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Home - Who We Are - Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees

Vincent Sweeney

Vincent Sweeney is president of Syracuse Office Environments and has been involved with the leadership of various community organizations such as Project Children, National Kidney Foundation, Chadwick Residence and Independent Living Services. A 1974 graduate of Siena College in Loudonville, NY, Mr. Sweeney has also served on St. Joseph's Council of Advisors

Leslie Paul Luke
President and Chief Executive Officer

Leslie Paul Luke serves as the 14th President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Joseph’s Health, a non-profit regional health care system that encompasses a 16-county service area across Upstate New York. Mr. Luke joined St. Joseph’s in February 2017. Prior to joining St. Joseph’s, Les served as Regional CEO of Tennova Healthcare, a six hospital system in Knoxville, TN with net revenues of $650 million. He also held the role of CEO at Physicians Regional Medical Center, Tennova’s flagship hospital. 

Les was born in St. Louis, MO but raised in Hawaii where his parents are from.  His father was a general surgeon who did his training in Syracuse.  In 1991 he got his first CEO role at a 50-bed, not for profit hospital in Kentucky.  Les then went to Erlanger Medical Center in Tennessee, an 850-bed tertiary medical center where he was responsible for quality improvement and marketing.  He developed QIP teams and became agile in facilitation of quality improvement efforts while learning how to impact change through influence.  Since then he served as CEO of three other hospitals, and in 2006, he joined Community Health Systems where he held several key leadership roles. 

Mr. Luke holds a bachelor's degree in Sociology and a master’s degree in Health Administration from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. 

Sister Mary Obrist Sister Mary Obrist
Secretary / Treasurer 

After more than 50 years of service to St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center, Sister Mary Obrist retired in 2009. Sister Mary most recently served as Vice President for Support Services, overseeing Facilities, and Materials, Environmental, Transport, Nutritional, Pharmacy Services, Auxiliary and Volunteers. Sister Mary started first as a radiology technician back in the 1950s. During her career, she supervised countless building improvements, projects and renovations.

In honor of Sister Mary’s service, the “Lifetime of Service Award” was unveiled in 2008, which features the names of employees who have served St. Joseph’s for at least 40 years. Sister Mary’s dedication and commitment to St. Joseph’s is truly an inspiration to all.

Sister Helen Marie Burns

Sr. Helen Marie Burns has been a member of St. Joseph's Board of Trustees since 2015. She is a writer and team member for Trinity Health’s Performing Catholic Identity program and is also a member of the Board of Trustees for Mercy Hospital Iowa City (Iowa) and Carlow University (Pennsylvania). She holds a Doctorate in Religion and Religious Thought in American @ University of Iowa. Her personal interests are: a Sister of Mercy for fifty-plus years, served in leadership for twenty-plus years; currently involved in writing articles and offering presentations on the history of religious life (especially for women), the Sisters of Mercy (charism and tradition), and women’s concerns within the Church and society; enjoy reading and walking, visiting with family and friends.

Benjamin R. Carter, CPA, FHFMA

Ben Carter is Interim Executive Vice President, East Group at Trinity. He provides executive leadership and direction for the operations of all east group ministry organizations to ensure safe, high quality health care delivery and services that meet each community's needs. He forges strong relationships with physicians and associates at every level. He addresses concerns with compassion and knowledge to help achieve positive outcomes to complex issues.

Carter recognizes and appreciates the diversity of challenges in each market Trinity Health serves. As health care enters a new age of reform, he is focusing his efforts on improving performance, patient safety and growth initiatives.

Carter has been the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Trinity Health for the past 7 years, and has extensive knowledge of the organization leading all aspects of the Finance, Treasury, Risk Management, Revenue Excellence and Payer Strategies system wide.

Prior to joining Trinity Health, Carter served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Detroit Medical Center, where he was responsible for the operations of the regional system’s eight hospitals and related outpatient facilities. During his tenure there, Carter was instrumental in the DMC’s financial turnaround, which resulted in six consecutive years of profitability. He led key growth, cost reduction and profit initiatives in multiple service lines. Prior to leading DMC operations, Carter spent nearly 17 years in executive-level positions at Oakwood Healthcare in Dearborn, MI. He started his career at Plante Moran in Southfield, MI., where he worked for eight years.

