St. Charles’ Board of Directors has a new chairperson: Ann Rhoads, a 10-year resident of Bend.

Rhoads joined the Board in 2021 and spent the past year as Vice Chair, shadowing outgoing chairperson Jamie Orlikoff to better understand the role and its responsibilities. (Orlikoff will remain on the Board.)

Previously, Rhoads served on two St. Charles committees, one focused on investment and another on audit and compliance. She was a natural fit for those after her 33-year career as an audit professional with PricewaterhouseCoopers, she said.

“My background is in finance and accounting,” Rhoads said. “Serving on this Board appealed to me because of my interest in health care in and of itself, and how it’s being delivered.”

A former member of the local Volunteers in Medicine Board and a current member of the Tower Theatre Foundation Board, Rhoads also joined the St. Charles Board because of her commitment to giving back to the community she has called home for a decade.

“I have a very strong affinity for the fact that we have an excellent health system in Central Oregon that serves the community and is interested in making the community healthier,” she said. “When you live here and you see that every day, you want to be a part of it and help make sure it’s going to be around for a long time.”

After focusing on workforce and financial rebuilding in 2023, St. Charles is well-positioned, Rhoads said, to pursue initiatives within the Board’s three priority areas for 2024:

Sustainability: “We got our financial house in order last year,” she said. “Going forward, we can now really reinvest in the organization. We can make sure we’re providing the right services and the right number of beds for the communities we serve. And we’re prepared to do some fairly big things, like the Redmond Cancer Center. That’s an exciting place to be.”

People and culture: “At one point, we had more people leaving the organization than staying with us. But we’ve stabilized that. We’re on a positive upswing and we’re building the nursing staff back to where it needs to be,” Rhoads said. “We want people to be proud to work at St. Charles and to be happy in their jobs. We want to be a place with an irresistible culture, where people feel respected and valued for not just their skills but simply who they are.”

Safety and quality: “Obviously, safety is Job One for a hospital. We closely monitor the safety and quality of the care we provide and we’re working hard to develop new ways to improve,” she said. “We’re well on our way to where we need to be, but of course this is the kind of thing that needs constant attention, and it’s intertwined with having the right people in place and giving them the tools they need to do their jobs.”

Overall, Rhoads is looking forward to serving as Board Chair because she believes St. Charles’ future is as bright as ever.

“There have been bumps in the road, obviously,” she said, “but I feel like we’re on the right track.”

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