A Publication of WTVP

Leadership is not just about who is sitting in the C-suite.

OSF Saint Francis Medical Center recognizes the importance of developing leadership skills across all departments, with support and guidance starting at the top. But leadership is not just about who is sitting in the C-suite; often it is defined by those in the offices outside of the administration wing. Peoria has a robust medical community that is recognized in a variety of ways at the state and national levels. Physicians often get wide recognition because of their positions or published research, but there are so many others who lead the way. No article could be long enough to cover all those who deserve to be mentioned for their leadership, so we’re highlighting just a few and how it helps in their daily OSF lives.

Marilyn Oertley, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, BCD is the director of multidisciplinary care, responsible for ambulatory services at the Central Illinois Pain Center, Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center, Voice and Swallowing Disorders Center, and Behavioral Health Services. She has served on the Illinois Medicaid Reimbursement Task Force that examined the fiscal impact of including social workers as Medicaid-reimbursed mental health providers. In addition, she was appointed by the Governor to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) and Social Work Examining and Disciplinary Board (SWEDB). Oertley’s work with SWEDB represents a partnership with IDFPR and the Governor’s office to carry out the rules, regulations and responsibilities of the state’s Clinical Social Work and Social Work Practice Act, for the benefit of the people of Illinois.

Ashley Simper, MS, RD, LDN is a community/outpatient dietitian who has held a number of positions with the Central Illinois Dietetic Association (CIDA). One of 10 dietetic districts in the state made up of over 70 local dietitians, it’s part of the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which is part of the national Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Simper is currently the CIDA media representative, serving as a nutrition expert in TV and print, as well as a past president of the group. In 2010, she was named Young Dietitian of the Year by the Illinois Dietetic Association, in part because of her leadership skills.

“I used to see myself more as a follower than a leader. Through the experience I gained working in this association and the confidence I’ve built in my leadership roles, I have learned to not take a backseat anymore,” Simper says. “I now prefer to speak up and lead, not only in everyday meetings with colleagues. It’s important in my public position to be the nutrition expert and educate others on the importance of evidenced-based nutrition information!”

Golda E. Ewalt, MS, RD, LDN, director of the Dietetic Internship Program, is a member of the House of Delegates for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This is a national association that represents more than 75,000 nutrition professionals in the U.S. As a delegate, she represents the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for the southern Illinois region. It’s her job to educate and communicate with Illinois dietitians about strategic issues the Academy is working on. This fall, the focus is the Affordable Care Act.

“My volunteer work for the state and national associations opens the door to meet new people and gather ideas to bring back to OSF,” says Ewalt. “I applied for a management position at OSF in 1999 when I didn’t have any management experience… I feel I got that job because I could provide leadership examples that I had gained through volunteer experiences. Because of this, I encourage the OSF dietetic interns to be active members of professional organizations.”

Marilyn, Ashley, and Golda are just a small snapshot of the leaders being developed on the OSF campus—and sharing what they learn—every day. iBi

Shelli Dankoff is senior media relations specialist at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.