Carter has served on several boards including Care Tech Solutions, Inc., DMC Care Express, the Invest Michigan Advisory Board and Boys Hope Girls Hope of Detroit. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants and the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Carter is an alumnus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he graduated magna cum laude with Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in business administration.

George Deptula, Esq. George Deptula, Esq.

George Deptula serves as St. Joseph’s chair of the board of trustees. Deptula, a resident of Syracuse, graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from College of the Holy Cross in 1964. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the Harvard Law School in 1967.

Deptula served several positions for Onondaga County (Former President, Board of Directors; Member, Executive Committee) and the New York State Bar Associations (Former Chair, Business Law Section; Executive Committee, Business Law Section; House of Delegates).

Deptula was an instructor for the New York State Bar Association, Banking Law Institute and in 2006 he was named one of The Best Lawyers in America.

Santo DiFino, MD

Dr Santo DiFino practices at Oncology Associates of CNY and is the Department Chair for Internal Medicine at St. Joseph's Health. Dr. DiFino received is Doctorate at NJ Medical School/University of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ, Newark. Dr. Difino has been a member of St. Joseph's Board of Trustees since 2014. 

John D. Marshall, CPA

John D. Marshall, CPA, is Partner at Testone, Marshall and Discenza, CPAs where he offers expertise in business and individual taxation, acquisitions and mergers, and financial and estate planning.  He is a member of New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Estate Planning Council of Central New York.  Mr. Marshall serves on the Le Moyne College Accounting Advisory Board of Directors, on the Advisory Board of Le Moyne College's School of Business and is past chairman and a member of the Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) Board of  Trustees.  He is also a member of Sentry Life Insurance of New York Board of Directors and LaFesta Italiana, Syracuse Committee.  He was honored as recipient of CBA's Purple and Gold Alumni Award and Le Moyne's 2011 Business Leader of the Year Award.  Mr. Marshall will be awarded with the President’s Medallion from Catholic Charities in May 2013.  He is a graduate of Le Moyne College with a B.S. in Accounting.

Gina Myers, PhD, RN 

Dr. Myers becomes the first nurse to be elected to the St. Joseph’s Board of Trustees. She received her Doctorate in Nursing from Binghamton University and MS degree in Nursing Administration from SUNY Institute of Technology. Currently Dr. Myers serves as a research consultant for St. Joseph’s and is an adjunct professor of nursing at
Le Moyne College.  Earlier in her career, she worked at St. Joseph’s as the Director for Critical Care, Cardiac, and Emergency Services. She is involved in a number of research projects and has published on a variety of nursing topics.

Merriette Chance Pollard

Merriette Chance Pollard currently serves as a Consultant,  Co Chairs Medgar Evers College Social Work Program Advisory Board ; serves on the on the Advisory Boards for Visions and MEC Preparatory High School Radio Studio; serves on the Links Incorporated National International Trends Committee; and works on university committees when requested. Pollard received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Shaw University with a Major in Education and a Minor in Biology; her Master of Arts Degree from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration with a concentration in Social Treatment (Individual, Family and Group Therapy), and Certification in Gerontology from the Center for Studies in Aging, North Texas State University. She has done further post graduate study (ABD) at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University.

No Image Available Pawan Rao, MD

Dr. Pawan Rao practices at Nephrology Hypertension Associates of Central New York, specializing in internal medicine and nephrology. Dr. Rao is board certified from the American Board of Internal Medicine. His specific clinical interests include chronic kidney disease, dialysis, hypertension, metabolic disorders and kidney transplantation.

William Roberts, MD

Dr. William Roberts graduated from SUNY Upstate Medical University in 1969 with his MD. He completed his Internship and Residency at SUNY Upstate Medical University, as well. A physician emeritus, Dr. Roberts was employed with Syracuse Urology Associates and was one of St. Joseph’s leading surgeons using the Da Vinci Surgical System for prostate surgery. Dr. Roberts served as a member of St. Joseph’s medical staff from 1977 to 2009.

Paul G. Tremont

Paul G. Tremont is president of SRC, Inc., an independent, not-for-profit research and development company with more than 50 years of experience in defense, environment and intelligence. Mr. Tremont holds a bachelor’s degree in forestry from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and a master’s of business administration degree in management science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Central New York, the Environmental Science and Forestry College Foundation, and CenterState CEO. He is a member of the Association of Old Crows, the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association and the Association of the United States Army.