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Diana K. Woodhouse named Jefferson County Hospice CEO

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The Hospice of Jefferson County board of directors has named Diana K. Woodhouse as the organization’s new CEO.

Mrs. Woodhouse, the current education coordinator at Samaritan Keep Home, will begin her new duties Aug. 1.

Board President Mary Anne Hanley said the board believed Mrs. Woodhouse’s experience with Hospice and with running a nursing facility made her a dream candidate.

“We feel good about this leadership,” Mrs. Hanley said. “She was in our own backyard.”

Mrs. Woodhouse, also a registered nurse, replaces former Chief Executive Officer Stephen P. Lyman, who resigned in February and left April 30 for family reasons.

After meeting staff members Friday at Jefferson County Hospice at the Ellis Farm, 1398 Gotham St., Mrs. Woodhouse said she is excited to begin work.

Hospice “is a very special kind of organization,” she said. “For people who work in hospice, it’s a calling. I’ve often said we don’t have any control of people going into the world, but we should have some control going out.”

She said Hospice of Jefferson County is a unique model because it will have home care and an inpatient residence, although the eight-bed residence has yet to open. Mrs. Hanley said the opening is being worked out with the state.

Although she wasn’t searching for a job beyond Samaritan, Mrs. Woodhouse said she heard about the open Hospice position and people encouraged her to apply. She has worked with the Samaritan Health System for six years, first as vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer at Samaritan Medical Center. In her current position at Samaritan Keep Home, Mrs. Woodhouse developed and implemented an 11-week certified nursing assistant program.

Mrs. Hanley said Mrs. Woodhouse was selected from nine candidates, and was one of three interviewed.

“This is a new beginning for us, a new chapter,” Mrs. Hanley said. “Every CEO has brought their own talents at a time when we’ve needed them. We’ve never had an inpatient facility before, so we needed that expertise.”

Before coming to Watertown, Mrs. Woodhouse held nursing and patient care administrative positions in health care facilities in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Colorado, according to a news release issued Friday by Hospice. In Colorado, Mrs. Woodhouse was responsible for launching a hospital-based hospice, Lutheran Hospice Care, that included home and inpatient care at Lutheran Medical Center, now part of the Exempla System. While there, Mrs. Woodhouse also worked with the hospital’s foundation director on fundraising and endowment planning for the hospice program.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, and a master’s degree in nursing administration and a doctorate in nursing care delivery systems from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver.

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