A new president for St. Elizabeth Hospital has been named, according to a Franciscan Health System press release Monday.
Donna Russell-Cook takes over after Dennis Popp initially announced last July that he would be retiring (). Russell-Cook has served as chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Heart Institute-Hospital in Tulsa since 2009.
"I look forward to joining the Franciscan family and partnering with all the individuals that provide direct patient care, as well as those that manage the continuum of care for our patients and their families," Russell-Cook said. "I am particularly proud to have been selected to provide leadership for a new, state-of-the-art hospital like St. Elizabeth that is essential to the quality of life for all residents of the Enumclaw Plateau."
Before becoming CEO of the Oklahoma Heart Institute at Hillcrest Medical Center, she was administrator of the Heart Center at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Prior to that, she served as senior director of cardiovascular and interventional radiology services for the Montana region, based at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings. She has also served as administrator of physician practices at Arnett Clinic in Lafayette, Ind., and managed the preventive health program for The Boeing Co. in Seattle.
She earned a master’s degree in cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation and program administration from the University of Wisconsin, and a bachelor’s degree in human nutrition and biochemistry from the University of Nebraska. She is a Fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives.
"We are very fortunate that a health care administrator with Donna’s credentials has agreed to join St. Elizabeth and the Franciscan Health System," Franciscan Health System Chief Operating Officer Cliff Robertson said. "I know the hospital’s medical staff members and employees will enjoy working with her, and that community members will enjoy meeting her."
Popp has postponed his retirement plans at Robertson’s request in order to serve as vice president of support services for the Franciscan organization. In this new role, Popp will provide executive oversight of hospital facilities and property management, laboratory and nephrology services, environmental services, materials management, security services, and food and nutrition services. His office will be in Federal Way.
During his 26-career career as Enumclaw’s top hospital executive, Popp helped recruit many of the physicians who practice in Enumclaw and other Plateau communities today. He joined Enumclaw Regional Hospital as chief administrator in 1985; provided executive leadership when the independent community hospital affiliated with Franciscan in 2007; and has served as president of St. Elizabeth since it opened in February 2011 ().
"The Enumclaw community, and the many friends I have made here, will always have a special place in my heart," said Popp, recipient of the 2008 Joe Hopkins Memorial Leadership Award from the Washington State Hospital Association. "I would not trade my experiences of the last quarter-century for anything."