Dr. Michael Gowder (Union General Hospital, Blairsville, Ga.)

Michael Gowder, DDS, is CEO of the 45-bed acute care, rural Union General Hospital, based in Blairsville, Ga. Union General Hospital operates nine healthcare facilities and employs more than 1,000 workers.

Dr. Gowder has led Union General Hospital as CEO since January 2013. As CEO, Dr. Gowder has helped expand specialty Michael Gowderservices and led the commencement of a $5 million expansion of Union General's subsidiary Chatuge Regional Hospital, based in Hiawassee, Ga. Slated to finish early 2015, the expansion includes a 10-bed geriatric-psychiatric unit, an in-house MRI and an outpatient rehabilitation center. Dr. Gowder has maintained his goal to keep Union General Hospital debt free throughout renovations and additions.

Previously, Dr. Gowder served as the hospital's COO for 14 years. During his tenure as COO, the hospital acquired Chatuge Regional Hospital and Nursing Home, opened a dialysis center and cancer treatment center and completed a $34 million expansion and renovation. The renovations added a state-of-the-art ICU, medical surgical unit, labor and delivery unit, quadrupled the size of the emergency department and installed wireless patient monitoring throughout the facility.

Dr. Gowder graduated from Emory University School of Dentistry in 1987 and established a successful dental practice. He suffered a serious hand injury and retired from the practice, but continued his career in healthcare as administrator of a home healthcare agency before joining Union General Hospital in 1999.

Dr. Gowder is a Blairsville native and lifelong resident of the Georgia town.

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