110 rural hospital and health system CEOs to know | 2024

Rural hospitals allow patients from remote areas to receive care without traveling long distances or sacrificing quality. The CEOs leading these necessary institutions take on a variety of responsibilities to ensure rural communities have access to top-tier healthcare.

The executives featured on this list are committed to expanding hospital service lines, renovating and improving their facilities, and hiring talented team members. Although many rural hospitals have struggled due to Covid-19 and national staffing shortages in recent years, these leaders have created sustainable models for continued success. 

Note: This list is not exhaustive and is not an endorsement of included leaders, organizations or healthcare providers. Leaders and organizations cannot pay for inclusion on this list. We extend a special thank you to Rhoda Weiss for her contributions to this list. Leaders are presented in alphabetical order. 

We accepted nominations for this list. Contact Anna Falvey at afalvey@beckershealthcare.com with questions or comments

Brett Altman, DPT. CEO of Cass Health (Atlantic, Iowa). Dr. Altman oversees planning, direction, provider recruitment, coordination and overall executive leadership to support Cass Health's mission. Thanks in large part to his leadership, the hospital has been named a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital by the National Rural Hospital Association every year since 2021 and has brought on over 70 new providers in less than seven years. From 2020-2023, Cass Health underwent a $20 million remodel, paid for with operating revenue without taking on any debt or touching reserves. Cass Health has nearly doubled patient volume and market share during the seven years of Dr. Altman's tenure.

Colleen Assavapisitkul, RN. President of Adventist Health Clear Lake (Roseville, Calif.). Ms. Assavapisitkul runs a 25-bed critical access hospital with more than a dozen rural health clinics. She is an MSN-prepared nurse leader with significant experience in executive leadership and is also a hospital accreditation certified professional. In her role as president, she has expanded the emergency department, improved quality scores and focused on excellent patient care throughout the hospital and clinics. She is well-versed in emergency management, leading the hospital through both wildfires and hospital evacuation procedures. She is also helping the hospital to launch a multispecialty medical office building that will house an additional rural health clinic.

Melissa Atkins. CEO of Graham County Hospital (Hill City, Kan.). Ms. Atkins, appointed CEO in 2012, previously served as a hospital board member and CFO. The 15-bed hospital was recognized as one of the top 20 critical access hospitals in the country in 2021 by the National Rural Health Association.

Kyle Bennett. President and CEO of Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center (Jasper, Ind.). Mr. Bennett has spent over 24 years serving Memorial Hospital and Healthcare Center in roles such as CFO and COO. For the last eight years, he has served as the 128-bed facility's president and CEO. The hospital has scored a 5-star rating in overall hospital quality from CMS since 2017.

Mark Boucot. CEO of Garrett Regional Medical Center (Oakland, Md.). Mr. Boucot has over 30 years of healthcare experience and has been serving Garrett Regional Medical Center's 55- inpatient bed facility since 2013. The medical center has more than 500 team members.

Jeremy Bradford. President and CEO of Calvert Health System (Prince Frederick, Md.). Mr. Bradford is responsible for the oversight of health system operations. In addition to developing, implementing and evaluating the organization's business strategies and ensuring compliance with healthcare laws and regulations, Mr. Bradford uses his 20-plus years of healthcare leadership experience to facilitate communication among key stakeholders such as medical staff, board members and community leaders. Most recently, Bradford spearheaded efforts to revitalize and refocus the health system by launching a new five-year strategic plan, as well as a new mission, vision and core values. He also serves as a board member for the Maryland Hospital Association.

Mick Brant. CEO of Gothenburg (Neb.) Health. Mr. Brant is responsible for managing Gothenburg Health's overall operations including delegating and directing agendas, driving profitability, managing the company's organizational structure, strategy, and communication with the board. Under his leadership, Gothenburg Health received an award from the Nebraska State Police Department for mobilizing its emergency staff to respond to a difficult-to-get-to accident and was credited with saving a young man’s life.

Scott Broome. CEO of MUSC Health Catawba Division (Charleston, S.C.). Mr. Broome is CEO of MUSC Health's Catawba Division, where he provides executive leadership over board collaboration, strategic direction, profit and loss management, development, recruitment and retainment, and the creation of a stable work environment. His work has helped to retain staff, enhance patient satisfaction, improve performance quality and grow service lines. Thanks to expanded service lines, critically ill patients are able to stay closer to home and achieve exceptional clinical outcomes.

Megan Brosious. Chief Administrative Officer for Geisinger's Central Region (Danville, Pa.). Ms. Brosious drives strategies to address care needs within the community, focusing on quality and efficiency within Geisinger's Central Region. She oversees the operation of hospitals and outpatient facilities in six counties, including Geisinger’s flagship hospital, Geisinger Medical Center. Under her leadership, Geisinger Medical Center received its fourth consecutive Magnet recognition and became the first hospital in the nation to earn a Comprehensive Heart Attack designation. Ms. Brosious also leads two additional acute hospitals, a same-day surgery and outpatient center, the area’s only Level I trauma center, a comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital, along with other specialty services not readily available in the rural area. She has been instrumental in Geisinger’s joint venture with Franklin, Tenn.-based Acadia Healthcare, which will develop two inpatient behavioral health facilities to fill care gaps and address increased service demands. Ms. Brosious also advocated for the region’s workplace violence prevention committee and launched the region’s employee engagement committee.

Cheryl Brown. CEO of Henderson (Neb.) Health Care Services. Ms. Brown has served as the CEO of Henderson Health Care Services since 2009. The institution comprises two rural health clinics, a 13-bed critical access hospital, various specialty clinics, diagnostic and laboratory services, long-term and assisted living facilities, and a surgical suite.

Doris Brown. CEO of Osborne (Kan.) County Memorial Hospital. Ms. Brown joined Osborne County Memorial Hospital in 2022. Prior, she was CEO of Gordon (Neb.) Memorial District Hospital for four years. She provides leadership for Osborne County Memorial Hospital's five family medicine providers, as well as six specialists who also come to Osborne.

Matt Campion. Administrator of Avera Hand County Memorial Hospital (Miller, S.D.). Mr. Campion has served as administrator and interim CEO for Avera Hand County Memorial Hospital since July 2022. He bolstered his skills for the role through Avera's administrative fellowship program before stepping into the role. The rural hospital has 25 staffed beds and newly renovated same-day surgery and recovery rooms.

Christina Campos. Administrator of Guadalupe County Hospital (Santa Rosa, N.M.). Ms. Campos leads a 10-bed acute care hospital, a role she has held since 2004. She oversaw the completion of a Silver LEED-certified building that opened in June 2011. In 2013, the hospital was given stage 6 designation from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. The hospital was named one of the top 20 rural community hospitals in the nation by The Chartis Center for Rural Health in 2019.

Michael Carroll. Administrator of Richland Parish Hospital-Delhi (La.). Mr. Carroll was a licensed nursing home administrator who led Richland Parish Hospital-Delhi since 2003. He held several additional leadership roles in the past, including president of the Northeast Louisiana Rural Alliance and secretary of the Delta Medical Society. Mr. Carroll passed in December 2023 after many years of service dedicated to rural health. 

