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Robert Currie

Healthcare executive Robert Currie was born on June 12, 1951 in Orange, New Jersey to James Currie and Hazel Shelton. Currie graduated from Orange High School in 1970, and earned his B.A. degree in sociology and urban studies from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin in 1974. Currie went on to receive his M.A. degree in urban planning and policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1978.

After working as director of health systems planning at Chicago Health Systems Agency for several years, Currie became the vice president of strategic planning for Chicago Hospital Council/Compass Health Care Plans. In 1984, Currie joined the Michael Reese - Humana Health Plan, where he was the director of strategic planning from 1984 to 1987, vice president of strategic planning and market research from 1987 to 1993, and associate executive director of administration from 1993 to 1995. Currie went on to become the president and CEO of Unity HMO in Chicago, vice president and COO of Plan Americaid Texas, and COO of Harmony Health of Indiana. From 2001 to 2005, Currie served as the president of Harmony Health Management, Inc. and vice president of external affairs for Harmony/WellCare Health Plans until 2009 when he founded the Managed Care Consulting Group. In 2011, he was named COO of Aetna Better Health Illinois; and in 2014, Currie became the president and CEO of Community Care Alliance of Illinois.

In 2009, Currie was named as one of the Chicago Defender’s “50 Men of Excellence.” Currie received an Excellence in Health Care Award from the Illinois Black Caucus and the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE) President’s Award, both in 2010. Currie also received a Chapter Leadership Award from the NAHSE Chicago Chapter in 2011. Currie served on the board of numerous organizations including the Black United Fund of Illinois, the Institute for Diversity in Healthcare Management, and Youth, Vision, & Integrity, Inc. He also served as the president of NAHSE’s Chicago chapter from 1989 to 1991, and the national president of NAHSE from 1999 to 2001.

Robert Currie was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 23, 2018.

Accession Number

A2018.023

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/23/2018

Last Name

Currie

Maker Category
Schools

University of Illinois at Chicago

Lawrence University

Orange High School

Lincoln Avenue School

Oakwood Avenue Community School

First Name

Robert

Birth City, State, Country

Orange

HM ID

ROB35

Favorite Season

Winter

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Don’t Give A Handout, But Give A Hand Up.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

6/12/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Favorite Food

Liver

Short Description

Healthcare executive Robert Currie (1951 - ) served as the COO of Aetna Better Health Illinois before becoming the president and CEO of Community Core Alliance of Illinois in 2014.

Employment

Community Care Alliance of Illinois

Aetna Better Health

Managed Care Consulting Group

Americaid Texas

Unity HMO

Favorite Color

Black

Otis L. Story, Sr.

Healthcare chief executive Otis Leon Story, Sr. was born on November 17, 1951 in Anniston, Alabama to Martha Lou and Tom Elbert Story, Sr. Story earned his B.A. degree in the social sciences from Cornell University in 1976 and his M.A degree at the University of Chicago in 1977. Story continued his education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he earned his second M.A. degree in hospital and health administration.

Story began his career at Ochsner Foundation Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he was appointed as the first African American administrator in the hospital's history. From 1985 to 1990, he worked as an administrator at the University of Alabama at Birmingham-University Hospital; and, in 1990, became the chief operating officer at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of Newark, New Jersey. From 1996 to 1998, Story served as the associate executive officer of The Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati. Then, Story began working as the executive vice president and chief operating officer for the Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia. Appointed by the board of directors, Story was named interim president and chief executive officer at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center in 2001. From there, Story served as the vice president of operations of the Cooper Health System in Camden, New Jersey. In 2003, he was hired as the executive director at St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center in New York City, and worked to amend the center’s bankruptcy status. Story was appointed as the president and chief executive officer of the Grady Health System in Atlanta, Georgia in 2007. In 2012, the Jefferson County Commission in Birmingham, Alabama hired Story to reorganize Cooper Green Mercy Hospital. From 2015 to 2017, Story served as the chief executive officer of East Orange General Hospital in East Orange, New Jersey.

