Hospital Executive began his career in Randolph and returns 24 years later
Dan Bennett has been named president and chief executive officer at Gifford Health Care in Randolph. He brings 17 years of leadership experience in small community healthcare organizations, most recently as chief operating officer at Waldo County Healthcare in Belfast, Maine, a position he held for eight years. Prior to that he was executive director and chief financial officer at the Mid-Coast Mental Health Center in Rockland Maine.
Bennett, who will start at Gifford on October 3, 2016, rose to the top of the candidate pool early in a national search that began after Joseph Woodin’s departure in April.
“During the search process it became clear that Dan is a great listener and collaborative leader, with the vision and management skills required to maintain a positive organizational culture, fulfill strategic goals, and effectively pursue new opportunities,” Gifford Board Chair Gus Meyer wrote in an announcement to staff. “We are convinced that he has the qualities we need to keep Gifford moving forward as the highly successful, innovative, independent organization we have come to know and expect.”
Bennett worked briefly in Gifford’s Accounting Department after graduating with a BS in Accounting from St. Michaels College in 1991. He moved to a management position at Mt. Ascutney Hospital in Windsor, VT, and received a Masters of Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire in 2000. He has worked and lived in Maine for the last 16 years.
Returning to Randolph after 24 years, Bennett found the growth and improvements at Gifford impressive, but not surprising.
“Innovation has always been part of the culture here,” he said. “Gifford continuously looks at what is coming next and then builds out its services to meet that need. The recent Federally Qualified Health Center designation and integration of dental and behavioral health into primary care are examples of this creative positioning. The organization is in wonderful shape.”
Several recent Gifford initiatives are similar to programs Bennett has worked on in Maine: he successfully implemented an electronic health records system at Waldo, developed programs to increase healthcare access to uninsured and underserved populations, and created the only hospital-based oral health program in Maine.
Bennett grew up in Brandon, Vermont and while at Gifford met his wife Jane (who was the hospital’s dietitian for five years). The couple’s now 20-year-old son Nick was born in Gifford’s Birthing Center. He says the strong relationships they developed during that time, both at work and in the community, inspired him to pursue a career in rural healthcare administration.
“I saw how many opportunities there are to interact with people at a small hospital, and how important it is to develop a relationship with the community,” he said. “The fact that you are caring for your neighbors adds meaning to your work. This resonated with me then, and it still does today.”