Sam Dean Joins Merit Health River Oaks as New CEO

Merit Health River Oaks has named Sam Dean as the new Chief Executive Officer, effective August 23, 2021.

In addition to the CEO role at Merit Health River Oaks, Dean will also assume the Chief Operations Officer role for the Merit Health Jackson/Vicksburg network.


“I am excited to work with and support the employees and medical staff as Merit Health River Oaks continues to provide the people in our community the best possible care every time they choose us,” said Dean.


Dean comes to Merit Health from USA Health University Hospital in Mobile, Alabama where he served as Hospital Administrator since 2017. Under Dean’s leadership, USA Health University Hospital has become one of the fastest growing acute care providers in the region. The hospital has expanded from 143 beds to 212 beds and will add another 64 beds by the end of 2021. In addition, service lines such as GI and surgeries have seen growth of over 45% under Dean’s guidance. Prior to his work at USA Health University Hospital, Dean served as the Chief Operations Officer for Merit Health Central from 2015-2017.


Throughout his 16 years in healthcare leadership, Dean has recruited physicians and gained extensive knowledge and understanding of physician practices, as well as the importance of a strong, positive relationship between the medical staff and the hospital. Additionally, he has broad knowledge and experience in operations of the Emergency Department, Perioperative/Interventional Cardiology, and many ancillary departments.


“Merit Health River Oaks will benefit from Sam’s leadership skills, community focus and desire to provide our patients with quality, compassionate healthcare,” said Barry Moss, CEO, Merit Health Jackson/Vicksburg market.


Dean earned his bachelor’s degree in Bio-Medical Science from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama and his master of Business Administration and master of Science in Health Administration degrees from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, Alabama.


About Merit Health

Merit Health serves the healthcare needs of residents of Mississippi through its 9 affiliated hospitals. The healthcare system offers a wide array of services including orthopedics, cardiology, women’s health, emergency departments and broad diagnostic medical and surgical services. The network has more than 1,800 licensed beds, more than 2,500 physicians on the combined active medical staffs, more than 3,000 employees, and more than 40,000 admissions and more than 250,000 emergency department visits each year.





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