Chris Clark, DO. President of AHN Grove City (Pa.) Hospital. A practicing family physician with years of leadership experience across Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Health Network, Dr. Clark assumed the role of president of AHN Grove City Hospital in 2023. Among other roles, he has previously served as senior vice president of medical affairs, chief quality officer and director of medical education. In his current role, he leads the 89-bed rural acute care facility, as well as six outpatient clinics and lab sites. Dr. Clark has been focusing on hospital improvement, following a 2022 plan to invest $20 million into an emergency room expansion, Epic EHR integration and more. Dr. Clark also serves as president of AHN Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie, Pa.

Carl Cline. Vice President and Administrator of Carilion Franklin Community Hospital (Roanoke, Va.). Mr. Cline oversees the staff and operations of Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital, a 37-bed rural community hospital. He has been with Carilion for 30 years. Under his leadership, the system has expanded specialty care and reduced its backlog of patients, improving wait times and length of stay. In the last few years, Carilion has launched the rural area's first neurology clinic. Mr. Cline also led a $15 million expansion project that added additional service lines, including podiatry and hand surgery. He also guided Carilion towards the expansion of its community health assessment, which identifies where the hospital needs to grow to meet demand.

Will Cook. President and CEO at Vail (Colo.) Health. Mr. Cook oversees the execution of the system's strategic pillars of affordability, accessibility, population health and sustainability to forward Vail Health's mission of elevating health across rural mountain communities. During his tenure as president and CEO, he has focused on expanding access to high-quality, affordable patient care, led the integration of primary and specialty care with the addition of Colorado Mountain Medical, oversaw the completion of a $350 million hospital renovation, and expanded operations in neighboring counties, including the opening of two new ambulatory surgery centers and a comprehensive outpatient medical center. He is passionate about addressing the community's behavioral health crisis, leading the launch of the Vail Health Behavioral Health Innovation Center and opening both an outpatient behavioral health clinic and a 28-bed inpatient behavioral health hospital that is expected to begin treating patients in 2025.

Michael Cureton. CEO at Sutter Amador Hospital (Sacramento, Calif.). Mr. Cureton leads Sutter Amador Hospital, the only hospital in rural Amador County. In this role, Mr. Cureton oversees all operations for the 52-bed community-based, not-for-profit hospital, which serves a population of more than 40,000 residents. Beyond direct oversight of his teams and facilities, he often serves as the face of Sutter Health for Jackson, Calif. and the surrounding region. He participates in panels and forums, speaks with media, engages with elected officials and represents Sutter at community meetings and events. He works closely with philanthropic donors, who have supported the purchase of updated medical equipment to help ensure great clinical outcomes and overall patient experience. Mr. Cureton also has a deep interest in population health management, quality improvement and innovation. He has led extensive research on the health needs of his community, leading needs assessments, key partnerships, and the prioritization of health equity, abuse treatment and food insecurity. Since the fall of 2023, Mr. Cureton has also been serving as interim CEO of Sutter Davis (Calif.) Hospital.

Jane Curran-Meuli. President of SSM Health Monroe (Wis.) Hospital and SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital - Janesville (Wis.). Ms. Curran-Meuli is hospital president for SSM Health Monroe Hospital and SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital - Janesville. She has over 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Ms. Curran-Meuli is in charge of setting strategic direction in alignment with SSM Health's priorities.

Randall Dauby. CEO of Pinckneyville (Ill.) Community Hospital District. Mr. Dauby leads a $36 million healthcare organization consisting of a critical access hospital, rural health clinic, senior life behavioral program and a rehabilitation and fitness center. He has served in rural healthcare leadership throughout his entire career and understands the fragile environment of rural health. He is constantly advocating for the needs of rural healthcare providers near and far. He has been essential to growing services at Pinckneyville Community Hospital and recently oversaw a $12 million expansion project there.

Paulette Davidson. President and CEO of Monument Health (Rapid City, S.D.). Ms. Davidson has been with Monument Health since 2015. She was previously the health system's COO. She is credited with initiating a $350 million project to expand several services at the hospital, including primary care, emergency services and hospital bed capacity.

William Davis. CEO of Crossroad Community Hospital (Mount Vernon, Ill.). Mr. Davis has been a transformational leader at Crossroads Community Hospital. He is highly involved with developing hospital growth strategies, encouraging continuous improvements in quality measures and supporting community involvement. Under his leadership, the hospital improved the process for Covid-19 screenings, reduced wait times, cultivated an enhanced waiting room atmosphere, developed a digital patient rounding process and expanded access to new clinics for the hospital.

Thomas Dee. President and CEO at Southwestern Vermont Healthcare (Bennington). Mr. Dee provides the strategic leadership necessary to ensure the delivery of high-quality, cost-effective care that meets community needs and responsibly utilizes fiscal, human and physical resources. He oversees the planning, directing and management of current operations, financial sustainability, future growth and program development. He supports physicians, providers, nurses and staff through recruitment, development, compliance education and implementation, and continuing education opportunities. Mr. Dee also provides consultation concerning Vermont’s healthcare regulatory processes to the CEO and chief strategy officer of Lebanon, N.H.-based Dartmouth Health. In addition, he works closely with the system's board of trustees to develop annual budgets, goals and objectives.

Mike Delfs. President and CEO of Jamestown (N.D.) Regional Medical Center. Thanks in large part to Mr. Delfs' leadership as president and CEO, Jamestown Regional Medical Center was recognized as a top hospital by the National Rural Health Association in 2020. He has 28 years of experience in healthcare under his belt, with past leadership roles at independent hospitals and large integrated health systems.

Carol Dozier. CEO at Norton King’s Daughters' Health (Madison, Ind.). Ms. Dozier leads Norton King’s Daughters' Health, which has grown into an 86-bed acute-care hospital with an outpatient rehabilitation center, home health, hospice services and convenient care center since its establishment over 120 years ago. King’s Daughters' Health became part of Norton Healthcare in early 2022. During Ms. Dozier's tenure, she has improved financial performance, led the construction of a new state-of-the-art cancer center and other major construction and renovation projects, brought key physicians to the community, and enhanced both the quality and experience of patient care. She has more than 30 years of healthcare experience, having begun her career as a registered nurse. She served as 2023 board chair for Indiana Hospital Association, which serves 170 hospitals throughout the state. She also is a member of the Community Leaders Council for Hanover College and chairs the Ivy Tech College Campus Board.

Robyn Dunckhorst. CEO of Humboldt General Hospital (Winnemucca, Nev.). As the sole direct employee of the board of trustees, Ms. Dunckhorst implements policies directed by the board. She recommends financial, legislative and administrative initiatives to the hospital to maintain and enhance existing service lines and add new lines. She coordinates staff concerns and recommendations with the board and handles disciplinary matters. She was recently invited to appear before a group of state legislators to discuss and recommend actions regarding concerns being considered in the upcoming, biennial legislative session. Ms. Dunckhorst has been with the hospital for nearly seven years. 

