St. Joe Hospital names new CEO

Karen Fordham

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Lutheran Health Network has selected a veteran healthcare executive to lead St. Joseph Hospital amid a “wave of enthusiasm” for the downtown Fort Wayne hospital’s future.

Karen Fordham was named CEO of St. Joseph Hospital on Thursday. The appointment was announced throughout Lutheran Health Network.

“Karen’s background and tireless pursuit of positive change made her the right person at the right time to lead St. Joseph Hospital into the future,” said Mike Poore, regional president and CEO of Lutheran Health Network. “Her ability to turn vision into action, which includes successfully managing more than $100 million in construction projects during her healthcare career, is just a small sample of what excites our board at St. Joe and me.”

Fordham most recently served as president and CEO of Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, a 158 bed hospital 40 miles northwest of Detroit.

According to a release from Lutheran Health, Fordham is skilled at “enhancing and enriching relationships” with her medical staff. The release said that in 2016, 91 percent of more than 300 Huron Valley-Sinai physicians gave the hospital an 8 or higher on a scale of 1-10 on the annual physician satisfaction survey.

That talent will be called on as St. Joseph Hospital develops into the future. In September, Lutheran Health announced plans to build a new downtown Fort Wayne hospital in place of St. Joseph Hospital, a development funded out of a $500 million investment that was promised to Lutheran Health Network facilities last year.

In November, hospital staff told NewsChannel 15 that officials were still working to determine a suitable location for the new facility.

The hospital’s board said Fordham should embrace the changes.

“I was pleased with her knowledge about St. Joe and its place in our community,” said Judge Stanley Levine, vice chairman of the board of trustees of St. Joseph Hospital. “What other CEO candidates might view as challenges, she sees as opportunities for growth and change.”

Fordham’s official start date is Jan. 22.