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Hometown: Clinton, Iowa

Family: Three children: Jateum 26 (RN is Nurse practitioner school), Daniel 21 (Actuarial Science student at SIUE), Isabella, 13 (7th grade)

Education: Master's degree in hospital and health administration and a bachelor's degree in political science from The University of Iowa. Currently completing master's degree in theology from Saint Meinrad School of Theology.

Hobbies/interests: Exercising, reading/learning about any subject.

My first job: My family-owned a karate school, so my first job was teaching karate.

Why I do what I do: Working in health care allows me to work in a career that helps people in times of need. I especially enjoy Catholic health care because it allows me to live out my faith through my work. I also enjoy challenges and complex environments. Health care is a very challenging and complex environment, and it allows me to be visionary, operational and political all at the same time.

Personal approaches to challenges: Since health care is full of challenges, approaching each challenge in an objective way is important. It is always important to take time to reflect on the challenge and then decide on the best course of action.

Community involvement: Member of the Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce and Education Coalition of Macon County boards.

What attracted you to the St. Mary's job? I have been a part of Hospital Sisters Health System for eight years. I believe in their mission and enjoy working with the sisters and leadership. St. Mary’s has a wonderful reputation in HSHS.

What are the major challenges confronting hospitals today? What is St. Mary's doing to address these challenges? Hospitals face increasing challenges related to reimbursement, difficulty recruiting physicians and nurses and treating many uninsured patients. Regarding financial challenges, we focus on being efficient as possible and providing high quality health care at the lowest cost possible. We provide a great environment to work in so that we can attract talented physician and nurses. HSHS St. Mary’s mission is focused on treating all in need so we operate efficiently so that we can continue to treat those without insurance or means to pay.

You are the leader of one of the city's largest employers. Is the job of hospital CEO the same as leading any large company? How does it differ? I think all businesses have the same type of challenges. Attracting talented employees is a major part of every business. Providing a quality product or service is also important to every business. Health care is unique in its own way but so is banking, farming, retail or any other business. We all face challenges.

One of the first things you did upon your arrival was host town hall meetings with your new team. What did you take away from those meetings? I very much enjoyed the town hall meetings. It gave me a chance to discuss issues with the majority of colleagues and to answer some of their questions. Interacting with our colleagues is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job.

In your initial assessment of the hospital, you set goals. What steps have been taken/are being planned to:

  • Make St. Mary's more visible in the community? We are focused on elevating health care in our community through community benefits that allow individuals to gain access to health care, and to encourage the overall health and wellness of our community. You can expect to see more community benefit programs sponsored by HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital.
  • To improve quality? Our quality team works with the HSHS Central Illinois Division to continually review practices and policies to ensure that we meet quality standards, and provide the best care to our patients.
  • To attract more specialty physicians? Decatur is a wonderful community, and is making great strides in development. In addition to our major renovations, technological advances and our dedication to engaging our colleagues and physicians, we hope that the changes the city and surrounding areas are making will help attract more physicians who want to stay in our community. Further, we have established partnerships with physicians groups in other areas who travel to Decatur to ensure that we have coverage for specialty areas.

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Deputy Night Editor

Deputy night editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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