Sunny Eappen, MD. President and CEO at The University of Vermont Health Network (Burlington). Dr. Eappen leads The University of Vermont Health Network, an academic health system that is evolving to meet the ever-changing dynamics of rural healthcare in Vermont and Northern New York. Half of its hospitals are critical access, which are key in preserving local services while connecting patients to a sustainable system of care. To address obstacles to digital access in rural areas and strengthen connections among rural providers and patients, the network implemented shared electronic medical records and digital image archiving. In the face of a workforce shortage exacerbated by rural recruitment and socioeconomic barriers, the Network Center for Workforce Development employs experiential learning, internal training programs and partnerships with colleges to fill frontline staff positions. They also partnered to create over 180 new housing units for employees in response to rural housing shortages, and the recruitment team is focusing on hiring about 250 additional providers. Dr. Eappen is renewing the focus on rural health disparities through a shift to value-based, population-health models and strategies such as a comprehensive and integrated system of care for cancer, which is one of five leading causes of premature death among rural residents.

Karla Eischens. President and CEO of Sanford Health Bemidji (Minn.) Medical Center. With over 25 years of experience in health care as a pharmacist and leader, Ms. Eischens focused on the needs of the employees, patients and communities she serves. Under her leadership, Sanford Bemidji took a pivotal step toward fostering cultural change within the organization by integrating cultural training courses into all employees' annual education to discuss the intersection of Ojibwe culture and healthcare. The hospital also initiated leadership meetings with local tribal governments and community leaders to discuss opportunities to improve health disparities among Native American identifying patients.

Dar Elbert. CEO of Kossuth Regional Health Center (Algona, Iowa). Ms. Elbert has been with Kossuth Regional Health Center since 1987. She oversees an organization with 215 employees, a 25-bed critical access hospital, two family medicine clinics, home care, hospice and public health nursing agencies.

William Flattery. CEO of Carilion New River Valley Medical Center and Vice President of Carilion Clinic Western Region (Roanoke, Va.). Mr. Flattery oversees the 110-bed acute care facility, which offers modern medical ORs, state of the art technology like advanced imaging and robotic surgery, and multiple surgical and medical specialties. He first joined Carilion in 2007, bringing extensive healthcare management experience. He also oversees many primary care sites, helping to ensure rural residents have local access to highly trained specialists. Mr. Flattery regularly works with Carilion’s nearby academic partners, Virginia Tech, Radford University and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, to provide and maintain care. The medical center also helps to provide specialty care to Virginia Tech and Radford athletes. Under his leadership, CNRV was awarded the American Nursing Credentialing Center Pathway to Excellence designation in 2021, becoming the eighth in the state and the first of seven Carilion hospitals to earn this recognition. CNRV was also recognized with the Partner for Change Award four years in a row by Practice Greenhealth, an organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in healthcare.

Soniya Fidler. President of UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center (Steamboat Springs, Colo.). Ms. Fidler has been with UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center since 2005, when she started as a senior recruiter. She has worked her way up through several positions, including chief human resources, compliance officer and COO. In her current position, she oversees the 39-bed acute care hospital that serves more than 51,000 outpatients each year.

Alan Finley. President of Dardanelle (Ark.) Regional Medical Center. Mr. Finley oversees Dardanelle Regional Medical Center, a 35-bed critical access medical center that employs more than 100 medical professionals. Mr. Finley has used his significant experience as a hospital administrator to build a strong partnership with Conway (Ark.) Regional and the Yell County Hospital Board. These partnerships resulted in the hospital increasing its net revenue from $9 million to nearly $20 million in just four years and establishing a three-year rural primary care residency program designed to bring primary care physician residents to the underserved Yell County area. Mr. Finley's efforts to rebuild the employee culture at Dardanelle Regional have led to improved workplace satisfaction and increased employee engagement scores.

​​Conner Fiscarelli. CEO of Gove County Medical Center (Quinter, Kan.). Since August 2021, Mr. Fiscarelli has helmed Gove County Medical Center. He is in charge of managing all workflows in the practice and developing the skilled nursing service line. Having grown up in a rural area, his career has revolved around serving rural areas as an executive team member. Most recently, he served as senior director of skilled nursing and long-term care services at Rapid City, S.D.-based Monument Health.

Lukas Fischer. CEO of Linton (N.D.) Regional Medical Center and South Central Health (Wishek, N.D.). Mr. Fischer has more than 15 years of healthcare experience and has previously served as COO and chief nursing officer. As CEO, he oversees South Central's two hospitals and seven rural health clinics. He recently oversaw a complete renovation of the main campus, along with expanding the laboratory department and adding negative pressure rooms to the MedSurg and emergency departments. During his tenure, his facilities have expanded multiple service lines and increased quality, leading to both facilities receiving the Top 100 Critical Access Hospital award every year since 2018.

Eric Fish, MD. President and CEO of Schneck Medical Center (Seymour, Ind.). Since September 2020, Dr. Fish has led a team of 1,000 employees at Schneck Medical Center. He also serves as president of the Health Development Corporation and as president of Coordinated Health, wholly owned subsidiaries of the medical center. After joining the medical center in 2005, he founded Schneck Obstetrics & Gynecology in 2006.

Natalie Gauer. Administrator of Milbank (S.D) Area Hospital Avera. Ms. Gauer became Milbank Area Hospital Avera's administrator in 2010. The hospital aims to provide the community with quality, cost-effective, accessible healthcare services, utilizing the latest technology.

Laura Gentry, BSN, RN. CEO of Atrium Health Navicent Peach (Macon, Ga.). As CEO, Ms. Gentry is working to strengthen outpatient care, enhance primary care services and further integrate mental health resources. Her commitment to advancing rural healthcare plays a pivotal role in preserving access to quality care for underserved populations and in safeguarding the well-being of rural communities. Ms. Gentry's unwavering commitment to patient-centered care is reflected in Navicent Peach's consistently outstanding patient experience scores, which surpass industry benchmarks. By prioritizing effective communication, personalized care and patient comfort, she has cultivated an environment where patients feel genuinely valued and supported.

Austin Gillard. CEO of Clay County Medical Center (Kan.). Since 2015, Mr. Gillard has led Clay County Medical Center, which spans five rural health clinics and has over 125 credentialed medical providers. He has led the medical center through its acquisition of three rural health clinics, eight family practice physicians and four advanced practitioners. Before coming to Clay County, Mr. Gillard was CEO of Genoa (Neb.) Medical Facilities.

Linda Givens. Administrator at Adventist Health Howard Memorial Hospital (Roseville, Calif.). Ms. Givens oversees all clinical and organizational aspects for Adventist. She ensures access to care for neighboring rural communities and promotes patient-centered care. She leads the team through various goals and improvement projects. She led the hospital in becoming one of only 30 facilities in the U.S. endorsed for patient-centered care. She is also actively seeking new designations for the system to allow Adventist to expand across the region. She has also worked to support the hospital's medication-assisted treatment program, which treats patients with opioid use disorders.

Rose Goick Saddler, MSN, RN. Administrator of Ascension St. Joseph Hospital (Tawas CIty, Mich.) and Ascension Standish (Mich.) Hospital. With more than 40 years of healthcare experience, Ms. Goick Saddler is the hospital administrator of two rural community hospitals. In 2023, she helped establish wound care clinics at both hospitals. Ms. Goick Saddler mentors new leaders and encourages community involvement, while actively participating in community events like health screenings and education opportunities. In March 2021, she participated in a legislative panel to introduce a bipartisan bill ensuring that critical access hospitals retained the flexibility to provide behavioral health services through telehealth technology.