In addition to his other accomplishments, Story also completed a fellowship with the National Association of Public Hospitals. He served as a member of the Regional Policy Boards at the American Hospital Association as well as The Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knight Hospitaller.

Story lives with his wife, Ava, in Hoover, Alabama. They have three children together: Jasmyn, Avana, and Prince James.

Otis L. Story, Sr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 12, 2007, March 20, 2012 and March 27, 2017.

Accession Number

A2007.256

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/12/2007 |and| 3/20/2012 |and| 03/27/2017

Last Name

Story

Maker Category
Middle Name

L.

Schools

University of Chicago

Cornell University

University of Alabama at Birmingham

South Highland Elementary School

John Bowne High School

First Name

Otis

Birth City, State, Country

Anniston

HM ID

STO05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Alabama

Favorite Vacation Destination

Anywhere Warm

Favorite Quote

Thou Shall Have No Other Lord. Thou Shall Love Thy the Lord With All Thy Heart, And With All Thy Mind And All Thy Soul. And The Second is Like Unto It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

11/17/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Englewood

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish

Short Description

Chief executive officer Otis L. Story, Sr. (1951 - ) was president and CEO of the Grady Health System in Atlanta, Georgia.

Employment

Shands Jacksonville Medical Center.

St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center

Ochsner Foundation Hospital

Playland

University of Alabama at Birmingham

University of Chicago Office of Special Programs

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati

Quorum Health Resources

The Endeavor Group

Grady Health System

Azul Health Group

Tampa General Hospital

Prospect Medical Holdings, Inc.

East Orange General Hospital

Favorite Color

Burgundy, Gold

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Otis L. Story, Sr.'s interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Otis L. Story, Sr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his mother's upbringing in Anniston, Alabama

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about his maternal uncle

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers meeting his white relatives

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his maternal grandmother's professions

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers his paternal uncles

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Otis L. Story, Sr. lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes the community of Anniston, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes the major industries in Anniston, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers his family's landlord in Anniston, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Otis L. Story, Sr. recalls his neighbors in Anniston, Alabama

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his early interest in sports

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his parents' personalities

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his childhood illness

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers his parents' side jobs

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about his upbringing in a working class community

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Slating of Otis L. Story, Sr.'s interview, session 2

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his experiences at South Highland Elementary School in Anniston, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Otis L. Story, Sr. recalls the racial tensions in Anniston, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers being chased by dogs in Anniston, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes segregation in Anniston, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Otis L. Story, Sr. recalls the Freedom Rider bus bombing in Anniston, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes the attack on Nat King Cole by Klansmen from Anniston, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about the attacks on his father in Anniston, Alabama

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his early aspirations

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers P.S. 142, Shimer Junior High School in Queens, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes the integration of New York City's schools

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his experiences at John Bowne High School in Queens, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his introduction to basketball in New York City

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his high school basketball career

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his coursework at John Bowne High School in Queens, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers his mentors at John Bowne High School

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Otis L. Story, Sr. recalls his college aspirations

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes the New York City teachers' strike of 1968

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his involvement in the New York City teachers' strike of 1968

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Otis L. Story, Sr. recalls the New York City Board of Education summer retreat

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Otis L. Story, Sr. recalls his graduation from John Bowne High School in Queens, New York

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers his summer basketball league in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers working at the Playland arcade in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Otis L. Story, Sr. recalls his father's hospitalization

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Otis L. Story, Sr. recalls the denial of medical treatment to black patients at Queens General Hospital

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes the trip to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his experiences at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers Professor William Keeton

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Otis L. Story, Sr. recalls his freshmen orientation at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers his freshman roommate at Cornell University

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes the black basketball players' strike at Cornell University

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes the aftermath of the basketball team's strike at Cornell University

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his final two years at Cornell University

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers his father's death

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Otis L. Story, Sr. recalls his aspiration to become a doctor

