In 2008, our community will begin to enjoy three leaders who will shape Peoria’s future. Two are leaders of established institutions, and the other leads an emerging organization that will transform the healthcare system across the Peoria area. Specifically, I am referring to Joanne Glasser, the new president of Bradley University; Dr. Sarah Rusch, the new regional dean of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria (UICOMP) and Dr. Gail Amundson, president and CEO of Quality Quest for Health.
Ms. Glasser has already made a very positive impression since her arrival last July. (If you haven’t met her yet, you may be the only one—she’s been everywhere!) Her energy and enthusiasm has everyone talking about Bradley’s future. Dr. Rusch has been with the medical school for many years, assuming her leadership role at a critical time in the life of UICOMP. Dr. Amundson was recruited to Peoria after many successful years transforming the health system in Minnesota, a state which has long been considered a model of innovation in the healthcare industry.
Each of these new leaders brings a welcomed new perspective to their respective organizations. What will be interesting to watch is the interaction that could very well occur among their organizations and the three leaders themselves.
In addition to setting a new tone as the face of Bradley University, Ms. Glasser will be overseeing an expansion of the campus and strengthening its academic programs, both at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Without question, Bradley has the opportunity to move beyond being recognized as a regionally-known institution to becoming a nationally-known institution.
Dr. Rusch will look to expand research opportunities and strengthen the academic focus at UICOMP. The opportunities for Bradley and UICOMP to collaborate through research and education will be greatly enhanced.
As President and CEO of Quality Quest for Health, Dr. Amundson will establish performance standards to transform healthcare in central Illinois, and UICOMP will be an important component in that transformation. The link between these two organizations and their leaders will have a very large impact on the future of our community.
Every community needs an occasional breath of fresh air to reinvigorate itself; these leaders will be that for Peoria. Their organizations are integral to the future success of our region, and their leadership is necessary if this community is to achieve the economic development agenda that has been established through the Heartland Partnership, Peoria NEXT and other organizations. Enhancing our research capabilities, strengthening our medical community and improving the overall quality of education are critical to the future success of the Greater Peoria Area.
I hope you get the opportunity to meet these dynamic new leaders in 2008. You’ll feel comfortable that the future of their organizations— and that of our community—are in great hands. IBI