Senior Leadership

Every team needs its leaders.

At Emerson Hospital, we are one big team. But within that team are smaller groups that make a huge impact on everything from daily operations to patient care to the hospital’s bright future. That is where our senior leaders come in. Learn all about them below.

Christine Schuster photo

Christine Schuster, RN, MBA

President and Chief Executive Officer

Ms. Schuster has over 25 years of health care experience. Prior to joining Emerson Health as president and CEO in 2005, she served as president and CEO of Quincy Medical Center and previously Athol Memorial Hospital. She also served as COO of the Tenet Saint Vincent Healthcare System, Extended Care Division. Ms. Schuster worked as a health care consultant with PriceWaterHouseCoopers early in her career.

She serves as chair of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association (MHA), chair of the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals, and chair of the Massachusetts Value Alliance, a leading supply purchasing consortium. She was appointed to the Clinical Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, and advisory boards for the Suffolk University MHA Program and Riverside Partners, a private equity firm. She is a Middlesex Bank corporator. She currently serves on the MHA Finance, Governance, and Executive Committee.

Ms. Schuster was named to the Boston Globe/Women’s Edge List of Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts from 2017 to 2023. She received the 2024 Pinnacle Award from the Boston Chamber of Commerce, the 2017 Middlesex West Chamber of Commerce Excellent Nonprofit Leadership Award, the 2011 Concord Chamber of Commerce Businessperson of the Year Award, and the 2008 Maynard Elks Distinguished Citizenship Award. She received the Prescription for Excellence Award from the Mass Medical Health Law Report. She is a four-time recipient of the American Hospital Association Grassroots Champion Award. She was recognized by Modern Healthcare Magazine and Witt Kieffer Associates as an Up and Comer Award recipients. Ms. Schuster received her MBA, with honors, from the University of Chicago Booth Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Boston University.

Eric Stastny

Eric Stastny, MHA

Senior Vice President of Operations and Chief Operating Officer

Mr. Stastny oversees all inpatient and outpatient operations at Emerson as well as human resources and the physician practices for the Emerson Health System. Mr. Stastny has a broad range of experience in both hospital settings and physician practices. Mr. Stastny earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and a master's in health care administration from Ohio University. During his 12 years at Emerson, Eric has accomplished many noteworthy milestones. First, in our human resources department, he implemented significant technology enhancements making our job application, resume tracking, performance management, and benefits processes fully paperless. Over the past few years, Eric led a number of successful facility renovation projects including our state-of-the-art Center for Rehabilitation and Sports Therapies, the new Steinberg Wellness Center for the Mind and Body, the Naka Infusion Center, Mass General Cancer Center as well as our new Urgent Care Centers.

Stephen Coco

Stephen Coco

Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Mr. Coco is a proven health care financial executive with an outstanding record of accomplishment. Before joining the team at Emerson he was the senior vice president & chief financial officer at South Shore Health (SSH), where he served in a leadership capacity for 15 years. He was SSH’s financial lead for the electronic medical record transition to Epic and the fiscal leader for multiple campus expansion projects and clinical affiliations. Under his direction, SSH was recognized by the Healthcare Financial Management Association with a 2021 MAP Award for High Performance in Revenue Cycle. At a pivotal time for our health system, Mr. Coco joins Emerson to support our vision of transforming care in our region as we expand our scale and scope over the next several years. He is eager to work for a health system focused on the patient experience, allowing him to be closer to the patient, a particular area of health care administration in which he thrives and enjoys.

Barrett Kitch, MD, MPH

Barrett Kitch, MD, MPH

Senior Vice President of Clinical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Kitch is responsible for the oversight and functions of Emerson’s departments of quality and patient safety, care management, and adult and pediatric hospitalist services.  Dr. Kitch came to Emerson from North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Mass., where he served as vice chair of medicine and chief of pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine. Dr. Kitch has been a leading figure at Partners HealthCare for his collaborative approach to quality and patient safety. He co-chairs the Partners Critical Care Collaborative and the Partners Sepsis Work Group. He has twice been the recipient of the Partners-wide Nesson Award for physician leadership. Previously, he was an associate physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the division of pulmonary and critical care in addition to serving as a senior research scientist in the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Kitch received an undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before graduating from the UNC School of Medicine. He received his master’s in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health. He completed his internship and residency at Mass General and a Harvard Combined Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship. Dr. Kitch is board certified in critical care medicine.

