More than 200 fellow medical professionals and dear friends gathered at Cooperstown’s Otesaga Resort Hotel on Friday morning to honor the 30-year career of a man they call “a visionary.”
Dr. William Streck, president and chief executive officer of the Bassett Healthcare Network, was recognized at a Friends of Bassett President’s Forum breakfast for his contributions not only to Bassett, but to health care at the state and national level, as well.
Streck retires at the end of June after overseeing Bassett’s growth from a small rural hospital to a national leader in rural health care delivery. His peers say they will also remember him for his genuine compassion, integrity, honesty, humility and sense of humor.
“Of course, he has brought intelligence,” said Dan Sisto, president of the Healthcare Association of New York for 27 years, “but he also has a big heart. He is extraordinarily compassionate, yet pragmatic, and extremely humble. What his colleagues like about him is that he related to them, whether they worked at a tiny rural hospital or a large urban one.”
Sisto, who has worked closely with Streck on state and national health care policy issues for many years, said Streck was ahead of his time and called him “the Steve Jobs of health care, but with a more personable demeanor.”
Streck brought strategic vision and personal leadership to every issue Bassett was faced with, Sisto said. At the same time, his humor and speaking skills gave listeners the ability to comprehend complex problems and the initiative to engage solutions. Most importantly, Sisto said, his leadership meant “walking the talk.”
Streck has had a tremendous impact on Oneonta, Cooperstown and the state of New York, Sisto said. He set Bassett on a groundbreaking path for the future and oversees an outreach system of six hospitals, more than 40 community and school-based health centers and various health partners serving eight counties across 5,600 square miles in rural upstate New York.