After 18 years working as CEO for St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, Ed Goldberg is resigning.
Goldberg, 61, told co-workers in February about his decision to resign, which he made after being diagnosed with the rare cancer Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia -- also known as WM lymphoma -- in May 2011. His last day is Nov. 2.
Only about five in 1 million people are diagnosed with the disease each year, Goldberg said. The cancer is uncurable and the median survival rate is approximately five years, he said.
"That got me thinking," he said. "It seemed like a good time (to resign)."
While he thinks public funds should be used only to research diseases that affect many people, Goldberg said he hopes research for WM lymphoma will continue to gain private funding, as it may help find a cure for other cancers too.
"Research in any cancer can spread, can help anybody," he said, adding that WM lymphoma is similar, but in his opinion not as bad, as some other cancers.
During Goldberg's time as CEO, the medical center was named a top 100 hospital in the nation, won the Gallup Great Work Place award for three consecutive years, and received high physician satisfaction scores, among many other successes.
While he is pleased with all those accomplishments, Goldberg said the best moment in his career is yet to come. On Oct. 11, he will be inducted in the Studer Group Hall of Fame, which annually honors health care professionals that make a difference.
"My guiding philosophy is if you take good care of your employees and physicians, they'll take good care of the patients," he said.
Once he leaves St. Alexius, Goldberg is looking forward to spending time with his wife and 12-year-old yellow lab. He hopes to catch up on sleep and exercise, two things he said he hasn't had much time to do in his 38 years as a health care administrator.
In his free time, Goldberg plans to continue coaching young people who want to become a physician, by giving them advice on writing personal statements and on interview techniques for medical school. He also recently sent a draft of a book he wrote called "So You Want to be a Physician?" to an editor.
Goldberg said he does not know when the medical center will announce his successor, but he is aware of an active national search to fill the position.
"I'm confident they're going to find a wonderful person," he said.