Craig BestCraig L. Best, MD, MPH, FACOG

President of Emerson Practice Associates and Senior Vice President of Emerson Health

Dr. Best oversees the direction and management of all Emerson Practice Associates practices, including strategic and business planning, operations, finance, and physician recruitment. He is an obstetrician/gynecologist with close to thirty years of experience in leadership roles. Dr. Best completed his OB/GYN residency training at the University of California San Francisco, Fresno, and fellowship trainings in clinical reproductive medicine and reproductive immunology research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. After fellowship, Dr. Best was chief of gynecology at Carney Hospital in Dorchester and principal owner and medical director of ivpcare, inc., a highly successful Inc. 500 company. After ivpcare’s sale, Dr. Best concentrated his career on healthcare administration, first at Reliant Medical Group as the OB/GYN department chair and then medical director of business development. Prior to joining Emerson, he was the executive vice president of Tufts Medicine Health System and president of Tufts Medicine Employed Physician Group. Dr. Best currently serves as chairman of the board for March of Dimes, chairman of the clinical advisory board for SimpliFed, and as a member of the board of directors for Coverys. He is a fellow in the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Mark MahnfeldtMark Mahnfeldt, RN-BC, MBA, MSN NEC-A

Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer

Mr. Mahnfeldt, RN-BC, MBA, MSN NEC-A, is responsible for the planning, growth, and operations of nursing and patient care services throughout Emerson’s health system. He arrived at Emerson after serving as vice president of acute care nursing operations at South Shore Hospital, helping the hospital earn numerous awards for exemplary acute care and nursing excellence. Prior to that role, Mr. Mahnfeldt was South Shore Hospital’s director of medical/surgical/critical care/cardiovascular nursing, inpatient surgical, and ambulatory surgical services. He has also held nurse leadership positions with MelroseWakefield Healthcare and at North Shore Medical Center. Mr. Mahnfeldt earned a bachelor’s in nursing from Northeastern University, and received his Master of Science in Nursing and a Master of Business Administration from Salem State College. He lives with his family in Lynnfield, Mass.

headshot.jpgRenee Fosberg

Vice President and Chief Information Officer

Renee Fosberg is an accomplished healthcare executive with over 25 years of expertise in the healthcare information systems industry. As the Chief Digital Officer at Emerson Health, she plays a pivotal role in driving the organization's digital transformation. Her responsibilities extend across multiple areas, including Information Systems, Clinical Informatics, Infrastructure, Telecommunications, Clinical Engineering, and Information Security. Renee's strategic leadership is essential in advancing Emerson Health's digital strategy, focusing especially on the integration of advanced digital technologies throughout the health system. A key highlight of her tenure is the successful transition of Emerson Health's 70 affiliated physician offices to the Epic Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system.
Renee earned her Bachelor's degree in Healthcare Management and Policy from the University of New Hampshire. Under her leadership, Emerson Health has been recognized repeatedly for its digital innovation, receiving CHIME Healthcare's Most Wired Hospital designation from 2018 to 2023. Renee's comprehensive oversight in areas such as inpatient and ambulatory services, and her focus on elevating patient care standards across the health system, have established her as a significant figure in the field. Her impact and expertise have been widely recognized, including her consistent inclusion in Becker's Healthcare since 2018 as one of the top 100 CIOs to know and, most recently, as one of Becker’s Women Power Players in Health IT.

