McLaren Northern Michigan names Garfield (Gar) Atchison President and CEO

McLaren Health Care and the McLaren Northern Michigan Board of Trustees have named Gar Atchison, MBA, as President and Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Northern Michigan. His appointment follows a national search conducted in coordination with McLaren Health Care, McLaren Northern Michigan executive leadership, members of the medical staff, and the McLaren Northern Michigan Board of Trustees.

Starting toward the end of November, Atchison assumes the role previously held in the interim by Chad Grant, McLaren Health Care Chief Operating Officer, following the departure of the previous executive in May.

“Through its broad range of services, both those provided at the hospital and through its network of outpatient facilities, and its ability to create access to care throughout the region, McLaren Northern Michigan is a vital asset to the northern Michigan community,” Grant said. “With his impressive leadership experience and history in northern Michigan, Gar and the McLaren Northern Michigan team are well positioned to serve the many needs of the region now and for years to come.”

For Atchison, this will be a homecoming of sorts. He began his career in Petoskey as a financial operations manager at what was then Northern Michigan Hospital, the organization he now leads before it joined McLaren Health Care.

“In meeting with Gar, it was clearly evident that he is a dynamic and confident leader with a deep understanding and warmth for the region,” said Dennis Hesselink, McLaren Northern Michigan Board of Trustees Board Chair. “With his experience and a career filled with accomplishments, we are confident Gar’s leadership will guide McLaren Northern Michigan toward continued growth and success.”

Most recently serving as Regional President and CEO of Marquette-based UP Health System, Atchison brings more than 30 years of health care leadership experience to the role, along with a familiarity of the communities and needs of northern Michigan.

“This is a full-circle moment for me, and I’m thrilled to be coming home,” Atchison said. “I have deep roots in Petoskey, and, with family and loved ones throughout northern Michigan, I am personally invested in the care and wellbeing of these communities. I am excited to be joining this excellent team of doctors and staff members routinely recognized for its quality and safety.”

Following his time at Northern Michigan Hospital, Atchison served as the administer of a Petoskey-based orthopedic practice before continuing his career, holding positions of increasing responsibility, including Vice President of Business Development, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Executive Officer of 355-bed Frye Regional Medical Center, a comprehensive provider serving Hickory, North Carolina.

Atchison graduated from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks after having earned his degree in financial management. He continued his education, earning a Master of Business Administration from Lake Superior State University. In addition to his professional duties, Atchison is a fellow with the American College of Medical Practice Executives and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.

McLaren Northern Michigan, following its 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has earned a succession of recognitions and distinctions for patient safety, cardiac care, and stroke care from national organizations, and was recently named to the national 100 Top Hospitals list by Fortune and PINC AI.

McLaren Northern Michigan recently expanded its service offerings with the opening of the Justin A. Borra Behavioral Health Center at its Cheboygan Campus in the summer of 2023, addressing a significant need for behavioral health services in northern Michigan. The organization also significantly invested in its team of caregivers and support staff, helping McLaren Northern Michigan to become an employer of choice in the region.

Learn more about all of the services provided within McLaren Northern Michigan and through its locations across northern Michigan at

About McLaren Northern Michigan
McLaren Northern Michigan is a 202-bed regional referral center located in Petoskey, serving residents in 22 counties across northern Lower Michigan and the eastern part of the Upper Peninsula. More than 230 physicians represent nearly all medical and surgical specialties, enabling full-service care with an emphasis on cardiology, cancer, orthopedics and neurosciences. McLaren Northern Michigan is a certified Primary Stroke Center, as designated by the Joint Commission. The hospital has a network of primary care providers and specialty care clinics throughout the region, and an outpatient surgery center in Cheboygan. Learn more at

About McLaren Health Care
McLaren Health Care, headquartered in Grand Blanc, Michigan, is a $6.6 billion, fully integrated health care delivery system committed to quality, evidence-based patient care and cost efficiency. The McLaren system includes 14 hospitals in Michigan, ambulatory surgery centers, imaging centers, a 490-member employed primary and specialty care physician network, commercial and Medicaid HMOs covering more than 732,838 lives in Michigan and Indiana, home health, infusion and hospice providers, pharmacy services, a clinical laboratory network and a wholly owned medical malpractice insurance company. McLaren operates Michigan’s largest network of cancer centers and providers, anchored by the Karmanos Cancer Institute, one of only 53 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S. McLaren has 28,000 full-, part-time and contracted employees and more than 113,000 network providers throughout Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. Learn more at