Craig Deao, MHA


Since 2006, Craig Deao, MHA, has been an integral part of Huron | Studer Group as a senior leader for the organization’s speaking and conferences teams, and he now directs thought leadership across Huron’s broader healthcare business. Craig is a highly regarded national speaker on leadership, engagement, quality and patient safety. He works with medical staffs and healthcare executives to create highly reliable organizations where employees want to work, physicians want to practice and patients want to receive care. He also co-led the organization’s journey to become a recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2010. In 2016, Craig harnessed his field experience in healthcare to author the book The E Factor: How Engaged Patients, Clinicians, Leaders, and Employees Will Transform Healthcare. In addition to his full-time work with Huron | Studer Group, he serves as faculty for the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

Born and raised in New Orleans, Craig received two bachelor’s degrees from Louisiana State University. He received a master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of Minnesota. Craig now lives in Pensacola, Florida, where he serves on the quality committee of his local health system. He is married to Julie and is the proud father of Sam and Jack.

Professional Experience

Craig’s career has been a blend of operational leadership and hands-on experience in the field. As a result, he’s been able to use within the company the same Evidence-Based Leadershipâ„  principles Huron | Studer Group teaches its partners. He’s seen firsthand the power of hardwiring a handful of practices that align goals, behaviors and processes with employee engagement and customer loyalty for Huron | Studer Group, both ranked in the top 1% nationally. His fieldwork focuses on partnering with senior leadership to achieve breakthrough transformation that actually sustains. He is an author of numerous articles in healthcare publications, as well as a book on engagement, and speaks to tens of thousands of leaders annually. Prior to joining Huron | Studer Group, Craig served in several capacities for VHA (now Vizient), including patient safety improvement and executive networking, connecting 2,000 nonprofit health system members across the nation.

Industry Speaking Engagements

  • American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Congress on Healthcare Leadership (2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019
  • American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Faculty On-Location Events (13 events, 2013-2016
  • American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Regional Cluster Workshops (17 events, 2011-2017
  • American Health Care Association (AHCA) | National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) Quality Summit (2017)
  • American Hospital Association Annual Membership Meeting (2016
  • American Society of Anesthesiologists (2019)
  • American Society for Quality (ASQ) World Conference on Quality and Improvement (2011
  • Association of periOperative Registered Nurses Center for Nursing Leadership (2013)
  • British Columbia Patient Safety & Quality Council — Quality Forum 2020, Vancouver, BC (2020)
  • Canadian College of Health Leaders — Banff, BC (2014, 2017)
  • Cerner Health Conference (CHC) (2017, 2018)
  • Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Chapter Meetings — Colorado, Alabama (2018, 2019)
  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care (2011-2013
  • National Association of Health Services Executives 32nd Annual Educational Conference (2017)
  • OR Manager Conference (2018)
  • The Joint Commission Ambulatory Care Conference (2016, 2018)
  • The Quest for Excellence® Conference: The Official Conference of the Baldrige Award (2011, 2012, 2014)
  • Western Regional Trustee Symposium (2014, 2016)
  • What’s Right in Health Care® — Sydney, Australia (2018)

Education and Certifications

  • Master’s degree, Healthcare Administration, University of Minnesota
  • Bachelor of Arts, Mass Communication, Louisiana State University
  • Bachelor of Science, Animal, Dairy, and Poultry Science, Louisiana State University
  • Trainer, Crew Resource Management
  • Certified, Lean for Healthcare

Professional Associations

  • Member, American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)


  • The E-Factor: How Engaged Patients, Clinicians, Leaders, and Employees Will Transform Healthcare. Firestarter Publishing, 2017.
  • “Moving to Patient Engagement.” Healthcare Executive magazine (Publication of the American College of Healthcare Executives), Jan/Feb 2020.
  • “Patient Engagement.” Book chapter within peer-reviewed medical textbook, Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice, 2019.
  • “The 3 Whys of Compelling Communication.” Healthcare Executive magazine (Publication of the American College of Healthcare Executives), March/April 2015.
  • “Performance-Driven Giving.” Trustee magazine (Publication of the American Hospital Association), July 2012.
  • “The Data Is In: Service Excellence Cultivates Giving.” Healthcare Philanthropy (Publication of the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy), Spring 2011 | Healthcare Philanthropy Journal Award, 2011.

Signature Engagements

  • Frequent keynote speaker at national healthcare events with average audience ratings above a 9.5 on a 10-point scale
  • Trusted adviser to senior leadership teams at dozens of healthcare delivery organizations
  • Faculty for the American College of Healthcare Executives since 2011
  • Co-led Huron | Studer Group’s efforts to become recognized as a 2010 recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest presidential honor for sustainable excellence through visionary leadership, organizational alignment, systemic improvement and innovation
  • Recipient of the Flame award, Huron | Studer Group’s highest recognition for employees

Download Presskit Button

Book This Speaker

  • Craig Deao

    Craig Deao, MHA

Book Speaker
Download Speaker Press Kit Download Bio
Print Page