Neurosurgeon and professor of neurological surgery assumes top medical executive spotCHICAGO, April 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Northwestern Memorial HealthCare announced that it named Stephen L. Ondra, MD, as chief medical officer for Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Ondra was the former senior policy advisor for the US Dept of Veterans Affair. He also was Co-Chair of Health Information Technology in the Office of Science and Technology Policy for the Executive Office of the President of the United States. Ondra had been a neurosurgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital for more than thirteen years prior to entering into governmental service. While serving as a senior veterans' affairs advisor and within the Executive Office of the President, Ondra maintained his faculty appointment as professor of neurological surgery for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Ondra assumes the role on April 16, 2012. "We are delighted to have Dr. Ondra return to Northwestern Memorial Hospital as our Chief Medical Officer," said Dean M. Harrison, president and CEO, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, parent to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "We sought a strong experienced leader to play a key role in our growth strategy as well as in helping to advance our quality programs. The knowledge he's gained serving our country is an invaluable asset to this important role." Ondra's medical career spans nearly three decades. He started his college career on the military path, spending one year at West Point Academy in New York State. He would complete his undergraduate coursework at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill., during which time he rose in rank from cadet to second lieutenant in the US Army. His neurological residency was spent at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. just before his medical career took him from the nation's capital to Saudi Arabia where he spent several months at the 8th Evacuational Hospital as its chief of neurosurgery. Ondra has honed a decorated medical military career having received such awards as a National Defense Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Desert Storm Medal and Army Commendation Medal, just to cite a few. He joined Northwestern Memorial Hospital in 1996 as a neurosurgeon and assistant professor of neurological surgery at the Feinberg School. While at Northwestern, Ondra held several esteemed posts including vice chair of the medical school's department of neurosurgery and director of its residency program and fellowship program in spinal reconstructive surgery. During this time he also served as the medical director for the hospital's neuro-spine intensive care unit. "I am excited to return to Northwestern to become a part of such strong culture of excellence, patient-centered care and achieving the highest standards of quality," added Ondra. "I look forward to this next chapter in my medical career." As chief medical officer, Ondra will work closely with Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and lead the hospital on issues related to medical staff development, educational programming and patient care, quality and safety among other broader academic medical center priorities. About Northwestern Memorial HealthCareNorthwestern Memorial HealthCare is the parent corporation of Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital, an 894-bed academic medical center hospital and Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, a 205-bed community hospital located in Lake Forest, Illinois.