James J. Barba has been president and chief executive officer of Albany Medical Center, the only academic health sciences center in northeastern New York, since 1995. He also served as the chairman of the board of directors of Albany Med from 1994-2006.
In his role as president and CEO, Mr. Barba oversees the largest hospital in 25 counties; Albany Medical College, one of the nation’s oldest medical schools, where 40 percent of the doctors and health care professionals from our region are trained; a research operation with projects totaling $30 million in funding; a workforce of more than 8,000, making Albany Med one of the region’s largest private employers; and a Physician Practice Group of nearly 500 physicians.
Mr. Barba recently directed the most ambitious expansion of the institution since its founding in 1839, and the largest such project in the region’s history. This half-a-billion dollar, eight-year project is transforming the New Scotland-Park South neighborhood where the Center stands.
Recognized in the arena of health care and health care reform, he has served on numerous special commissions and councils by gubernatorial appointment and at the request of his peers, including the board of directors of the Health Care Association of New York State, with which he worked to re-design the Medicaid program to make it more efficient and effective. Mr. Barba also served Governor Mario Cuomo as chair of the state’s Special Advisory Commission to Restore Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the nation’s largest not-for-profit health care insurer – which ultimately put the state on track to save billions of dollars. Previously, Mr. Barba was chair of the board of trustees of the Trudeau Institute, a biomedical research organization in Saranac Lake.
Mr. Barba has also served on the boards of numerous area organizations – particularly those related to regional economic development, including the Center for Economic Growth and the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce, which he chaired. In 2011, he was named by Governor Andrew Cuomo to the Capital Region Regional Economic Development Council, one of 10 across the state, charged with creating a new model to stimulate economic development and create jobs in the region. He currently serves as the council’s co-chair. He also serves on the board of directors of Park Playhouse, a free summer theater in Albany Med’s neighborhood.
Mr. Barba has received numerous accolades over the years. Most recently he was recognized as a Citizen Laureate by the University at Albany for his “transformational and progressive leadership” and received the Community of Excellence Award from the College of St. Rose. He has also received the “Envoy Salute” from the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce for his vision, leadership and impact on the economic vitality of the region; “Executive of the Year” from the Business Review; the “Career Achievement Award” from Siena College; and the “Distinguished Citizen” award from the Twin Rivers Council Inc., Boy Scouts of America. In addition, he was inducted into the Tech Valley Business Hall of Fame in 2011. He has been cited for his leadership in health care by the American Heart Association, the Juvenile Diabetes Association, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He is a frequent lecturer and author on health care topics and health care policy.
He was formerly senior counsel to the Albany law firm of Hiscock & Barclay and is a graduate, cum laude, of the University of Notre Dame Law School, and a graduate, summa cum laude, of Siena College, from which he also holds an honorary doctorate.