Lari Gooding. CEO of Allendale County Hospital (Fairfax, S.C.). Since January 2015, Mr. Gooding has led the 25-bed critical access Allendale County Hospital, as well as a 44-bed skilled nursing center and two rural health clinics. He wants to provide the region with the best care, aided by advances in medicine and technology. Prior to becoming CEO of Allendale County Hospital, Mr. Gooding held several administrator positions at different health systems.

Dan Grigg. CEO of Wallowa Memorial Hospital (Enterprise, Ore.). Mr. Grigg took on the CEO role at the 25-bed critical access hospital and level 4 trauma center in September 2023. He brings deep experience at both large and small hospitals.

Adam Groshans. President of Mercy Health - Springfield (Ohio) Market. Mr. Groshans is market president for Bon Secours Mercy Health’s Springfield Market, which includes Mercy Health – Springfield (Ohio) Regional Medical Center, Mercy Health – Urbana (Ohio) Hospital, a freestanding emergency department and dozens of other healthcare facilities. His role entails oversight of approximately 2,000 employees, who handled a total of 246,801 medical group patient encounters, 67,284 emergency department visits, 13,468 hospital admissions and 8,446 surgeries in the last year. He took on his current role in 2019 and has since spearheaded the growth of several service lines, including interventional neurology, rheumatology, a midwife program and maternal fetal medicine program. He also addresses social determinants of health through initiatives like a local housing project, small business loan funding, and the discounted sale of a Mercy Health space to facilitate the creation of a mental health and drug treatment center. In 2023, Mercy Health – Urbana Hospital received a performance leadership award for excellence in outcomes from the Chartis Center for Rural Health, as well as a 5-star CMS rating for the third consecutive year.

J. William "Bill" Hankins. CEO of AVALA (Covington, La.). As CEO of AVALA, a 21-bed hospital, Mr. Hankins balances the needs of multiple stakeholders: shareholders, team members, patients and the community. He is committed to making effective, data-driven decisions, adapting to the healthcare industry’s ever-changing markets, fostering a positive company culture, and demonstrating integrity and ethical behavior. His efforts led AVALA to earn multiple recognitions, including Healthgrades' 2022 Outstanding Patient Experience Award.

Michael Hansen. CEO of Columbus (Neb.) Community Hospital. Since November 2009, Mr. Hansen has led Columbus Community Hospital's team of over 900 employees in over 30 departments. As CEO and president, he has overall responsibility for the hospital and its associated businesses. He previously served as CEO of Pender (Neb.) Community Hospital.

Jason Harrington. President and CEO of Lakes Regional Healthcare (Spirit Lake, Iowa). Mr. Harrington has held leadership positions in healthcare since 1999, beginning with a more than seven-year tenure at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. He has served as president and CEO of Lakes Regional for more than 12 years. Mr. Harrington has also taught at Colorado Springs-based Colorado Technical University as an adjunct associate professor.

Brian Harvill. President at ECU Health Chowan, Bertie and Roanoke-Chowan Hospitals (Edenton, Windsor and Ahoskie, N.C.). Mr. Harvill became president of ECU Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital in September 2023 after serving as interim president since March. In addition, he continues to serve as president for ECU Health Chowan and Bertie Hospitals. Mr. Harvill has served in leadership roles at ECU Health for 11 years.

Curtis Hawkinson. President and CEO of Community Memorial Healthcare (Marysville, Kan.). Mr. Hawkinson has built a nearly 30-year career in healthcare leadership. He's held his position at Community Memorial for more than 15 years. Under his leadership, the $17.3 million facility was named one of the top 20 critical access hospitals in the nation by the National Rural Health Association in 2023. The hospital earned this distinction for three consecutive years.

Karl Hertz. Administrator at Providence Kodiak Island (Alaska) Medical Center. Mr. Hertz leads the 25-bed hospital and 22-resident long-term care center on Kodiak Island, which employs 250 full- and part-time caregivers. Access to affordable housing on the remote island is a critical barrier to hiring permanent and traveling workers at the hospital. As a result, selling prices are disproportionately high and often well out of reach for hospital workers. Under Mr. Hertz’s leadership, the medical center utilized hospital-owned land to build a 16-unit apartment building to house its workers and their families. New hires are given priority and temporary employees are given secondary access to medical center-controlled housing for up to one year at affordable rates. Medical center leaders also negotiated affordable long-term leases for ad hoc apartments and guest rooms in the community. Mr. Hertz and his team are working closely with the city of Kodiak and the Kodiak Economic Development Corporation to create a Kodiak Community Land Trust that will foster continued affordable growth in mid-level housing opportunities on Kodiak Island.

Jeremiah "JJ" J. Hodshire. President and CEO of Hillsdale (Mich.) Hospital. Mr. Hodshire serves as the leader of Hillsdale Hospital, defining strategic goals and plans to support the institution’s philosophy and general objectives. He initiates policies and procedures to achieve the hospital's aims, objectives and programs. In part due to his leadership, Hillsdale was named a Top 100 Rural and Community Hospital by the Chartis Center for Rural Health in 2022.

Loy Howard. President and CEO of Tanner Health System (Carrollton, Ga.). Mr. Howard serves as president and CEO of Tanner Health System, a rural health system spanning five hospitals. He oversees strategic goals and daily operations, expands clinical services, and grows the health system's hospitals. Mr. Howard also established and leads Tanner Medical Group, which has grown into one of metro Atlanta's largest multispecialty physician groups. He currently serves on the board for Tanner Health System, the Heard County Water Authority and the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, while serving as chair of economic development organization Carroll Tomorrow.

Shawn Howard. CEO of McAlester (Okla.) Regional Health Center. Mr. Howard was appointed CEO of McAlester Regional Health Center in March 2022. He oversees all aspects of the 149-bed hospital, including its five departments. Under his leadership, employee engagement programs were implemented, helping decrease turnover from 42% to 23%. Prior to taking on the CEO role, Mr. Howard served as interim CEO for three months. He previously held the role of vice president and administrative officer for the hospital, and before that served as the hospital's vice president and COO.

Daniel P. Ireland, BSN. President and COO at Rochester (N.Y.) Regional Health Finger Lakes Rural Hospitals. Mr. Ireland is responsible for the oversight and leadership of the three rural community hospitals that are part of Rochester Regional Health. His commitment to rural healthcare is deeply rooted in 33 years of progressive nursing and hospital administration leadership. Most recently, he successfully managed the Rochester Regional Health Finger Lakes Rural Hospitals through a financial turnaround. Two of the three hospitals posted positive margins by the end of 2023, while improving quality scores and employee satisfaction. Mr. Ireland recently completed the construction of a new ambulatory care facility, bringing primary care, urgent care and specialty health services together to create greater ease of access to the community. He also recently led the opening of the region's first rural hospital innovation hub to identify digital and non-digital solutions to clinical and operational challenges common to rural health systems.

