Leading Ascension Florida To Its Future

Tom VanOsdol knew, as he grew up, that his life would involve some manner of helping people. Initially he was drawn to a career in speech pathology, which led to the operations side of healthcare and then to the Catholic health ministry. Today, he is President and CEO of Ascension Florida, serving in a role that he cherishes and approaches as both a gift and a privilege.

Together we have the blessing and the opportunity every day to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. “Everything we do is about bringing the healing mission of Jesus to individuals and families at very difficult times or very special times in their lives” Tom explains. “It’s blessing I will never take for granted. I am, and always will be, a direct patient caregiver at heart.”

He speaks of the strength and benefits people might not realize that Ascension Florida brings to the communities we serve. “Ascension has such a tremendous wealth of resources and knowledge, state-of-the-art clinical practices and broad-based infrastructural and operational support for our Ministries, all of which create real value and differential advantages for us. We are far stronger as a function of what we share across our national Ministry than any organization would ever be on its own.”

At the same time, he points out, there is a mutual benefit and bi-directional sharing and value creation involved. Best practices identified in the Florida ministries are disseminated throughout Ascension’s national network of ministries [providing care in 21 states], adding to its overall strength.

In Ascension’s portfolio of nationwide assets, Florida has been identified as one of four major markets where all strategic projections forecast significant population growth. Accordingly, leadership and economic capital resources have been allocated to provide support and enable the investments necessary to lead our respective markets for the long-term. “We’re already a strong and vibrant health ministry across the state, “says Tom, “and we’ve got the commitment and confidence from our national Ministry to grow and make sure we’re out front serving our community and especially those most in need for decades to come.”

Shortly after assuming his position with Ascension Florida, Tom and his wife Kathy contributed a substantial charitable gift to the Children’s Hospital. He regards the Children’s Hospital as a center of excellence second to none, a resource not available in most communities our size, and an absolutely life-changing blessing for those we’re so blessed to serve. Considering himself uniquely fortunate to participate in its mission and serve alongside so many gifted and dedicated professionals, he felt obligated to give back philanthropically and support the Ministry, and to lead his team by his team example.

Tom has been married to Kathy for 30 years; they have two children, Hope and Matthew. Kathy, a speech pathologist, is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Divinity and will be ordained ultimately as a pastor.

A life-long learner, Tom is enrolled in the executive leadership program in the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame, where he will complete this latest chapter in his studies in late 2020.  He expresses a tremendous passion for reading, music, exercise and continued self-development while always seeking new ways to help others, just as he began in healthcare over 32 years ago.