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Group Health Physicians Leadership & Board of Directors

President and Chief Medical Executive

Dr. Steve Tarnoff

Stephen Tarnoff, MD, is President/Chief Medical Executive of Group Health Physicians, a professional corporation of nearly 1400 physicians and clinicians. GHP provides and manages medical services for Group Health Cooperative. Dr. Tarnoff also continues to serve as the executive medical director of the Group Practice Division, overseeing the care of over 425,000 patients in Group Health-operated medical facilities.

Dr. Tarnoff has practiced as family physician at Group Health for more than 25 years, and has gone on to hold numerous leadership positions within the organization including Chief of Central Region Primary Care, Chief of Consultative Specialty Care Services, Medical Director for the Group Practice Division, Medical Director for Medicare and Medicaid, and Medical Director for Group Health’s contracted network in Western Washington.

Over his career, his responsibilities have included strategy and business development, Medicare plan quality, revenue cycle management, documentation and coding, health plan product development, community relations and health public policy issues.

Dr. Tarnoff’s professional life has been devoted to improving the clinical and service performance and operational efficiencies of our integrated care delivery system. His leadership roles have emphasized creating a culture that focuses on continuous quality improvement, a better care experience, and the efficient and appropriate use of medical resources in order to maximize the value to patients and payers. He has twice been elected to the GHP Board of Directors and his contributions toward improving patient care have been recognized with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” by Group Health Physicians.

He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Southern California, School of Medicine, and completed his residency in Family Medicine at the University of Washington. He completed a Fellowship in Medical Education and Health Policy at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). He is Board Certified in Family Medicine and a member of the Washington Academy of Family Physicians and the Washington State Medical Association.

Board of Directors

Group Health Physicians is governed by physician leaders who provide general strategic direction and collaborate with GHC leaders to promote the best interests of the enterprise.

Current Board members (short bios are listed below):
Front row, left-to-right: Brad MacKinnon, MD; John Graham, MD; Steve Tarnoff, MD; Barbara Detering, MD
Second row, left-to-right: Paul Thottingal, MD; Sarah Philp, MD; Jean Walsh, MD; Mike Maxin, MD; Melissa Szocik, PA-C; Ilan Zawadzki, MD

GHP Board of Directors

Barbara Detering, MD
Board Chair; At-large 2

From 2002 to 2013 I served as a member of the GHP Board of Directors and I am honored to return to serve as GHP Board Chair. I have practiced at Group Health for over 20 years, and was a family medicine resident here after earning my medical degree from the University of Washington and completing internship at the University of Vermont Medical Center. I enjoy practicing at the Family Health Center on Capitol Hill taking care of a large panel. I served as clinic chief for two years and as program chief for all of Family Medicine. In addition to my hands-on committee and leadership work, the executive medical education course at Harvard Business School has helped me develop my skills in strategy, market assessment and finance. Critical strategic decisions about our future will be made in the coming years, and I want to enhance the conversation and contribute to strong decision-making on behalf of our medical group.

  • Board member since 2015
  • Current term ends 2018
  • Committee service: Executive, Compensation & Benefits and Finance

John Graham, MD
At-large-East

I have been a Group Health internist since 1996 and have served as Spokane Hospitalist chief since 2006. As a source of experience, I bring service in multiple roles and systems within health care. With the Yakima Farmworkers system, I had to prioritize my management for a resource limited population. In private practice, I observed the incentives and pitfalls of FFS. Since coming to GH, I have participated in panel-based practice, the IM consulting service, and finally hospitalist care. In addition, I have served on multiple hospital and GH committees, e.g., the Utilization Review Committee and the Provider Management Committee for the Spokane LLC that would become Care Unity ACO. My belief and experience are that pursuing efficient, correct care influences productivity and is the mechanism to position GHP as the premier medical system.

  • GHP Board member since: 2016
  • Current term ends: 2019
  • Committee service: Professional Practice

Brad MacKinnon, MD
At-large-Primary Care, South

I have practiced with Group Health since 2010, and medicine is my second career after 20 years in the corporate world. Before changing careers to medicine, I earned my MBA from the Harvard Business School, and served in a range of senior management positions at a biotechnology company in New England. I earned my medical degree from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and completed my family medicine internship and residency with Multicare Health System in Tacoma, Wash. I’m interested in how organizations make decisions that determine their future. I have strong skills in finance, marketing, business development and strategic planning from my previous business career, and I want to use these in serving the organization and helping us grow.

  • GHP Board member since 2015
  • Current term ends 2018
  • Committee service: Finance and Strategy


Michael Maxin, MD
Treasurer; At-large-Consultative Care, North

My career at Group Health began in 1999 as a full-time Radiologist and I continue to provide interventional services at Central campus. I earned my medical degree at Finch University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School. Prior to beginning board service, I completed the UW Certificate Course in Medical Management, the Kaiser Permanente Medicine and Management Program, and was Local Chief for North Region Radiology Services. I continue to be involved in Board education programs and recently attended the Kaiser Permanente Executive Leadership Summit. In my current role as a GHP Board member I represent the GHP Board on the Affiliation Governance Committee, which is a working committee comprised of members of both GHP and GHC Board members working to address current and anticipated issues of common interest.

