Open Menu Close Menu Open Search Close Search

August 13, 2020

Dear members of the Tufts University community,

I write today to inform you that Dr. Michael Apkon, CEO of Tufts Medical Center and a stalwart friend and supporter of the university, will be stepping down from the hospital’s helm in September.

Dr. Apkon came to the medical center with a reputation as a renowned administrator, physician, and researcher, and exceeded all expectations. In particular, he was a champion of new research collaborations between the hospital and university. He was an ardent supporter of the launch of the Center for Integrated Management of Antimicrobial Resistance, which leverages the strengths of the university and medical center to research mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance and develop new strategies for treatment and education. He also supported the creation of funding to build research bridges between the university and the center, including the inaugural awards of the Tufts Initiative on Substance Use and Addiction.

Most recently, Dr. Apkon expertly led the medical center through the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic with a calm, rational, and compassionate approach to meeting the needs of the hospital’s patients while protecting the health and safety of the hospital’s staff. Additionally, in the early days of the pandemic, he was a leading voice in encouraging universities, hospitals, and municipalities to work together to meet the needs of their communities. We are indebted to Dr. Apkon for his partnership with the university in demonstrating to other institutions the good that can come from close collaboration in difficult times. On a personal note, I am thankful for Michael’s counsel and friendship, both of which I have valued during his time at the medical center.

More about Dr. Apkon’s departure is available in the press release below. While the medical center conducts a search for its next leader, Dr. Michael Tarnoff, Tufts Medical Center’s chair of surgery, will serve as the interim CEO.

Please join me in thanking Dr. Apkon for his leadership of the medical center and support of the university, and in wishing him the best in his future endeavors in public health policy and entrepreneurship.


Tony Monaco

Tufts Medical Center Announces Leadership Transition
Michael Apkon MD, PhD to step down next month;
Wellforce names Michael Tarnoff, MD, FACS Interim CEO

BOSTON, Mass (August 13th, 2020)- Michael Apkon, MD, PhD announced today that he plans to step down from his position as CEO of Tufts Medical Center, a founding member of Wellforce, in September.

Under Apkon’s leadership, Tufts Medical Center enjoyed significant success in advancing safe and effective care for patients, including the expansion of clinical programs and research initiatives across the Wellforce system. Apkon created a transparent and accountable culture and established a strong commitment to enhanced workforce development and institutional equality and inclusion. Apkon has championed efforts for the organization to work toward Magnet status – the top nursing quality designation – and becoming a High Reliability organization, a systematic approach known to prevent errors and increase positive outcomes. He strengthened the Medical Center’s leadership team, significantly improved financial performance and developed innovative external partnerships, including an opportunity to provide acute care in the home.

“Mike Apkon is an exceptional leader and champion of academic medicine and innovation. His efforts to improve care delivery, research and teaching at Tufts Medical Center have expanded the way the entire Wellforce system thinks about delivering complex care locally,” said Michael Dandorph, president & CEO of Wellforce. “As COVID-19 incident commander, Mike navigated our system through anxious and uncertain times with foresight, a calm demeanor, data and an unwavering commitment to human life. He worked closely with other leaders across Wellforce and eastern Massachusetts, staying focused on what was best for our patients and for the safety of all care givers. I am extremely grateful for this and all Mike has done to make Tufts Medical Center and Wellforce stronger together.”

Apkon, who has held executive leadership positions in the United States and Canada, plans to work with elected leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators to improve health care policy and accelerate change in the industry.

“While this was a very difficult decision to make, I am extremely proud of the many accomplishments the Tufts Medical Center family has achieved together over the past few years and am confident in the organization’s bright future. Most recently, the selfless determination and commitment displayed during COVID-19 by our frontline caregivers was inspiring beyond words.

The pandemic intensified my passion for health care public policy and innovation, as it exposed and highlighted the short comings of the way our industry is currently configured and the urgent need to improve care for all people, in ways that eliminate the disparities we see all too commonly. I look forward to focusing on this critical work in the future.”

Michael Tarnoff, MD, FACS has been appointed to serve as the Interim CEO of Tufts MC. A greatly respected physician and leader across Tufts Medical Center and Wellforce, Tarnoff began his career at Tufts MC in 2001 as a specialist in advanced minimally invasive abdominal surgery. He has also held important leadership positions in the medical device industry, ultimately serving as Chief Medical Officer for two very innovative companies – Covidien and Medtronic. In June 2019 Tarnoff left his industry position to rejoined Tufts Medical Center full time as Chair of Surgery.

“As someone who has spent many years practicing medicine at Tufts Medical Center, I know what a special place this is,” Tarnoff said. “I am looking forward to continuing our work to forge new partnerships across Wellforce to provide innovative and convenient services throughout Eastern Massachusetts. I am excited to work with the outstanding leadership team at Tufts Medical Center, Mike Dandorph at Wellforce and the leaders of Circle Health, MelroseWakefield Healthcare and Home Health Foundation.”

“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Dr. Apkon for his steadfast leadership and advancement of Tufts Medical Center, most especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Joe Campanelli, chair of the Tufts Medical Center Board of Trustees. “Mike has made a lasting impact on our entire community and we wish him all the best moving forward. I have every confidence that Dr. Tarnoff will move the organization forward as we determine the characteristics of the next permanent leader for Tufts Medical Center.”