Denise Hoover

Contributing Assistant Professor

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” –George Bernard Shaw

“The most important factors for success are patience, a focus on long-term rather than short-term results, reinvestment in people, product, and plant, and an unforgiving commitment to quality." –Robert B. McCurry (former Toyota executive)

You won’t have all the answers you need, and you are inevitably going to make human errors. Commit not to perfection but to kaizen—every day a little up—and to observing with the goal of deepening your understanding.


Denise's professional focuses are healthcare leadership, sustainability and quality, employee engagement and motivation, and Lean. She is currently the Service Line Director for Orthopedics, Neuroscience, & Rehabilitation at Salem Health. This role blends direct operational accountability for inpatient, outpatient, and acute rehabilitation care with responsibility across the continuum of care for quality, patient experience, financial performance, and employee and physician engagement in the orthopedic and neuroscience lines.

Prior to this role, Denise served as a project consultant, manager, and director in the Human Resources division at Salem Health. Her HR responsibilities included compensation, benefits, employee wellness, HRIS, and payroll for the health system. During her time in HR, she led a team that delivered fiscally sustainable and competitive benefits and compensation, launched an incentive-based wellness program, and reduced payroll errors by 66%.

Denise enjoys the opportunity to study and practice lean leadership in the healthcare setting and is particularly passionate about employee engagement and continuous improvement in quality and efficiency. She is always up for a debate on the appropriate use of healthcare dollars, compensation and motivation theories, or how our culture can move toward population health management.

In addition to being certified as a Project Management Professional, Denise has earned certifications including Senior Professional in Human Resources, Certified Employee Benefits Specialist, and was the first person in Oregon to hold the Certified in Healthcare Human Resources designation. She has served on the boards of the Willamette Chapter of the American Red Cross, the Oregon Coalition of Healthcare Purchasers, and the Oregon Society of Health Human Resource Administration.

Denise enjoys a variety of activities, including teaching scuba diving and dive safety courses, traveling, triathlon, cooking, reading, and adding to her to-do list.


  • M.B.A., Atkinson Graduate School of Management
  • B.A., The Colorado College

Areas of Instruction

Project Management