Katherine Gottlieb, MBA, DPS
Southcentral Foundation President/CEO
Katherine Gottlieb, MBA, Doctor of Public Service and Doctor of Humane Letters, is originally from the Kodiak Island village of Old Harbor. She is a tribal member of Old Harbor, a tribal member and an elected member of the tribal council for the Seldovia Village Tribe, and an honorary tribal member of the Native Village of Eklutna. Her mother, Margaret, was Sugpiaq (Alutiiq), and her father, Alfred Quijance, was Filipino.
Gottlieb has served as president and chief executive officer of Southcentral Foundation in Anchorage, Alaska, for 25 years. SCF provides health and related services to 65,000 Alaska Native and American Indian people in a geographical service area of 107,400 square miles. SCF also jointly owns and operates the 150-bed Alaska Native Medical Center hospital supporting 140,000 people statewide.
Gottlieb began her career in health care as a community health representative in Seldovia, Alaska, a community of about 300 people accessible only by boat or plane. While pursuing an undergraduate degree, Gottlieb worked at SCF’s headquarters in Anchorage as a receptionist. She quickly worked her way up the ranks, and by 1991, was serving in the organization’s top executive position.
An innovative and visionary leader, Gottlieb has partnered with SCF’s Alaska Native board of directors, fellow customer-owners and other leadership, to transform health care for the Native Community. Today, as SCF’s chief executive, she oversees more than 2,000 employees and an annual budget of $349 million to manage more than 80 health care programs, services and departments. Under her direction and guidance, SCF’s Nuka System of Care has earned the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and other national and international recognitions for performance excellence and innovation.
In 2004, when selected as one of 23 distinguished Americans for the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, also known as the “Genius Award,” the MacArthur Foundation remarked, “Under Katherine Gottlieb’s leadership, the Southcentral Foundation network has demonstrated that high-quality health care and effective preventive services are possible, even in communities facing obstacles of poverty and geographic isolation.”
She is also the recipient of the 2015 Harry S. Hertz Leadership Award – presented by the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award – recognizing her visionary leadership and commitment to customer-driven quality improvement in health care.
For 2016, Gottlieb was presented the Indian Health Service National Director Award for a record-setting year for Tribal partnerships. SCF provided support for 44 Tribes and Tribal organizations who have been inspired by SCF’s Nuka System of Care.
Gottlieb holds a BA, MBA, and an honorary doctorate from University of Alaska Anchorage and an honorary doctorate from Alaska Pacific University, where she is a trustee emeritus. She is a Visiting Scientist at Harvard Medical School as well as a former board member of Cook Inlet Native Head Start, the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and the National Library of Medicine Board of Regents. She remains active at the national level on behalf of Alaska Native and American Indian policy issues.
She is the wife of Dr. Kevin Gottlieb, a mother of six, grandmother of 30 and great grandmother of five.