Carrie Jankowski. President of Mercy Health — Allen Hospital (Oberlin, Ohio). Ms. Jankowski has served Mercy Health for nearly 30 years, starting in 1997 as a radiology technician. She rose through the ranks, eventually becoming vice president of ancillary and support before being appointed to her current role as president of Allen Hospital in 2021. Her leadership has driven significant improvement in Allen Hospital’s quality, culture and financial performance, including improving the hospital's revenues by 21.4%. Ms. Jankowski is responsible for strategic leadership and growth of the hospital, executing the organization’s strategic plan and developing growth opportunities to expand the hospital’s presence within the Oberlin community. She also serves on the American Heart Association's board of directors.

Arlan Johnson. CEO of Howard County Medical Center (St. Paul, Neb.). Mr. Johnson began his career at Howard County Medical Center in 2007 as a clinic director. After three years, he was promoted to CEO. Prior to joining the staff at HCMC, he worked in the banking industry for more than 15 years. The hospital is a 10-bed critical access hospital.

Brooke Kensinger. CEO of MercyOne Elkader (Iowa) Medical Center. Ms. Kensinger's steadfast dedication and unwavering commitment to healthcare during her time leading MercyOne Elkader Medical Center earned her the Iowa Hospital Association’s 2021 Young Executive Achievement Award. She has led the 25-bed critical access hospital for more than five years.

Burke Kline. CEO of Jefferson Community Health & Life (Fairbury, Neb.). Mr. Kline has served as the CEO of Jefferson Community Health & Life since June 2020, and in his tenure, he has guided the hospital through adding services including neurosurgery, vascular surgery and genetic testing. He was awarded the Medical Group Management Association's Extraordinary Leader Award in 2021, as well as the American College of Healthcare Executives Nebraska and Western Iowa Regent's Award in 2020.

Clint Kotal. CEO of Methodist Hospital | Hill Country (Fredericksburg, Texas). Mr. Kotal became the first CEO of Methodist Hospital | Hill Country in 2023. He has more than 15 years of experience in healthcare leadership and most recently served as the hospital's chief health integration officer. Under his leadership, the hospital consistently saw high marks in patient experience, quality performance and market share growth.

Bob Kroese. CEO of Pella (Iowa) Regional Health Center. As CEO, Mr. Kroese leads the 25-bed Pella Regional Health Center, a private, nonprofit hospital accredited by The Joint Commission. Established in 1960, Pella Regional has grown into a system that includes the hospital, outpatient services and numerous medical clinics.

Ryan Larsen. CEO of Community Medical Center (Falls City, Neb.). Mr. Larsen has served in his role for over 16 years. He was previously CFO of Memorial Hospital (now UnityPoint Health) in Carthage, Ill. He was also CFO of Wamego (Kan.) City Hospital.

Judy Leach. Administrator of Adventist Health Mendocino Coast (Roseville, Calif.). Ms. Leach leads a dedicated team of over 350 associates and 140 providers, ensuring the smooth operation of a 25-bed critical access hospital. In her role, Ms. Leach oversees various departments and programs that provide essential healthcare services to the community. Leveraging her more than three decades of healthcare experience, she has guided the health system through its merger with Adventist and navigated hospital leadership through the Covid-19 pandemic. Ms. Leach's is committed to expanding access to care, navigating challenges, and fostering a diverse and inclusive environment.

David Leighton. Administrator of Adventist Health Ukiah (Calif.) Valley. Mr. Leighton leads Adventist Health Ukiah Valley, a 51-bed acute care facility with outpatient services and 21 clinics serving as a regional hub for services for rural communities in the county and beyond. As an administrator, he manages the day to day operations of Ukiah Valley's hospital and clinics, ensuring physicians and care teams have the support and tools they need to continue providing exceptional care. Under his leadership and dedication, Ukiah Valley is well-positioned for future growth and sustainability.

Lisa LeTexier. CEO of Pembina County Memorial Hospital (Cavalier, N.D.). As CEO, Ms. LeTexier leads the 20-bed critical access Pembina County Memorial Hospital, which has been operating for more than 60 years. The hospital also includes a rural healthcare clinic, independent living apartment complex and a 40-bed skilled nursing home.

Marcus Lewis. CEO of First Care Health Center (Park River, N.D.). Mr. Lewis came to First Care Health Center in 2017. He was previously CFO of Cavalier County Memorial Hospital in Langdon, N.D. He has also worked as an emergency medical responder technician.

Joe Lohrman. CEO of Annie Jeffrey Memorial County Health Center (Osceola, Neb.). Mr. Lohrman leads the 16-bed critical access hospital. He previously worked as CEO of Crete (Neb.) Area Medical Center. Before that, he was CFO of Tri Valley Health System in Cambridge, Neb.

Kim Lucero. CEO of Mt. San Rafael Hospital (Trinidad, Colo.). Ms. Lucero serves as Mt. San Rafael Hospital's CEO, a multifaceted role that encompasses strategic leadership, operational management and community engagement. She is responsible for the organization's overall direction, ensuring its growth and enhancing its community impact. In addition, she has oversight of daily operations, financial health, regulatory requirements and more. Under Ms. Lucero's leadership, the hospital has seen year-over-year improvements in technology integration, service line expansion, employee engagement, master facility planning and more. The hospital was recognized as one of the "Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals" by the Chartis Center for Rural Health in 2022.

Greg Madsen. CEO of Carilion Rockbridge Community Hospital and VIce President of Carilion Clinic Eastern Division (Roanoke, Va.). Mr. Madsen serves as vice president and CEO of Carilion Rockbridge Community Hospital, which is part of Carilion Clinic. His role includes overseeing the 25-bed critical access hospital and outpatient care as well as outreach activities. He has regional responsibility over care delivery in four Carilion regions. Since the pandemic, the facility has been steadily working to expand surgical services and capacity. Mr. Madsen has overseen renovations to the hospital system’s operating rooms, new pharmacy space, labs and staff work areas and consolidated ambulatory and post-anesthesia care units. He has also brought new services and offerings like neurology and family medicine to the region.

Peter Marinoff. President of Munson Healthcare Cadillac (Mich.) Hospital. Mr. Marinoff is president of Munson Healthcare Cadillac. He was previously interim president of the hospital, starting in July 2021. He joined the health system in 1999, beginning as an accountant. Previously, he worked at public accounting firms in Virginia and Traverse City, Mich.

Jim Marshall. President and CEO of Uintah Basin Healthcare (Roosevelt, Utah). Mr. Marshall's leadership has led to significant improvements in the health and wellbeing of Uintah Basin Healthcare and its community since taking on the president and CEO role in 2014. Achievements include enhancements in care quality, safety and experience, and continued service line expansion. Mr. Marshall aims to ensure that UBH will be among the nation's most advanced and comprehensive rural healthcare systems for a community of its size.

Steve Massey. President and CEO of Westfields Hospital and Clinic (New Richmond, Wis.). Mr. Massey first came to the organization as president and CEO in 2011. He led the hospital in the merger between Westfields Hospital and New Richmond Clinic in 2013. He previously served as CFO at Osceola (Wis.) Medical Center.

John Massimilla. Vice President of WellSpan Health (York, Pa.) and President of WellSpan Chambersburg (Pa.) Hospital. As the President of WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital, Mr. Massimilla is responsible for day-to-day operations, performance improvement, and patient experience initiatives across WellSpan Chambersburg Hospital. In his over 30 years of service to WellSpan, Mr. Massimilla has developed and executed systemwide initiatives that have improved patient experience. He serves on a variety of boards within the area he serves and was named as the Shippensburg Person of the Year by members of the Shippensburg Area Chamber of Commerce, an award recognizing a leader who makes positive contributions to enhance the community.

