If not for the accent, it would be easy to mistake Dr. Jonathan Ringo for a hometown boy.
Sinai Hospital of Baltimore's recently named president and chief operating officer has extensive local ties.
His wife, mother-in-law and five of his six children were born at Sinai and he did his medical training at the hospital. He's also served in a number of roles there, including as a practicing OB/GYN.
Ringo, 48, is deeply rooted in the orthodox Jewish community in the region, with Sabbath dinners often involving at least 20 family members. His kids, age 4 to 16, attend five different area schools matching their personalities and interests.
But Ringo is from South Africa.
"It goes way back to when I was 6 years old and diagnosed with leukemia," he said. "There was no treatment in South Africa so I came to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston for experimental chemotherapy. ... I always felt afterward that I wanted to go into medicine."
Ringo, who remains in touch with the doctors who saved his life, returned to Boston to attend Brandeis University as an undergraduate. He earned a medical degree from the International University of Health Sciences, based in the Caribbean, though he did his training in Boston and Baltimore. He met his future wife through his future father-in-law, and after a stint in New York, it was clear where his family belonged.
"We'd come to Baltimore once a month, then two times a month and then three times," he said.
Ringo has worked in the Sinai health system since 2014, when he became LifeBridge Health's first chief medical information officer. He later became the system's vice president of clinical transformation to oversee system-wide case management, population health, medical informatics and ambulatory quality.
He became acting president four months ago when Amy Perry moved on to a health care organization in New Jersey.
Ringo said the hospital is functioning well since its shift in recent years to focus on health outcomes and away from a fee-for-service model, a move required by all hospitals in the state. And he doesn't plan a lot of big changes — only tweaks, and mostly for efficiency. That would include, for example, reducing wait times in the emergency room.
He still plans to see patients in the hospital's community health center, which he not only enjoys but said will allow him to keep the perspective of clinical staff and give him an up-close look at patient care.
Time away from his job will all go to his family, and particularly his children, he said.
"There is a spreadsheet on the fridge so we know who has to be where and when," he said with a laugh.
Dr. Jonathan Ringo
Job: President and chief operating officer of Sinai Hospital of Baltimore
Birthplace: South Africa
Education: Brandeis University and International University of Health Sciences, with medical training at Sinai Hospital
Family: Married with six children