What does it take to be the CIO of the nation’s largest public health hospital?
Fernando Martinez is Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the Jackson Health System in Miami, Florida. Jackson Health System consists of 6 hospitals, 10 primary care centers, 17 school-based clinics and a variety of other community health organizations. A 32-year veteran of the healthcare industry, Martinez has extensive administrative healthcare experience ranging from patient access to revenue cycle to Health Information Management. For the last 12 years Martinez has held executive IT positions at a variety of prominent healthcare organizations.
A passionate educator, Martinez (M.S. ’04) holds adjunct faculty appointments at various South Florida Higher Education Institutions. Currently, he is pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, with a concentration in Hospital Administration. Martinez holds numerous professional certifications and is a recognized expert in IT security. He is a member of several professional boards and the recipient of countless awards, including the “2009 Information Security Executive of the Year, Southeast.”
According to Martinez, “The challenge with a career in technology today is constant evolution. As a CIO you must be tactical and strategic in the ever changing environment, you must stay current. In order to be a meaningful and impactful player in this industry you must also be very people-centric.” Martinez is in the people business; it is the very cornerstone of what he does. He explains, “The best part of my job is the impact I can make on the community, on the profession, and on the lives of the people I work with both internally and externally. It is also very satisfying to work in a business when you believe so passionately in the mission.”
He goes on to say, “The industry has changed over the years. The key is to remain flexible and adaptable. You must also be a good mentor. It has been a source of enormous pride to have influenced and impacted the lives of a dozen or more IT professionals that have moved on and up within the industry. As I reflect back, it was a tremendous achievement and honor to have tutored and empowered them to be successful.”
When Martinez was just out of high school, the concept of the PC was first discovered. However, he knew from a very young age that information security was something that attracted him. He went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. Then, while living with his wife in the Grand Caymans in 2002 working to develop their electronic medical records systems, he decided to continue his education at Nova.
“Nova had a program that was flexible and rich in content. It was an amazing learning experience for me. I was challenged by my instructors who were always well prepared. They used real life examples, tempering theory with the practical. It made me a better professional, it was truly a very enriching learning experience,” says Martinez. He is very proud of Nova’s program and has recommended it to others throughout his career because he believes it is a high quality system; very recognized and respected in the industry.
Martinez considers his parents, particularly his mother, to have been the most influential in his life. His parents gave up everything they had to leave Cuba. They had no money and did not speak the language when coming here in search of a better life. They sacrificed, it was a challenge, but in the end they were successful. Martinez learned that because of this there was never going to be a problem in his life that he could not overcome. He has always believed that no challenge or problem was insurmountable. He says “it would be insignificant and pales in comparison to what they did."
It is very fitting that Martinez’s birthday is August 28th, and that his favorite quote comes from Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” To this Martinez comments “in other words, everything that may come at you in your life will work in your favor, if your faith is strong.” He believes the greatest gift you can give is “the value you leave behind in others, those we build up around us."