The Prestigious Award Honors the Most Influential and Impactful Leaders in the Healthcare Industry

CHICAGO (Dec. 4, 2023) – The National Association for Healthcare Quality® (NAHQ) proudly announced today that Stephanie Mercado, CAE, CPHQ, NAHQ chief executive officer and executive director, has been named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Healthcare” of 2023 by Modern Healthcare. This prestigious recognition acknowledges and honors individuals who are deemed by their peers and the senior editors of Modern Healthcare to be the most influential figures in the industry in terms of leadership and impact.

“Receiving this award is a pivotal moment for me and is also a testament to the groundbreaking work NAHQ has done to advance and mobilize the conversation around workforce development opportunities in the healthcare quality and safety discipline,” said Mercado. “As the face of healthcare rapidly changes and staffing shortages persist, the need for today’s healthcare workforce to advance critical priorities of quality, safety, equity, value, and system sustainability has never been more paramount. This recognition is one big leap in the right direction.”

Mercado has spearheaded industry-elevating innovations and introduced methodologies to research and define standardized competencies for the healthcare quality profession. From leading the development of the twice-validated Healthcare Quality Competency Framework to orchestrating the profession’s first workforce study, Mercado is committed to educating industry leaders on the impact competency-based training can make in advancing a workforce, driving quality and safety, and improving healthcare outcomes.

Under Mercado’s visionary leadership, the Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality® (CPHQ) certification has also doubled from approximately 7,000 CPHQs to nearly 15,000. Over the same time period, NAHQ membership has grown from about 4,500 members to nearly 10,000. Mercado also led the development of the first and only database in the world that articulates the work of those working in healthcare quality.

“The 2023 honorees on our 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare reflect the providers, insurers, technology firms, government leaders, investors and others who have made oversized contributions to the industry in the past year,” said Mary Ellen Podmolik, editor-in-chief of Modern Healthcare. “Our ranked list honors the C-suite decision-makers using their clout and influence to lead their organizations and make sweeping changes that affect patient care.”

The complete ranking can be found in the Dec. 4 issue of Modern Healthcare magazine, and profiles of all the honorees are available online at

About NAHQ

The National Association for Healthcare Quality® (NAHQ) is the only organization dedicated to healthcare quality professionals, defining the standard of excellence for the profession, and equipping professionals and organizations across the continuum of healthcare to meet these standards. NAHQ believes that to reduce variability in healthcare delivery, we must first reduce variability in healthcare quality competencies, so we focus our efforts on healthcare quality competencies and workforce development. NAHQ published the first and only Healthcare Quality Competency Framework and validated it twice in the market. We offer the only accredited certification in healthcare quality, the Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality® (CPHQ), extensive educational programming, networking opportunities and career resources to help healthcare quality professionals enhance their competencies and their value. Learn more at

 About Modern Healthcare

Modern Healthcare is the most trusted business news and information brand in the healthcare industry. Modern Healthcare empowers healthcare leaders and influencers to make timely and informed business decisions. To learn more or subscribe, go to

Media Contact:
Mary Pettersen
PR and Communications Director
National Association for Healthcare Quality

For information or questions about the 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare program, please contact:

Bailey Wenkel
Content Coordinator

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