Dennis Welsh has been named vice president, Rural Health Transformation and executive director, Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, and joined the UM Shore Regional Health (UM SRH) leadership team in early April 2021. Supporting Welsh in leading rural health transformation initiatives for UM SRH is Lara Wilson, who has been named director, Rural Health Care Transformation, UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, will begin in her new role in May 2021.
Welsh brings two decades of senior leadership experience in rural health care settings, including strategic planning, operations management, organizational transformation, change management, technology implementation, lean management, corporate compliance, data security/privacy, grant/capital funding and healthcare consulting.
Welsh served three years as president and chief executive officer of Down East Community Hospital, a full-service, independent rural hospital located in Machias, Maine. During his tenure, the hospital enjoyed significant growth in several areas, including family practice and laboratory services. He also planned and led a multimillion-dollar upgrade of the Emergency Department and implemented effective, long-term strategic plans for the hospital.
Previously, Welsh spent 13 years at Eastern Maine Health Care Systems’ Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital, a full-service critical access hospital with off-site rural health clinics in Greenville, Maine, including nine years as executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Welsh’s educational credentials include a Master of Health Care Administration from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and a bachelor’s degree from Point Park College in Pittsburgh. He is a Fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives, and holds multiple health care specialty certifications.
Wilson also is a proven health leader, bringing experience in the non-profit, hospital and community health industries to her role. She comes to UM SRH after serving six years as executive director of the Maryland Rural Health Association, based in Centreville, Maryland. In that capacity, with the goal of improving the health of Maryland’s rural communities, Wilson provided leadership and advocacy, program and strategic planning, financial management and personnel management, communications and marketing, and membership development and services.
Since 2017, Wilson also has served as an independent consultant for Merchant McIntyre in Washington, D.C., providing grant support to rural hospitals and health care organizations across the country and strategizing with top rural health care organization leadership to brainstorm new ways to increase funding for the rural communities.
Wilson’s prior experience includes two years as senior director, Grant Development, and administrator for Hospital Owned Physician Practices at Garrett Regional Medical Center in Oakland, Maryland; three years as practice manager, Maryland Primary Care Physicians, based in Annapolis; and four years as project director for the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Wilson holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of Maryland, an M.S. in Health Systems Administration from Georgetown University and multiple, specialized certifications, including Lean Six Sigma – Yellow Belt.
“Dennis Welsh and Lara Wilson are a fantastic team who will lead the development and implementation of a new model of rural health care for the region,” said Ken Kozel, president and CEO, UM SRH. “Dennis brings two decades of experience leading critical access hospitals and has a real passion for rural health care. His expertise will be complemented by Lara’s skills in working with community partners to build the programs in the Aging & Wellness Center of Excellence and her in-depth knowledge of the Maryland health care landscape, our key community partners and our legislators. I am so grateful to have them joining our team.”