Emily Mastaler. CEO of River Hospital (Alexandria Bay, N.Y.). Ms. Mastaler became CEO of River Hospital in 2019. Prior, she was the COO of Health Care and Rehabilitation Services in Springfield, Vt. starting in 2014. She also worked as the director of residential services, director of new perspectives for care, and manager of community rehabilitation and treatment programs.

Christina McCulloch, BSN, RN. President of Sharon Hospital (Danbury, Conn.). Ms. McCulloch is responsible for the overall fiscal, operational and strategic direction of Sharon Hospital and is accountable to the board of directors and system leadership. She ensures appropriate structures are in place for the effective management and control of resources. She also has a background in clinical nursing, allowing her to quickly assess and navigate challenging situations. She helps direct human, material and financial resources to appropriately meet community needs. In her role, she has enhanced and developed integral services, including launching a telemedicine asset during the Covid-19 pandemic. She has been a clinician for over 20 years and has been a leader at Sharon for 14.  

Doug McMillan. CEO of Cody Regional Health (Cody, Wyo.). Mr. McMillan has been with Cody Regional Health for nearly 30 years and has been a rural hospital CEO for nearly 40 years. The health system’s leadership team received the American Hospital Association Rural Health Leadership team award in 2020. In part due to Mr. McMillan's efforts, Cody Regional Health achieved outstanding clinical outcomes, including patient satisfaction rates of more than 92% and a wound healing rate of at least 92% within 28 median days to heal.

Donna McGregor. President of St. Lawrence Health, Rochester (N.Y.) Regional Health. Ms. McGregor joined St. Lawrence Health in 2020 as CFO and was promoted to president in 2022. St. Lawrence Health includes three hospitals, 2,165 employees and a 234-member medical staff. An accomplished executive with extensive experience in transforming rural health systems and achieving strategic growth, Ms. McGregor has a strong track record of innovative accomplishments. These include the implementation of an electronic medical record system and advancing the St. Lawrence Region Rural Health Strategy. With $20 million raised to fund the rural health strategy, the focus is on expanding patient transportation, maternal child health, behavioral health outreach, primary care and workforce development. Prior to joining St. Lawrence Health, Ms. McGregor was an executive leader managing and growing complex healthcare organizations, including Health Quest, Putnam Hospital Center and Crystal Run Healthcare.

Jeff Mengenhausen. CEO of Montrose (Colo.) Memorial Hospital. Mr. Mengenhausen took on the CEO role at Montrose Memorial Hospital in 2021. Within the first 16 months of his leadership, the hospital started construction of a new ambulatory care center, separated from Montrose County, brought on 16 new providers and expanded numerous service lines. He has more than 15 years of experience in leadership, having formerly served as CEO of Madelia (Minn.) Health.

Jason Merkley. President and CEO of Brookings (S.D.) Health System. Mr. Merkley was appointed CEO of Brookings Health System in 2011. Before joining Brookings, Mr. Merkley served as manager of managed care services and care analyst of Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Avera Health. He has experience in leading both clinical and ancillary support departments and has overseen numerous construction projects.

Carlos Milanes. CEO of Edgefield (S.C.) County Healthcare. Mr. Milanes has been in charge of the 25-bed hospital since 2016. The hospital was established in January 1972 as Edgefield County Hospital. The hospital was named a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital in Best Practice in Quality by the National Rural Health Association for 2021 and 2022. Before joining Edgefield County Healthcare, Mr. Milanes served as CEO of Aiken (S.C.) Regional Medical Centers.

Cassie Mogg. CEO for Covenant Hospital Plainview (Texas). As CEO for Covenant Hospital Plainview, Ms. Mogg oversees the planning, administration, coordination and evaluation of departments. She also maintains standards compliance, budget development and administration, community relationship management, public administrations, medical staff support, recruitment, retention and more. The hospital achieved ANCC Pathways to Excellence and completed the steps to achieve a Joint Commission Joint Replacement Center of Excellence in 2022. The hospital also acquired a Da Vinci surgical robot in fall 2023.

Susan Mooney, MD. President and CEO of Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital (Lebanon, N.H.). Dr. Mooney joined the medical staff as an obstetrician/gynecologist at Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital in 2000, a role she served in until 2005. She then pursued fellowship training for two years before rejoining the hospital as the medical director of quality, and later assuming the chief medical officer role. She became president and CEO for the hospital in April of 2013. Dr. Mooney's leadership has contributed to the hospital seeing the highest employee engagement rating within the Dartmouth Health system for the past two years. She also created a diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging coordinator position in 2022, fostering an environment where everyone feels seen and heard.

Andrew Morgan. President of Mercy Health – Toledo (Ohio) East Rural Market. Mr. Morgan is president of Mercy Health – Toledo's east rural market, which comprises Mercy Health – Tiffin hospital, Mercy Health – Willard Hospital and several other outpatient care sites. As the leader of two rural hospitals, Mr. Morgan is tasked with increasing care access, maintaining operational excellence and improving community engagement. His main areas of focus include the expansion of Mercy Health's physical community presence, the growth of clinical service lines, and the recruitment of quality providers and clinical associates. Since becoming president of the east rural market in the fall of 2023, he has led the investment of $3.1 million into an expansion of obstetrics space and services at Mercy Health – Tiffin Hospital, championed diagnostic catheterization volume growth of more than 40% at Tiffin, oversaw the establishment of oncology services in Willard, and more.

Chris Munton. CEO of Wilson (N.C.) Medical Center. Mr. Munton holds a key role in Wilson Medical Center's strategic direction, operations and financial wellbeing. This includes long- and short-term goal setting, identifying opportunities for growth and improvement, establishing partnerships with stakeholders, recruitment and retention, budgeting, resource allocation, financial reporting, regulatory requirements compliance and more. Mr. Munton was appointed to the CEO role in April 2023 after leading Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva, N.C. and Swain Community Hospital in Bryson City, N.C, both of which are also part of Brentwood, Tenn.-based Lifepoint Health.

Jody Nelson. CEO of St. Luke's Medical Center (Crosby, N.D.). Mrs. Nelson has been in charge of the 20-bed St. Luke's Medical Center since 2016. In 2021, the hospital was named one of the Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals for Best Practice in Quality in the U.S. by National Rural Health Association.

Joseph Perras, MD. President and CEO of Cheshire Medical Center (Keene, N.H.). Dr. Perras ensures Cheshire Medical Center provides the highest quality care in the safest possible environment for its staff and patients. Cheshire is the largest provider of healthcare in the county and serves as a regional referral center for parts of New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. Under Dr. Perras' leadership, Cheshire has committed to its people, patients and community through growth of clinical service lines and long term financial sustainability. He previously served as chairperson of the American Hospital Association's Small or Rural Hospital Council and has been appointed to the AHA’s Institute of Diversity and Health Equity, working with health services organizations to advance healthcare equity and leadership opportunities for underrepresented groups in healthcare management.

