Welcome to new president

Published 10:56 pm Friday, July 26, 2019

A growing city like Suffolk, especially when surrounded by other growing communities, needs a number of things to continue to thrive.

Among the top priorities is good health care for local residents and visitors, and Obici Hospital has been providing that for many decades.

Started by Planters Peanuts founder, and Suffolk benefactor, Amedeo Obici in memory of his wife, Louise, the hospital has been operational since 1951 and merged with Sentara Healthcare in 2006. It has grown with the community, moving from an original site on North Main Street to its current location on Godwin Boulevard and consistently adding more beds and more services.

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The growth and stability of Obici Hospital should be treasured by those in the community who rely upon it. That’s why it is so good to hear the hospital announce a new president who is already esteemed in the field of health care leadership and administration.

Sentara announced on Friday that Coleen Santa Ana, president of Sentara Albemarle Medical Center in Elizabeth City, will take over leadership at Obici following the retirement of Dr. Steve Julian last April.

You can read more about Santa Ana in the story that starts on the front. But one thing should stick out — less than five years ago, she took over at a struggling Pasquotank County, N.C., hospital when the health system took it over, transforming Sentara Albemarle into a hospital that is financially stable and offers state-of-the-art technologies, new services and improved quality and safety.

This should sound like good news to everybody in Suffolk. While Obici is not struggling, having such a good track record in its new leader bodes well for the hospital and for the community. Santa Ana will have to rebuild an executive leadership team with new vice president and chief nurse executive, Suffolk native Stephanie Jackson, and a new vice president of medical affairs yet to be named, replacing a retiring doctor.

We wish Santa Ana much success and look forward to welcoming her to the community in September.