The Joint Commission announced three appointments to its executive leadership team: Jean Courtney, CPA, MBA, has been named executive vice president and chief operating officer; Ken Grubbs, DNP, MBA, RN, has been named executive vice president, Accreditation and Certification Operations (ACO), and chief nursing officer; and Paul Gerrard has been named executive vice president, and chief brand and communications officer. Courtney’s appointment is effective immediately and Grubbs and Gerrard’s appointments are effective June 1, 2023. All three individuals will report to Joint Commission President and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan B. Perlin, MD, PhD, MSHA, MACP, FACMI. 

“As we at The Joint Commission modernize our approach to advancing safety and quality while remaining steadfast in our vision – that all people always experience the safest, highest quality, best-value healthcare across all settings – we are excited to promote from within, as well as welcome two progressive new leaders,” says Dr Perlin. “The skills Jean, Ken, and Paul bring will help us advance in combining time-tested survey methods with data-science to drive improvement and demonstrate value in healthcare in the United States and internationally.”

Jean Courtney, executive vice president and chief operating officer

Courtney has more than 30 years of healthcare, financial, strategic, and operational management experience. She most recently served as the interim president and chief executive officer for Joint Commission Resources (JCR) and Joint Commission International (JCI). She also was chief of staff and chief financial officer for JCR and JCI. 

Prior to The Joint Commission enterprise, Courtney was a senior manager in healthcare consulting for Ernst & Young, Chicago, and a finance projects manager and senior internal auditor for Henry Ford Health System, Detroit. Courtney earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, East Lansing. She is a certified public accountant and a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives. 

In her new role, Courtney will oversee enterprise operations, the implementation of strategic initiatives, domestic and international business development, and JCR and JCI products and services.

Ken Grubbs, executive vice president, ACO, and chief nursing officer

Dr Grubbs currently serves as vice president, Regulatory and Accreditation Services, for HCA Healthcare, Nashville. He supports all HCA Healthcare facilities by providing leadership for clinical regulatory compliance and consulting, as well as support services for continual survey readiness. By developing clinical performance improvement, quality management and risk mitigation programs, he has helped lead HCA Healthcare to benchmark clinical performance in numerous areas.  

Grubbs’ previous experience also includes a role at the National Patient Safety Foundation where he co-developed many patient safety tools and resources. He began his career in healthcare as an emergency department nurse and held various leadership positions with a focus on emergency and medical/surgical intensive care services. He has served on several advisory councils, including The Joint Commission’s Hospital Corporate Systems Liaison Council. Grubbs earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. He also has been active in charitable and social welfare organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  

As executive vice president, Grubbs will be responsible for developing, leading, and implementing initiatives related to accreditation surveys and certification program reviews. His experience will help inform The Joint Commission’s approach to collaborative yet accountable processes that help healthcare organizations successfully navigate regulatory requirements while building safer, more effective, and equitable clinical processes.  

As Joint Commission chief nursing officer, Grubbs will represent the voice of nursing. He will serve as the key liaison between The Joint Commission and the nursing community, facilitating an ongoing dialogue on how The Joint Commission can best work with nurses to enhance patient safety and quality of care. Additionally, he will lead the Chief Nursing Executive (CNE) Council at The Joint Commission.

Paul Gerrard, executive vice president, and chief brand and communications officer

Bringing experience in both organizational communications and healthcare, Gerrard will assist The Joint Commission enterprise in engaging more effectively with stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem, domestically and internationally. He believes that effective communications begin with effective listening and understanding the needs and concerns of patients, providers, payors, employers, and policymakers. 

Gerrard is currently a senior advisor at Brian Communications, where he brings corporate and consulting experience to the Philadelphia-based communications agency. Previously, he was vice president of strategic communications at the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), the country’s largest health insurer, and was director of corporate affairs at Humana Inc. 

Gerrard began his career in European public relations, including serving as public affairs manager for Bass PLC, where he established and directed the FTSE 100 corporation’s first coordinated international public affairs program. He was named a Top 50 health influencer by PRWeek in 2017 and 2018 and is a Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Silver Anvil Awards recipient. He has served on several community and volunteer boards throughout his career. Gerrard earned a bachelor’s degree in European studies from the University of Kent, England.