Candy Powell. Administrator of Collingsworth General Hospital (Wellington, Texas). Ms. Powell was named administrator of Collingsworth General Hospital in 2006. Prior to her role as administrator, Ms. Powell was director of radiology and also oversaw laboratory operations, housekeeping, maintenance and the central supply department at the hospital.

Jeff Prater. CEO of Carson Valley Health (Gardnerville, Nev.). As CEO, Mr. Prater oversees the executive leadership team and operations for all six Carson Valley Health locations, including expansion strategy and execution of the organizational vision. He is uniquely able to focus on both the business and human aspects of healthcare. He always considers how decisions made by the system will affect the patients and the staff, and uses this principle first and foremost to guide his leadership strategy. Under Mr. Prater's leadership, net patient service revenue has grown 26.6% in the last four years.

August Querciagrossa. CEO of the Western Region at OSF HealthCare (Peoria, Ill.). Mr. Querciagrossa leads efforts to address access to care, including the expansion of emergency services in rural areas. He played a pivotal role in developing a model of care to support Illinois Valley communities when St. Margaret’s Health – Spring Valley (Ill.) closed in 2023, working with his teams to quickly establish local options for urgent care, primary care, digital care, obstetrics and gynecology, occupational health and rehabilitation services. He is leading the opening of a second OSF Saint Elizabeth Medical Center campus in rural Peru, Ill., which is expected to open in the spring. He has overseen Illinois Valley job growth and creation by spearheading efforts to hire over 400 former St. Margaret Health employees, more than 50 physicians, and advanced medical providers. He oversees eight hospitals, several of which achieved national rankings. OSF Saint Luke was awarded a 4-star rating in January 2024 by the National Rural Rating System, a program recognizing excellence in rural health care. Additionally, OSF Saint Elizabeth and OSF Saint Paul were recognized for performance leadership by Chartis Center for Rural Health. OSF brought Perry Memorial Hospital into its system two years ago and renamed it OSF Saint Clare Medical Center. The critical access hospital serves residents of Princeton, Ill. and surrounding communities.

Joshua Ratner. CEO of HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley and Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Westchester Medical Center Health Network (Valhalla, N.Y.). Mr. Ratner leads operations at HealthAlliance Hospital in Kingston, N.Y., Margaretville Hospital, a critical access hospital in Margaretville, N.Y., along with the adjacent Mountainside Residential Care Center, both of which are located in New York State’s rural Catskill Mountains. He is also guiding the second phase of WMCHealth’s rural healthcare advancement plan, which will see the former HealthAlliance Broadway hospital campus converted to a health village. He also oversaw efforts to deliver the new HealthAlliance Hospital in Kingston, a $120 million facility expansion and renovation completed in 2022. He also created a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence at MidHudson Regional Hospital. Since taking over the CEO role, he has hired a patient navigator, actively recruited for a concierge role, helped the system earn a trauma center designation and provided significant raises to the system's nurses.

Natalie Ryder, MSN, RN. Administrator of Ascension Michigan's Southwest Region (Troy, Mich.). As administrator of Ascension Borgess Allegan Hospital, Ascension Borgess-Lee Hospital, Ascension Borgess-Pipp Hospital, Ms. Ryder's ultimate goal is to provide resources and remove barriers so the hospitals can provide the best care possible to the community. She has had an instrumental role in establishing new strategic partnerships with local organizations, steady and sustained volume growth, and net revenue improvements.

Rena Salamacha. CEO of Mee Memorial Healthcare System (King City, Calif.). Ms. Salamacha is responsible for leading a team of executives and care providers that offer high-quality healthcare services to the local community. After taking over as CEO in early 2019, she went into the Covid-19 pandemic facing a unique challenge. Despite this challenge, she demonstrated her ability to bring various groups together and maintained round-the-clock healthcare delivery. She also expanded services, campus locations and led her organization-wide revitalization of the system's business functions.

Preston Sauers. CEO of Kingman (Kan.) Healthcare Center. Prior to joining Kingman Healthcare Center, Mr. Sauers served as the director of business operations at Ellsworth (Kan.) County Medical Center for 17 years. He was appointed CEO of Kingman in April 2021. The 25-bed facility has a level IV trauma emergency department and has been recognized as a Top 20 Critical Access Hospital by the National Rural Health Association for the past eight years.

Brent Schmidt. Administrator and CEO of Intermountain Sevier Valley Hospital (Richfield, Utah). Mr. Schmidt was appointed administrator and CEO of Sevier Valley Hospital in April 2021, where he previously served as director of ancillary and support services. In that role, Mr. Schmidt oversaw operations for 11 departments, as well as the completion of a construction project in the facility's emergency department and women's center. The hospital was recognized as a Top 100 Performing Rural and Community Hospital by the Chartis Center for Rural Health and was one of 10 hospitals in the state to receive the HealthInsight Quality Award.

Mary Beth Seals. President of HH Lincoln Health (Fayetteville, Tenn.). Ms. Seals manages day-to-day operations, strategic planning and new physician recruitment for HH Lincoln. She leads every aspect of the health system and oversees quality, customer service, staff satisfaction, physician alignment, community support and financial performance. She is accountable for ensuring that HH Lincoln Health fulfills its strategic role within the overall vision and strategy for the Huntsville Hospital Health System. Since entering her role, she has guided the system through several disasters, including broken pipes and a tornado that damaged the facility. She has also implemented programs to establish HH as a high-reliability organization.

Sonya Selhorst. President and CNO for Mercy Health – Defiance (Ohio) Hospital. Ms. Selhorst is both hospital president and CNO for Mercy Health – Defiance Hospital. As president, she handles strategic leadership, growth and operational oversight. She implements innovations, programs and services that improve patient results and drive engagement. She also optimizes resource utilization and allocation to foster a culture of trust, reliability, safety and quality. As part of that mission, she has recruited and retained top tier physician and advanced practice provider talent. Ms. ​​Selhorst has served in a leadership role at the hospital since 2012, and has worked within the Mercy Health system for over 30 years.

Carl Selvick, PharmD. President and CEO of Black River Memorial Hospital (Black River Falls, Wis.). Mr. Selvick oversees all aspects of the hospital, outpatient services and strategic developments at Black River. He has orchestrated a financial revitalization at the hospital, transitioning from a negative operating margin in 2022 to a positive operating margin in 2023, surpassing the organizational budget by 2% just 18 months after assuming the CEO role. His targeted approach focuses on the effective operational costs management, strategic planning and service line development, as well as collaborations and partnerships with local and regional healthcare providers. He has led the hospital to actively participate in initiatives such as formulating a Health Equity Plan, establishing a foundation, expanding the 340B program and transforming the Black River Healthcare Clinic into a Rural Health Clinic.

Joshua Shepherd. President at Buffalo Hospital and Cambridge Medical Center (Minneapolis). Mr. Shepherd has direct leadership and operational responsibility for both Buffalo and Cambridge hospitals. He oversees almost every aspect of the system's performance. He manages the day-to-day operations while leading strategic development initiatives required for long-term success. He has been responsible for planning a new, innovative Cambridge Medical Center campus, working with various groups, including Allina, the city of Cambridge, staff and architects to develop long-term relationships. During his time as president, which began in 2023, the hospital has achieved positive financial performance.

