Lovelace Division

Vesta Sandoval, MD

Chief Medical Officer


As an integral part of the Lovelace family, Dr. Sandoval has served as past Chief of Staff at Lovelace Medical Center, Chair of the Ethics Committee, and served as chair or member of Critical Care, Stroke, Peer Review and Credentials Committees. She also served as the Director of the intensive care unit (ICU) and Director of Respiratory services for Lovelace Westside Hospital, Lovelace Women’s Hospital and Lovelace Medical Center. She is now Vice president of the Lovelace Medical Center hospital board of directors and serves on the Board of the Greater Albuquerque Medical Association.

Dr Sandoval was born and raised in New Mexico, graduating from Los Lunas High School and attending college on a basketball scholarship.

Dr. Sandoval received a bachelor of science degree from University of Texas at Arlington in Arlington, TX and a master of science degree from University of Houston at Clear Lake in Houston, TX. She earned her degree in medicine from Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Lubbock, TX. Dr. Sandoval completed her internal medicine residency at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, as well as her fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care medicine.

Dr. Sandoval has been a Fellow of American Chest Physicians since 2001. She was named a Top Doc by ABQ the Magazine in 2012.

Dr. Sandoval continues to see patients at the Lovelace Medical Group Pulmonary clinic located in the Lovelace Medical Towers, 500 Walter St. N.E., Suite 501.

Gary Whittington

Chief Financial Officer


Whittington has served as chief financial officer for Lovelace Health System since December 2017. He brings over 18 years of corporate accounting experience in health care, most recently as the market chief financial officer at Baptist Health System (a division of Tenet Healthcare/Vanguard Health Systems) in San Antonio, Texas. In his time with Tenet, Gary was responsible for financial activities of the Baptist Health System (BHS), including five hospitals with 1,700 beds, over 25 outpatient ambulatory sites, a school of health professionals, a real estate division and many centralized market functions. His leadership resulted in the system being one of the company’s top performers.

Prior to joining Lovelace, Gary served at a variety of health care facilities and systems, including Riley Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi; Venice Regional Medical Center in Venice, Florida; and Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. He was also a senior manager at Padden, Guerrini & Assoc., PC in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.

Gary earned a bachelor of science in business administration (BSBA) with a major in accounting from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in Shippensburg, PA. He is a certified public accountant.

Janelle Raborn

Chief Operating Officer


Janelle Raborn has been with Lovelace Health System since 1982 and has served as chief executive officer at Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital (prior to it becoming Lovelace UNM Rehabilitation Hospital), chief operating officer at Lovelace Medical Center, chief operating officer at Lovelace Women’s Hospital and now, most recently as chief operating officer for Lovelace Health System.

Janelle has more than 35 years of experience in administrative and operational oversight of health care organizations. Under her leadership, Lovelace Women’s Hospital earned a Hospital of Choice award from the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers, with the hospital going on to earn it every year since. She also co-authored an application in which Lovelace Health System was awarded a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Demonstration Project, making Lovelace just one of five sites in the country to receive approval. After Janelle assumed the role of chief executive officer at Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital, it received the Most Improved Employee Satisfaction score recognition from Lovelace’s parent company, Ardent Health Services.

Janelle is committed to health of our local community, having served as the chair of the House Operations Committee for the Ronald McDonald House. She has also served as a mentor for the Leadership Albuquerque Robert Wood Johnson Program, helping to guide and mentor our future leaders and was a New Mexico Business First Women of Influence nominee.

Janelle has a master’s of business administration from the University of New Mexico.

Ron Stern

President and Chief Executive Officer


Ron Stern has been the president and chief executive officer of Lovelace Health System since 2005. Under Ron’s leadership, Lovelace Health System has expanded their facilities, services and technology.

In August 2011, Ron oversaw the acquisition of Heart Hospital of New Mexico, giving our patients, health plan members and the community more access to important cardiac services, state-of-the-art technology and outstanding clinical quality and customer service. In 2012, Ron expanded Lovelace Health System into southeastern New Mexico, with the purchase of Lovelace Regional Hospital in Roswell. Southwest Medical Associates, now known as Lovelace Medical Group, became part of Lovelace Health System in the fall of 2012. 2016 saw Lovelace Health System and University of New Mexico Health System announce a new joint partnership to create Lovelace UNM Rehabilitation Hospital. In 2019, the largest cardiology group in the state, New Mexico Heart Institute (NMHI), joined Lovelace Medical Group, further deepening the close partnership between NMHI surgeons and the Heart Hospital of New Mexico at Lovelace Medical Center. 

Under Ron’s leadership, Lovelace Health System was named a Top 15 Health System by Truven Analytics for 2016-2017. Lovelace hospitals have been named to Modern Healthcare’s Best Places to Work in Healthcare every year since 2008.

Since 2003, nearly $405 million has been invested into Lovelace’s facilities. Lovelace paid more than $245 million in salaries and wages to its employees in 2018 and provided more than $44 million in uncompensated care to the community of New Mexico.

Prior to joining Lovelace, Ron served as Chief Executive Officer for Century City Hospital and Midway Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles, Calif. In this role, Ron led two acute care hospitals in adjoining communities, serving distinctly different patient populations. Century City Hospital has a national reputation for high-end cancer care, neurosurgery and other surgical specialties. Midway Hospital is a traditional community hospital with an active emergency room and large primary care base.

Ron holds a master’s degree in health care administration from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baruch College in New York City. 

Ron is active in the Albuquerque community and served on various boards, including the Association of Commerce & Industry of New Mexico, Economic Forum, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Central New Mexico.