  • Board member since 2012
  • Current term ends 2018
  • Committee service: Board Development, Executive, and Finance


Sarah Philp, MD
Vice Chair; At-large-Primary Care

As a family practice physician at Burien Medical Center since 2008, I am privileged to care for a diverse patient panel while contributing to our organization. Before coming to Group Health, I was a paneled primary care provider in the Swedish, PacMed, Highline, and Health Point CHC systems. To learn more about the business aspects of healthcare, I have broadened my thinking by completing the Certificate in Medical Management from the University of Washington. I earned my medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, with family medicine residency at Swedish Medical Center, Seattle. Since coming to Group Health, I have been most impressed with the depth of talent and professional integrity here as well as the level of commitment we have to our care model.  Perhaps our greatest strategic challenge is the preservation of our integrated care model while building a future that further increases value to patients.

  • GHP Board Member since 2013
  • Current term ends 2019
  • Committee service: Executive, Board Development, and Strategy


Melissa Szocik, PA-C
At-large-Primary Care, North

After graduating from the Physician Assistant program at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University in 2006, I bought a one-way ticket to Seattle and started working for Group Health. I am fortunate that my first job turned out to be the right one for me. I currently serve as local chief of our Downtown Medical Center in Seattle, and during four years in chief roles at two different locations, I’ve seen how effective it can be to engage the creativity of front-line staff in developing practical ways to solve problems. Many of us have much of our careers ahead of us, and we’d like to see the values and priorities of GHP sustained. What is the story we will be sharing in 20 -30 years? Together we can ensure that our work is rewarding and our values sustainable even as healthcare evolves.

  • GHP Board member since: 2015
  • Current term ends: 2017
  • Committee service: Board Development and Professional Practice


Stephen Tarnoff, MD
GHP President and Chief Medical Executive

I began serving as President of Group Health Physicians in 2014, and I also serve as Chief Medical Executive of the Group Practice Division. I joined Group Health in 1981, and have worked at many of our medical centers. Over the years I have led specialty care and have been medical director for our Medicaid and Medicare programs. I have also served two terms as a GHP board member. I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and University of Southern California School of Medicine, completing my family medicine residency at the University of Washington and a fellowship in medical education and health policy with the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

As your president, I’m responsible for the professional well-being of all 1,200 GHP clinicians. That involves creating an environment that nurtures our professional growth and achieves a vibrant, growing multispecialty group practice. In my group practice executive leadership role, I work with Group Health Cooperative Executive Vice President Erin Leff to oversee care at all Group Health facilities and to ensure a consistently great patient experience. Together we’re responsible for overall quality of care, total cost of care, and profitable growth. Our group practice’s approach to care is the engine that drives Group Health, and the reason we’re all here. My job is to help make that care the very best it can be.

  • Committee Service: Executive, Strategy and Finance

Paul Thottingal, MD
At-large-Consultative Care

I joined Group Health’s Infectious Diseases Section in 2008, and I presently serve as Operations and Program Chief. I received my medical training at the University of Manitoba, Canada, and have served internationally as a medical fellow, lecturer and clinical consultant on wound care and treatment of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. I currently serve on the Board of Directors of Health Alliance International, Seattle and as a member of the University of Washington Department of Global Health. I came to practice here after nearly seven years in global health and clinical care in sub-Saharan Africa. Before joining Group Health as a physician, I chose Group Health as a patient, because of the skill and the exceptional collaboration of the group practice to deliver an integrated model of care.

  • Board member since: 2015
  • Current term ends: 2017
  • Committee service: Compensation & Benefits


Jean Walsh, MD
Secretary; At-large-Consultative Care, South

I have been a physician for nearly 35 years and with Group Health as an orthopedic surgeon since 2000. I received my medical training at the University of Arizona, with orthopedic surgery residency at the University of California, Davis. I have served as orthopedic chief for the South Region which covers not only Tacoma, but the areas from Olympia to Silverdale to Kent. I remain passionate about our profession. Our patients put their lives and well-being in our hands, and there is no greater honor or privilege. I remain passionate about our organization because it is dedicated to doing what is right for those patients—not just what is cheap or easy.

  • GHP Board member since 2013
  • Current term ends 2019
  • Committee service: Executive, Professional Practice, and Strategy


Ilan Zawadzki, MD
At-large 1

I have been a front-line practicing nephrologist at Group Health for the past 23 years.  For ten years, I have served as service line chief to a terrific group of physician and nursing colleagues covering the entire group practice. Our patients are treated at Virginia Mason, Overlake Hospital, and 40 different kidney centers, and over the past two decades, I have seen patients at every one of our specialty centers. I appreciate the unique micro-cultures and sets of challenges at each. I have held various other leadership positions both within and outside Group Health, and I’ve also served on Quality and IT committees at the Northwest Kidney Centers, assisted in development of Group Health clinical guidelines, and advised our contracting teams on our numerous external dialysis, transplant, and nephrology providers. I worked on arranging the successful nephrology transitions to Virginia Mason and Overlake, and am currently working on the upcoming transition to Swedish. 

  • GHP Board member since 2015
  • Current term ends 2018
  • Committee service: Finance and Compensation & Benefits