TERRE HAUTE, Indiana – Completing an intense process, including an extensive search involving more than 50 candidates, the Board of Directors of the Indiana Rural Health Association (IRHA) has selected and named Cara A. Veale as the association’s new Chief Executive Officer. Veale, currently the vice president of provider services at Daviess Community Hospital in Washington, Indiana, “hit all of the marks we were looking for in a new executive leader,” said Mark Vonderheit, IRHA Board President. “We wanted a collaborative, knowledgeable and experienced leader who could effectively build on the positive foundation that current CEO Don Kelso has laid over the past decade, and we believe we have found that in Cara.”
The Board President added that Veale, who holds a master’s degree in occupational therapy and a doctorate in health sciences from the University of Indianapolis, has deep experience in directly working for rural hospitals. “We were looking for a leader who could work with all partners and levels of rural health professionals in Indiana, and Cara’s career reflects that,” he continued.
“This represents a tremendous opportunity and I’m excited for this new role of service,” Veale said. “A great team is already in place at IRHA and I look forward to working with Don as I transition into the position.”
Kelso said that Veale’s experience in working directly in rural health clinics and with IRHA itself is a major plus for the future of the association. “She has both a good working knowledge of state and local rural healthcare issues, and solid experience in already working with IRHA and its various rural programs.” Among other projects, Veale previously worked directly with IRHA in establishing a school telehealth clinic in Daviess County.
“While we had several excellent candidates, Cara stood out during the interview process, which included face-to-face interviews and direct discussions with the IRHA senior team,” Vonderheit said. “We believe she can continue to develop the forward-looking vision at IRHA and help the association continue to elevate its level of service to rural hospitals and medical professionals.”
The new IRHA CEO will start on July 6 and work together with Kelso to transition the position through the end of July.
Veale began her 13-year career at Daviess Community Hospital in 2007 as an occupational therapist serving in the hospital’s Inpatient Acute Rehab Unit, and later stepped into a management role as the director of Rehabilitation Therapy.
In 2015, Veale was promoted to Chief Patient Experience Officer. She has since provided high-level leadership training, facilitated training and implementation of various best practices at Daviess Community Hospital and served as a direct avenue for the patient and community voice. In 2017, Veale transitioned to the role of executive director of Provider Services and then into the role of vice president of Provider Services where she provided administrative oversight and direction to the medical practice groups, physicians, and advanced practice providers.
Veale received her Fellowship in the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) in 2018, which demonstrates her dedication to promoting the highest standards in professional, educational and leadership performance.
A Brownsburg, Indiana native, Veale and her husband, Gavin, live in Washington with their son Tyson. Their extended family includes two dogs, Stella and Stormy.
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About the Indiana Rural Health Association
The Indiana Rural Health Association was organized in 1997 and is a nonprofit organization working to enhance the health and well-being of rural populations in Indiana through leadership, education, advocacy, collaboration, and resource development. The strength of the organization is through the present diverse membership and the founding organizers who are committed to impacting the health of citizens through the identification of rural health issues and through advocacy roles in both the public and private sectors. IRHA membership is made up of 3,300 diverse individuals and organizations, making it the largest state rural health association in the nation, and a nationally recognized leader in rural health care. For more information, visit www.indianaruralhealth.org.