about us

Who We Are

The Deaconess legacy is one of compassionate care in the Christian tradition that has enhanced Greater Cincinnati’s health and well-being through hospital and specialty healthcare services since 1888.

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, today Deaconess is an independent, diversified, not-for-profit enterprise managing a $600+ million portfolio of health services, programs, investments and community grant initiatives in Greater Cincinnati and across the country.

We search for new ways to improve people’s health while lowering costs through new delivery models and consumer education. We believe that today’s healthcare yields the best outcomes by facilitating access to care, encouraging prevention, and supporting wellness initiatives. Our investments and programs reflect this philosophy.

Our business success also enables us to provide financial support to a wide range of community health programs.  Deaconess’ social investments serve people who are vulnerable to health related problems and need community support to meet basic healthcare needs.   We respond to causes that focus on at-risk youth, the homeless, the addicted, the elderly, and other populations who require community support to improve their quality of life.   

our history

Our History

In 1888, the Cincinnati community started a “sick house” staffed by Methodist deaconesses who traveled from Germany to answer the local Evangelical Protestant Society’s call to care for the sick.  Deaconess Hospital was the first  “general” hospital in the city and also operated the city’s first training school for nurses.  In 1902, a new facility was built on Straight Street.

Throughout the 20th century, Deaconess expanded its campus and services to accommodate the changing science and technology of healthcare.  In 2011, the progression of healthcare toward prevention, wellness and outpatient care prompted Deaconess to transition from an inpatient delivery model to one that caters to the diverse needs of today’s fastest-growing populations – providing care that is more accessible and cost effective.  Today Deaconess’ Senior Services’ division offers residential and nursing care within five communities in Ohio and Kansas.  Its Home Care division delivers medical and rehabilitative care to orthopaedic surgery patients and assistance with daily living to homebound patients.

Deaconess is equally active as “social investor” through the Deaconess Foundation.  Recognizing that other community providers are well qualified to satisfy specific healthcare needs in a specific community, the Deaconess Foundation provides financial support to those providers, particularly those which focus on the underserved and at-risk members of the community.  Since 2012, Deaconess has awarded over $10 million to a variety of community organizations that cater to vulnerable youth, the homeless, the addicted, the elderly, and other populations who are in need of a stabilizing support system.

In 1888, Deaconess introduced its Christian-based healthcare mission to Cincinnati.  After 125+ years, the organization’s passion and commitment to that mission has not wavered.


Deaconess Associations, Inc.

E. Anthony Woods (Tony)


David Ayers

Chief Executive Officer

John Murta

Chief Operating Officer

Marianne Navin

Executive Assistant

Deaconess Senior Services

Bonnie Fraser


LifeSpring Home Healthcare

Karen Vahlberg

Chief Executive Officer

Legacy Healthcare

Jeff Ryan

Chief Executive Officer

Deaconess Associations Foundation

Diane Decker

Director of Development

E. Anthony Woods (Tony)


Summit Orthopaedic

Rob Becker


Heimlich Heroes

Terri Huntington

Program Director

Healthcare Bridge

January Curry

General Manager


William Bahl, CFC, CIC

Co-Founder & Portfolio Manager, Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel

Gregory Taylor

Senior Executive, Mason Company

Vivienne Bechtold

Independent Marketing Consultant; Former Harley Procter Marketing Director/Procter & Gamble; Co-Founder; Crossroads Church

E. Anthony Woods (Tony)

Chairman, Deaconess Associations, Inc.

A.J. McPhie

President & Independent Management Consultant, McPhie & Associates

William Zimmer

Independent Management Consultant, WHZ III, LLC

Rodger Reed

Retired, Cintas Corporation
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This is Deaconess

Learn more about the Deaconess Health Check Mobile Health Van.  This video shares our story.

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Our Mission, Vision, & Values


Deaconess invests in healthcare ventures and community programs which offer:

  • Solutions for the fastest-growing and/or most vulnerable populations
  • Solutions which require fewer resources and more immediate care
  • Solutions which fill voids in treatment and improve quality of life
  • Solutions which involve alliances with other community providers who are committed to a similar mission and values


A healthcare model which delivers expert care in a coordinated, convenient and affordable environment.


Our Vision and Mission are inspired and driven by:

  • A spiritual core: Our Christian heritage guides our direction and actions
  • Service leadership: We value and respond to the needs of our stakeholders
  • Teamwork: We promote collaboration to maximize productivity, foster relationships, and encourage innovation
  • Continuous improvement: We promote a learning environment that welcomes change leading to performance improvement
  • Public accountability: Our actions are transparent and respect the integrity and expectations of the communities and regulatory agencies we serve
  • Financial strength: We practice responsible stewardship to protect our resources and promote internal growth