellsworth and Northern Light Mercy Hospital in Portland, and Northern Light Pharmacy.

“Michelle is a collaborative leader who always put the best interests of Maine communities first,” said Charlie Therrien, chief executive of Northern Light Mercy. “Her focus on improving the health care delivery system and increasing access to care have made a significant difference in the lives of those we serve. I know the partnerships and enduring relationships that she has built across health care in Maine and beyond will continue to benefit our patients for many years to come.”

The nonprofit AHA is the national advocate for its nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members.

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