Fred Lee had the enviable distinction of having been both a senior vice president of one of the largest medical centers in the United States and a cast member at Disney University. Disney recruited him because of his expertise in helping hospitals achieve a culture that inspires compassion and elicits both patient and employee loyalty. At Disney, he helped adapt and facilitate Disney’s Approach to Quality Service for the Healthcare Industry. Using his insider’s experience and his keen eye for cultural comparisons, he wrote his best-selling book and shared his insights with healthcare groups all over the country and around the world.

His seminars were dynamic, inspiring, and immensely practical. He motivated healthcare managers by talking their language, using real-life hospital examples, and having walked in their shoes. His lectures were captured during a two-day live seminar and are available on DVD at

Fred won the 2005 ACHE James A. Hamilton healthcare book of the year award with his book, If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9½ Things You Would Do Differently, which has sold over 250,000 copies in English and almost 250,000 copies in Dutch, Portuguese, and Korean. A bestseller, the book is being translated into Mandarin Chinese expecting to be released in China in 2017.

From the time Fred wrote his book in 2004, he traveled with his wife and business partner, Aura (a former director of nursing in Orlando, Florida), lecturing across the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, England, and The Netherlands, sharing his passion and teaching concepts of patient loyalty, the patient experience, and compassion of caregivers.

Fred began his healthcare career at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in Shawnee Mission, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. During his five years there as vice president for marketing and development, he won several national awards for innovative approaches to patient satisfaction and loyalty. In 1990 he became a trained Baldrige examiner and a consultant in total quality management, instructing hospital facilitators in the Deming PDCA process improvement cycle. He was then invited to be a senior vice president at Florida Hospital in Orlando, where he developed a nationally acclaimed guest relations program.

When Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, won the national Malcolm Baldrige Award, their Chief Nursing Officer credits Fred Lee’s teachings with finally giving their managers a new approach to patient perceptions that brought them breakthrough scores that put them over the top for the Baldrige

In April 2015, Fred was appointed to the “My VA Advisory Committee” by Robert A. McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This was a prestigious appointment that let Fred share his passion with some of the leading healthcare leaders in the country.

Although he was born in Kunming, China, spoke Mandarin Chinese, and his surname was Lee, he was not Chinese. His parents were Caucasian American missionaries who were also born in China to missionary parents.

Fred’s greatest desire was for healthcare leaders and caregivers to instill these concepts for future generations. He will occupy a permanent place in American Healthcare’s Pantheon of Patient Loyalty, Patient Experience, and Compassion by caregivers.

Fred Lee passed away on Sunday evening, March 26, 2017, of complications from neuro-surgery due to glioblastoma.

Fred M. Lee
Author, Lecturer, and Guiding Light
08/08/1939 to 03/26/2017
He will truly be missed.

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