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Published on November 21, 2019

Cone Health CEO Emeritus Dennis Barry


Cone Health wishes to extend its deepest sympathies to Betty Barry, the Barry family, the many friends and the countless lives touched by the passing of Cone Health CEO Emeritus Dennis Barry.

Dennis Barry

Dennis Barry

“Much of what Cone Health means to our region today is the direct result of Dennis’ tremendous vision for our health system and our community,” says Cone Health CEO Terry Akin.

Barry joined The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital as president in 1979. “Dennis took a struggling hospital and turned it into a jewel,” says Tim Rice who followed Barry as CEO. “He helped build Cone Health and put it on the national stage.” Barry spent 25 years with the organization. 

Under Barry’s leadership, what was called Moses Cone Health System grew. Women’s Hospital, LeBauer HealthCare, Wesley Long Hospital and Annie Penn Hospital became part of the network. Barry insisted in buying a failing behavioral health facility. He famously promised the board that it would be a money loser—but that behavioral health services were too important for the community to lose.

While he will be remembered for the big projects and partnerships, Barry once said the smaller projects that improved care to people in the area were his proudest achievements. Under his tenure Cone Health added its first pediatric, neonatal and neurological intensive care units. He was especially proud of the charity work of the organization. 

Cone Health’s growing visibility didn’t go unnoticed. Barry represented Cone Health in a variety of health care leadership roles including chairman of the North Carolina Healthcare Association, board of The Joint Commission and culminating as Chairman of the American Hospital Association.

“Dennis understood both the big picture and the finite detail, applying both to all he did. He mentored and influenced countless leaders, who today work for Cone Health and health systems around the nation. Our former CEO Tim Rice and I were fortunate to have Dennis’ friendship, expertise and wise counsel,” adds Akin.


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