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Otis L. Story, Sr. recalls his admission to the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers meeting his second wife

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes the role of his wife's family in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Otis L. Story, Sr. recalls his enrollment at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Otis L. Story, Sr. recalls working under Larry Hawkins at the University of Chicago

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes the political climate at the University of Chicago

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his decision to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his residency at the Ochsner Foundation Hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers the political leaders of New Orleans, Louisiana

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about the role and responsibilities of a hospital administrator

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his philosophy of service as a hospital administrator

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Otis L. Story, Sr. recalls a lesson from a nun at St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers his sister's kidney transplant

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about New Jersey's politics

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Slating of Otis L. Story, Sr.'s interview, session 3

Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about his second marriage

Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes the increase in HIV/AIDS and crack cocaine addiction in New Jersey

Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about the racial bias in legislative responses to drug addiction

Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Otis L. Story, Sr. recalls his work at the University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his transition to the University Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his role in the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati

Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his position at Quorum Health Resources, LLC, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his position at Quorum Health Resources, LLC, pt. 1

Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers the preparations for Y2K

Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about the lack of legislative concern for illnesses in the African American community

Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers his move to Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his consulting work for The Endeavor Group

Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about his philosophy of hospital economics

Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about healthcare reform proposals

Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his tenure as CEO of the Grady Health System in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his tenure as CEO of the Grady Health System in Atlanta, Georgia, pt. 2

Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010

Tape: 12 Story: 4 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes his article, 'Preparing Safety Net Hospitals for Healthcare Reform'

Tape: 12 Story: 5 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes the closure of the Cooper Green Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, pt. 1

Tape: 12 Story: 6 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes the closure of the Cooper Green Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, pt. 2

Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes how he came to be CEO of the East Orange General Hospital in East Orange, New Jersey

Tape: 13 Story: 2 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers the lack of women's health facilities in East Orange, New Jersey

Tape: 13 Story: 3 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about the need for gynecological care for older women

Tape: 13 Story: 4 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about his behavioral health initiatives

Tape: 13 Story: 5 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about the closure of hospitals in poor communities

Tape: 13 Story: 6 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 13 Story: 7 - Otis L. Story, Sr. reflects upon the future of healthcare reform

Tape: 13 Story: 8 - Otis L. Story, Sr. reflects upon his life

Tape: 14 Story: 1 - Otis L. Story, Sr. reflects upon his legacy, pt. 1

Tape: 14 Story: 2 - Otis L. Story, Sr. reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2

Tape: 14 Story: 3 - Otis L. Story, Sr. reflects upon his accomplishments at the University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 14 Story: 4 - Otis L. Story, Sr. remembers establishing a partnership with the FBI

Tape: 14 Story: 5 - Otis L. Story, Sr. talks about his family

Tape: 14 Story: 6 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes how he would like to be remembered, pt. 1

Tape: 14 Story: 7 - Otis L. Story, Sr. describes how he would like to be remembered, pt. 2