Karl Kussin photoKarl Kussin

Vice President of Development and Chief Philanthropy Officer

Mr. Kussin develops, implements and maintains a comprehensive program that maximizes philanthropic support for all of Emerson’s charitable components and affiliates. In addition, he provides strategic oversight and direction for the Emerson Health Care Foundation, the hospital’s fundraising arm. Guided by a volunteer board, the Emerson Health Care Foundation raises millions of dollars annually for facility enhancements, technology investments and clinical advancement through special appeals, fundraising campaigns, the Emerson Hospital Auxiliary and the support of corporators who serve as ambassadors for the hospital in their local communities. Previously, Mr. Kussin served as the director of development at Nashoba Brooks School in Concord and as the director of development at Suffolk University in Boston. He holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration and marketing management from the University of Vermont.

Christi BarneyChristi Barney, RN, MSN

Vice President of Quality and Patient Safety

Ms. Barney brings a wealth of leadership experience to her role as head of the quality and patient safety department. Most recently, she served as the executive director of patient safety, quality, risk management, infection control, CDI, and clinical compliance at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital (BWFH), where she received the BWFH Leadership Award in 2015 as well as the Partners in Excellence Award on six separate occasions. Ms. Barney has extensive experience in implementing high reliability and "Just Culture" frameworks at BWFH, in addition to contributing to several committees focused on quality and safety. She was liaison to the Mass General Brigham (MGB) Enterprise Quality, Safety and Compliance Committees, chair of the Compliance Leaders Committee from 2016-2018, and the (MGB) Enterprise representative to the Joint Commission Healthcare Corporate Liaison Committee, among many others. Ms. Barney worked as a clinical leader and psychiatric and mental health nurse for more than 20 years before transitioning to quality and patient safety at BWFH in 2011. She earned her bachelor’s in nursing at Purdue University and her master’s in nursing at Yale University.

Dave RyanDave Ryan, JD

Vice President of Human Resources

Mr. Ryan is an experienced human resources executive and attorney with demonstrated success leading human resources for community hospitals and academic medical centers in Massachusetts, including Brigham Health, MelroseWakefield Hospital and Cape Cod Healthcare. He has a record of successfully partnering with executive leadership to create and execute human capitol strategies in periods of industry disruption and financial challenges. Mr. Ryan has a strong foundation in all HR disciplines with specific expertise in employment law and labor relations. He is responsible for ensuring that Emerson Hospital attracts and retains top health care talent so as to serve Emerson’s patients and community. Mr. Ryan grew up in Massachusetts and earned his bachelor's degree at Boston College and his J.D. at Suffolk Law School.

Jacqueline ClancyJacqueline Clancy

Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer

Ms. Clancy provides strategic direction and oversight of Emerson's marketing, internal and external communications, public relations, and website properties. She has over 20 years of experience working in health and human services, with more than 15 years at regional health systems. Her extensive marketing and communications experience include leadership roles at large academic health systems such as Lahey Hospital & Medical Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock and regional/community health systems such as Southern NH Medical Center and Solution Health. Ms. Clancy has presented on digital marketing topics regionally and nationally. She has held board positions with the American Red Cross and Front Door Agency in Nashua, N.H. Ms. Clancy is a graduate of Massachusetts Hospital Association Leadership College class of 2020. She is a member of the New England Society for Health Care Communications and the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development.

Richard BerkmanRichard Berkman

Special Advisor to the CEO, Governance and Special Projects

Mr. Berkman oversees governance and special projects as an advisor to Emerson President and CEO Christine Schuster. In this role, he works closely with Emerson’s Board of Directors, helping them fulfill their responsibilities to the hospital. Mr. Berkman has a high level of experience in hospital administration, most recently as a partner with HealthCARE Management Consulting, where he helped provide operational analyses and cost savings ideas to hospitals and other medical centers. Prior to that position, he was senior vice president for member services at Yankee Alliance, a regional group purchasing organization for hospitals and nursing homes. Mr. Berkman has also been a senior hospital executive at several hospitals in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Mr. Berkman holds a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from the University of Maine, a Master of Business Administration from Suffolk University, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Standing from Northeastern University. As a member of the U.S. Army, he rose to the rank of captain in the Medical Service Corps and received the Army Commendation Medal. He is a fellow with the American College of Healthcare Executives, as well as current treasurer and past president of ACHE of Massachusetts. He is also a board member and current treasurer of Temple Emmanuel of Wakefield.