Tammy Smith, MSN, RN. CEO of Pratt (Kan.) Regional Medical Center. Ms. Smith previously worked as the chief nursing officer for Pratt Regional Medical Center and brings her long track record of experience to the position after serving as interim CEO. She is now heading the 35-bed facility, which is a sole community provider for the surrounding area.

Jeff Sollis. CEO of St. John's Health (Jackson, Wyo.). St. John's Health welcomed Mr. Sollis as its CEO in January 2023. Mr. Sollis brings 17 years of healthcare leadership experience to his role. Prior to joining St. John's, he served as CEO for Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls.

Carolyn Sparks. CEO of Trousdale Medical Center (Hartsville, Tenn.) and Riverview Medical Center (Carthage, Tenn.). Ms. Sparks was appointed permanent CEO of the Trousdale and Riverview facilities, part of Gallatin, Tenn.-based HighPoint Health System, in October 2021. Under her leadership, Trousdale Medical Center was recognized with a 2023 performance leadership award for excellence in quality and patient perspective by The Chartis Center for Rural Health. Prior to Ms. Sparks' role at HighPoint Health, she served as COO of Southern Tennessee Regional Health System's locations in Winchester and Sewanee.

Kevin Stansbury. CEO of Lincoln Health (Hugo, Colo.). Mr. Stansbury is the CEO of Lincoln Health, a critical access hospital and health system in Hugo, Colo. He is a dynamic leader with a knack for building a positive culture in his team. He is constantly looking to involve others around him, open up discussion, and look to improve the health care services for the eastern plains of Colorado.

Bobby Stitt. Administrator for Mercy Hospital Logan County, Kingfisher and Watonga (Okla.). Mr. Stitt serves as the hospital administrator for three of Mercy’s critical access hospitals. He leads all operational and clinical coworkers across these three hospitals, overseeing organizational structure, alignment, strategic direction, financial performance and community involvement. Mr. Stitt began his career in hospital administration in 2012, and has seen sustained successes in operations, finances, and patient satisfaction throughout his tenure.

Trena Stocker. President of Mercy Health —Marcum & Wallace Hospital (Irvine, Ky.). In 2019, Ms. Stocker stepped into the role of president for Mercy Health —Marcum & Wallace Hospital. Her strengths lie in planning, growth strategies, and the oversight of daily operations. In addition to her work overseeing departments like respiratory, sleep lab, speech therapy, and specialty clinic, she takes regular rotations as administrator and nursing administrator on call. During her tenure, the hospital has received several grants to improve population health, expand the quick response team, promote health equity, purchase new equipment and more. Under her leadership, the hospital received a 5-star rating from CMS for overall hospital quality in 2023. Ms. Stocker brings nearly 30 years of healthcare leadership and clinical experience to her position.

Christine Tomaszewski, DNP, RN. Administrator of Ascension River District Hospital (East China, Mich.) and Ascension St. John Hospital Health Center (Chesterfield, Mich.). Ms. Tomaszewski's commitment to outcome-based care has been key to Ascension River District Hospital's delivery of optimum care in an ever-changing healthcare environment, including throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. She provides both clinical and operational leadership results with a patient-focused viewpoint and contributes to Ascension's strategic expansion into new communities. She previously served as director of patient care services at Ascension River District Hospital while providing care as an advanced practice nurse practitioner.

John Wagner. President and CEO of HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital and HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital (Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, Wis.). Mr. Wagner joined HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital as president and CEO in April 2019, and took on the same role at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital in October 2022. He also serves as president of HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital's board of directors. Prior to joining HSHS, Mr. Wagner spent 10 years at Des Moines, Iowa-based UnityPoint Health.

Michael Waldrum, MD. CEO of ECU Health (Greenville, N.C.). As CEO of ECU Health and dean of the university's medical school, Dr. Waldrum oversees more than 14,000 ECU Health and Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University team members as they care for 1.4 million people across 29 counties. Dr. Waldrum has been an outspoken advocate for Medicaid expansion, appealing to elected officials and the public in support of critical funding for rural health care in the state. Dr. Waldrum is devoted to improving rural health care for eastern North Carolina and beyond.

David Walz. CEO of Madelia (Minn.) Health. Mr. Walz has more than 22 years of experience in healthcare leadership roles and is a licensed registered nurse, public health nurse, and certified nephrology nurse. Prior to his role at Madelia Health, Mr. Walz most recently served as senior director of women’s and newborn health at CentraCare in St. Cloud, Minn. He is also a fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives.

Lindsay Weber. President and CEO at Avera St. Benedict Health Center (Parkston, S.D.). Ms. Weber brought 17 years of experience as a frontline, rural care RN and nurse practitioner to the CEO role, which she began in 2022. Her facility includes three rural health clinics, a critical access hospital, and a center for assisted living and long-term care. As a provider, she pioneered critical access hospital hospitalist services, a model largely unheard of in rural settings. Now, Ms. Weber guides retention and recruitment efforts, maintaining an overall 91% retention rate. Despite nationwide shortages, she helped establish psychiatry outreach and behavioral health counseling for the region. Ms. Weber helped increase clinic revenues through electronic medical records efficiency, provider education and use of practices like patient self-rooming. This year, she will earn her doctorate in nursing practice and organizational leadership.

Ken Westman. CEO of Riverwood Healthcare Center (Atkin, Minn.). Mr. Westman has more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare field, 10 of which were spent as CEO of Dillon, Mont.-based Barrett Hospital & Healthcare. Mr. Westman began his current role as CEO of the 475-person, 25-bed center Riverwood Healthcare Center in 2022.

Kristie Williams. CEO and Vice President of Carilion Giles Community Hospital and Carilion Tazewell Community Hospital (Roanoke, Va.). Ms. Williams oversees the staff and operations at the 25-bed Carilion Giles Community Hospital and at Carilion Tazewell Community Hospital. She has been with the system for 26 years and invests her efforts into expanding access and increasing capacity at the facilities. She has helped to add ENT, urology, pulmonology, general surgery, orthopedics and cardiology for patients in the region. She also launched the system's "swing bed project," which has increased volumes at CGCH and other tertiary care facilities. Looking ahead, she plans to launch an initiative to expand virtual care in the area. In addition, Ms. Williams also took on the role of interim chief nursing officer for Carilion's five regional community hospitals when its previous CNO retired in 2022.

Fran Witt, DNP, RN. President and CEO of Effingham Health System (Springfield, Ga.). Dr. Witt leads a 25-bed critical access, community-owned hospital with 450 employees. The Level IV trauma center treats more than 18,000 patients a year. Under her leadership, Effingham Health System became the first critical access hospital in Georgia to invest in robotic surgery technology.

Jason Wren. CEO at Medical City Decatur (Texas). Mr. Wren provides leadership, strategic direction and direct administrative responsibility for all aspects of financial operations, clinical quality and patient experience for Medical City Decatur and its 150 licensed beds. He was president and CEO of the Wise System beginning in 2017, until Medical City Healthcare acquired it in December 2023. Mr. Wren played an important role in the transition, remaining onboard as Medical City Decatur CEO. Mr. Wren is also an active member in the Wise County community, serving on several committees and boards. He also serves on the board of directors for the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals.

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