CEO Joan Coffman: Improving Health in St. Joseph's Hospital's Community

Joan M. Coffman, FACHE, serves as president and CEO of St. Joseph's Hospital in Chippewa Falls, Wis., an organization she joined in April 2008 as COO.

St. Joseph's Hospital is part of Springfield, Ill.-based Hospital Sisters Health System, and Ms. Coffman also serves as vice president for physician relations for the HSHS Western Wisconsin Division.

Ms. Coffman started her career in healthcare in New Orleans as a radiologic technologist. She Joan Coffman Web Postingeventually became CEO of a multispecialty physician clinic and, later, assistant administrator for Lindy Boggs Medical Center in New Orleans. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in August 2005, Ms. Coffman coordinated the emergency evacuation and relocation of the hospital's patients. Subsequently, she coordinated the closure of the hospital after it sustained extensive flood damage during the storm.

After Ms. Coffman took the reins at St. Joseph's in 2010, the hospital received the American Hospital Association's 2013 NOVA award, which honors effective, collaborative programs focused on improving community health status. St. Joseph's received the award for its Chippewa Health Improvement Partnership, which launched in 1994. CHIP involves the hospital, schools, churches, senior centers and others to improve the health of the community. For instance, after patients continually came to the hospital's emergency department with dental problems, CHIP's efforts helped establish a federally qualified dental center.

"We all want stronger, healthier communities. We want that for ourselves, for our families, for our neighbors — and if we don't begin this at a grassroots level and duplicate it one community at a time, we won't ever get there. It'll overcome us," Ms. Coffman told the AHA.

Ms. Coffman further serves the community as a member of the Family Support Center board of directors and as chair of the Chippewa Valley United Way board. She also serves on the Rural Health Issues Group of HHS' Office of Rural Health Policy.

Ms. Coffman earned a MBA from the University of New Orleans and is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

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