DASession

2$2

DATape

7$8

DAStory

6$2

DATitle
Otis L. Story describes the black basketball players' strike at Cornell University
Otis L. Story recalls his aspiration to become a doctor
Transcript
There's a story about the basketball team that we cannot fail to tell. Now, there was a strike. You all--the black basketball players went on a strike and--$$Yeah, we boycotted the--$$Boycotted the--now what happened, what happened?$$When I was a sophomore, I was part of a great team. I thought we had a great team. And out of the fifteen players, I believe eight were probably black. And there were, out of those eight there were five individuals of African ancestry who were capable of starting, excuse me. The first game, the coach started four of the eight blacks that weekend. And subsequently what happened, was that he got so many telephone calls from the alumni complaining about the fact that he had started four black basketball players at Cornell University [Ithaca, New York], that the pressure continued to mount over the week on him. We learned that his job, his job was placed at risk, and that if he ever put four blacks, if he ever started four blacks again, he would probably lose his job. That's what we heard. And once we found that out, we sort of, we started to watch his rotation, substitution pattern, and even the number of blacks he started. He never started four blacks again. And sort of, the problem came to a head when he started a sophomore, who was my roommate, Lynn Loncki, ahead of the black senior, Tom Sparks [Thomas Sparks]. And we knew, and Lynn knew, that he was not a better ballplayer at that time than Tom Sparks. Tom was a senior, and he was the leader of not only the black ballplayers, he was the leader of the team, he was the captain. How do you sit your captain down who's a senior, and start a sophomore who's still trying to coordinate his hands and his feet? So, he did that because he could start three blacks and still win, because Tom was not the best of the four blacks that he started. And we all knew that. Tom was a senior, and deserved to start. He was good enough to start, but he was not better than the other three blacks. One was, two were juniors and one was a sophomore. And that--once we found that out, we obviously confronted our coach, Jerry Lace. And Coach Lace was a very humble man, and he found himself in a very, very precarious situation, and we realized that. And he, he said in no uncertain terms that he was not in control of this team anymore. Now he coached the rest of the year, but he, it was the chairman, it was the athletic director, and the alumni who were actually calling the shots. And they never did start four blacks during my tenure, which was short lived (laughter), ever again at Cornell. And we walked out, and we, we wanted to support our teammates, the white teammates. And we would travel to games that were close by. And one in particular was to Syracuse University [Syracuse, New York]. And we showed up to support, and people wanted to know, "Well if you want to support your team, why don't you dress out?" We said, "Well, we couldn't do that, because that was a contradiction. Because here was a coach saying that he couldn't support starting black players at Cornell." And we said, "Well, if he couldn't support all of his players," meaning blacks and whites equally, "we couldn't go out there and represent and support Cornell. Why should we do that?" You know, once again, we're trying to break these bonds, you know, the slavery mentality--that we need to serve the master while the master is exploiting us as a people. And so, we refused to do it; we refused to do it.$Okay, so after graduation [from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York] now, what were your plans? Did you plan to--well, you said earlier you planned to become a doctor, right?$$Yeah, my interest was in medicine. I was interested in being an endocrinologist because of the diabetes. My father [Tom Story, Sr.] was, all of my life, you know, he was disabled. And it was something that was a perplexing disease for me as a child when I was in Alabama--as an eight year old child, to hear somebody had sugar. And I couldn't understand how something as sweet as sugar could be so debilitating. Because that was a big thing then in Alabama, because we'd get some sugar and put it in lemonade and--and my dad suffered. He looked normal the first ten years when he was affected by the disease. It was in the last five years of his life when he started--his sight was affected, his mobility was affected. And then the last nine months of his life his foot was amputated and his leg was amputated, and he passed. So, my dad, the last fifteen years of his life, he suffered. And I wanted to go to school to become a doctor, because I wanted to be able to do research, R and D [research and development], to help figure out how do you deal with this twelve carbon chain of sugar? You know, how do you break this thing up? How do you figure out--how do you get one of these glucose--one's ability to metabolize, you know, glucose so that, you know, you had this engine, you know, that supports one's body. And I was just, literally, it was a way of honoring my father and a service to mankind. I always was committed to doing something in the service to mankind. My mother [Martha Wilson Story] wanted me to be a preacher. You know, I wanted to be a doctor, and I came--and ultimately I decided upon hospital administration. I became a healthcare executive, which is all of that. You know, as a healthcare professional, I'm a part of the healing team. Part of what I do, in terms of human relationships with my colleagues that I work with inside of hospitals and health systems, is to minister. And I'm always committed to the community in which the hospital I work in is located. So, I'm a service to the community, a service to my colleagues, my fellow colleagues, and to the patients and the families we serve. So I think I sort of satisfied, to some degree, all of my aspirations as a young teenager, you know, in terms of what my mother wanted me to do, what I wanted to do, and what I ultimately have done over the last twenty-five years--$$Okay. Now (simultaneous)--$$--(simultaneous) in healthcare.