Christian Wallis will be paid $215,000 as CEO of the Grossmont Healthcare District, according to employment agreement.
Christian Wallis will be paid $215,000 as CEO of the Grossmont Healthcare District, according to employment agreement. Image via

A 50-year-old Illinois healthcare executive with experience ranging from medical groups to the Navy has been chosen to succeed Barry Jantz as CEO of the Grossmont Healthcare District, the East County agency revealed Thursday.

Christian Wallis of the northern Chicago suburb of Grayslake won the job after a nationwide search, according to agenda information for a board vote Monday morning on his contract.

Grossmont Healthcare District contract with Christian Wallis (PDF)

“Well over 50 applications were reviewed and, after a series of personal interviews, the board offered the position to Mr. Christian Wallis,” said the La Mesa-based public agency that oversees nearby Sharp Grossmont Hospital and is famed for parceling out millions of dollars in grants and scholarships and holding health fairs and annual “Healthcare Heroes” awards.

An employment agreement set his contract for a two-year term beginning May 17 and ending May 16, 2023, with an annual salary of $215,000.

Wallis has over 27 years of leadership experience in the healthcare field in the private sector, the federal government and international healthcare settings, the district said.

He is a certified fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives, has Lean Six Sigma experience, and has served as an examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Jantz told Times of San Diego: “With Wallis’ breadth of experience and background, I’m very pleased the district will be in such capable hands in the years ahead. It’s an exciting time for the board and staff. I wish Christian all the best.”

Wallis most recently served as regional/state vice president of Health Information Technology Support Services for Advocate Aurora Health in Illinois. He also served as the VP of operations for Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Illinois.

From 2000 to 2014, Wallis served in the U.S. Navy, Medical Service Corps, where he was the assistant VP and interim VP for Facility Support/Administration at the Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, Illinois.

Earlier, he was group practice administrator at the Branch Health Clinics in Silverdale, Washington, and also served as the director for Remote Health Care for TRICARE Europe in Sembach, Germany, and as the department Head for TRICARE business services in Bethesda, Maryland.

The recruiting firm of Ralph Andersen & Associates conducted the CEO search, with a posting that said: “This position offers an exciting opportunity for executive-level management professionals with career emphasis in health policy.”

It required only a bachelor’s degree, but a “master’s or advanced degree is strongly desired” with a pay range of $175,000 to $230,000.

Wallis holds a doctorate in healthcare administration from Central Michigan University, an MBA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Arizona, according to his LinkedIn account.

The district’s focus has broadened since being the Grossmont Hospital landlord to address unmet healthcare needs and support the healthcare safety net in the East Region.

“Since 1996, the board of directors has awarded nearly $55 million in grants and sponsorships to local nonprofit partners serving residents living within district boundaries,” the district says.

Jantz, 61, a former La Mesa councilman who retired at the end of March, was named CEO in 2004 after serving as a community relations consultant, managing the district’s annual grants program. A 1977 Helix High School graduate, he attended Grossmont College and majored in journalism at San Diego State University.

“In his years as CEO of the district, Jantz led the effort to complete over $260 million in Proposition G improvements at Grossmont Hospital, as well as a successful 2014 ballot measure to continue the lease of the hospital to Sharp HealthCare until 2051,” the district said.

Updated at 9:36 p.m. April 29, 2021