GRMC Welcome Four to the Board of Directors
Grinnell Regional Medical Center’s board of directors added four new trustees in October. The new directors are Jodi Cahalan, PhD, West Des Moines; Sarah Smith, Grinnell; Dave Stoakes, EdD, Grinnell; and Brian Watson, Montezuma.
“The diverse work backgrounds and connections to GRMC expand the perspectives and strength of the board as we make decisions to sustain and grow GRMC,” says Bill Menner, GRMC Board president. “I’m looking forward to working with these individuals who are committed to the future of our local hospital.”
Jodi Cahalan, PhD, currently serves as the Dean of the College of Health Sciences at Des Moines University. She began her role in 2006, overseeing the doctorate degree programs for physical therapy and the Master’s Degree programs for physician assistants, public health, and healthcare administration.
Cahalan received her Bachelor of Science in Physician Assistant from Des Moines University where she subsequently also earned a Master of Science in Health Care Administration and a Master of Public Health. She was awarded a PhD in Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Cahalan was named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Physician Assistants in 2012. She is currently serving as President of the Alpha Eta National Honor Society. Cahalan is a member of the Health Cabinet for United Way of Central Iowa and is an Honorary Board Member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Iowa.
She was recruited to the board because of her training as a mid-level provider and her role as a dean at the Des Moines University.
“I have experience as a PA in the clinic; and, as dean at the college, I understand the education and healthcare administration side of the industry. I even spent a spell working with many business energy deals,” Cahalan says. “I met with Bill Menner and feel strongly about what he is doing on the board. All the board members are very passionate about quality care at GRMC. Their dedication to GRMC and improvement comes through clearly. I want to be a part of this organization.”
Cahalan and her husband, Don, have two children. They reside in Des Moines.
Sarah Smith joins the GRMC board continuing the family legacy of hospital supporters and board members. Smith is the daughter of past GRMC board president Debbie Pohlson, and granddaughter of Don Howig, also a past hospital board member and president.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from Luther College in psycho biology. This blended degree of biology and psychology looks at the mind’s influence on health. Prior to moving to Grinnell she worked at Lincoln Financial Group in X for seven years. She was a full time mom for three years when her children were young.
Smith has served as the executive director for Imagine Grinnell for three years. In this role, she supports the Imagine Grinnell board and keeps ideas moving forward to improve quality of life issues in Grinnell. This role has prepared Smith for her duties on the GRMC board.
She believes serving on the GRMC board is a huge honor.
“I watched my mother on the board and remember my grandfather serving on this board. They taught me the important and honor of serving on the board,” Smith says. “It requires creative thinking and problem solving. I want to help sustain this medical center so that it’s here for my grandchildren someday.”
Smith and her family have demonstrated their support of the hospital as patients as well as through service from birth to end of life. Smith delivered one of her children at GRMC. She remembers the experience as being very comfortable and the staff were very loving. She has been admitted for pneumonia as a child and influenza as an adult. She was with her grandmother during an emergency department visit and felt Dr. Knobloch and the staff were doing the best possible for her grandmother. The family recently experienced the hospice care team with her grandfather. She is so appreciative of the care by hospice.
In addition to the GRMC board, Smith has served on the Grinnell Newburg Education Excellence board and the Dollars for Scholars board for the past six years. She’s also well known in Grinnell as a youth swimming co-coach and as the Grinnell high school swim team coach.
She and her husband, Dustin, have two children. She loves the outdoors whether its biking, walking, or just being outside. Her other favorite pass time is being a mom and watching her children experience the world.
David Stoakes, EdD, joins the board as a way to give back to the community. He spent 13 years in Grinnell as a principal and superintendent for the Grinnell Newburg School District from 1993 to 2006. He left to become the superintendent from the Cedar Falls school district for six years. He also serves as an adjunct instructor in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of Northern Iowa as the supervisor of the internship program for aspiring superintendents. For the past three years, he has been semi-retired and works as an education consultant assisting Iowa school districts with issues such as restructuring elementary attendance center boundaries, enrollment projections, and facilities planning.
When he was working fulltime, he didn’t feel it was possible to serve on local boards but now he believes it’s the time in his life to get involved.
Stoakes earned his bachelor’s degree from Central College and a masters and doctorate degree in education from the University of Northern Iowa. In total he has served 22 years as a principal and 9 years as a superintendent.
“The people on the hospital board, administration and staff are highly committed to the medical center. They strive for excellent in all phases,” Stoakes says. “I personally want to be a team member and be positive and productive while supporting the mission. Healthcare faces tremendous changes and more are ahead. I want to have a positive impact on GRMC and its future.”
Stoakes and his wife Jackie live in Grinnell. They have two adult children and now in retirement can enjoy time with their three grandsons.
Montezuma resident Brian Watson also joins the GRMC board of directors. He steps into the trustee position with a goal to help the hospital as it faces many challenges. Watson currently serves as the chief financial officer for Oldcastle Materials, a large supplier of aggregates and paving materials, based in Atlanta, Ga.
Watson works out of offices in Des Moines and Austin, Tex. He recently closed an office in Overland Park, Kan., and moved back to rural Montezuma to the farm where he grew up. His parents are Raymond and Mary Jo Watson. He travels often for his work but loves coming back to the farm. He and his wife Dawn have two adult daughters, a son at Iowa State University, and a son in the Montezuma School district.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Central College and began his working career at Vermeer. After 9 years in Pella, he switched industries to aggregates and asphalts at Oldcastle Materials for the past 12 years.
When approached about serving on the board, he initially felt he was too busy, but realized he could contribute to the board.
“I had skills that could be used at the hospital. We all feel like we’re too busy but having just moved back to Montezuma, I wanted to become plugged into the community again,” Watson says. “So after serious consideration, I felt this could be beneficial to me and the board. I can bring in experience and get involved in local programs that have a big impact on the community.”
Watson’s commitment to GRMC may also stem from the fact he was born at GRMC. As a typically kid, he spent a little time in the emergency department with a broken foot and a few other mishaps of childhood.
Like the other new board members, Watson attended GRMC’s Board Advance day-long strategic planning session in October. He says, “This is a whole new industry and a challenging environment with governmental and industry regulations. It’s going to be interesting, in a good way.”
The GRMC Board of Trustees includes officers: president – Bill Menner, Grinnell, the Iowa State Director for Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture; past chair – Ed Hatcher, Grinnell, area farmer; chair elect – Todd Reding, Grinnell, Listra Company; treasurer – Dan Agnew, Grinnell, retired president of Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company; and secretary – Rochelle Johnson, JD, West Liberty, University of Iowa.
Other members of the board are Karla Erickson, Brooklyn; and Laura Ferguson, MD; Wendy Kadner; Nicholas Kuiper, DO, and Al Maly, all of Grinnell. Ex officio members of the board include Todd Linden, GRMC President and CEO; Ron Collins, MD, medical staff president; Sally Lang, GRMC Foundation Board chair; and Rusty Jones.
The board is responsible for overall governance of GRMC, a nonprofit, private medical center. Its primary roles include maintaining the mission and vision; strategic planning; appointing members of the medical and allied health staff; approving the annual budget and providing financial oversight; monitoring overall quality of services; and appointing the chief executive.