Gifford, Ross named to fill vacant hospital seats

Posted: Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Central Peninsula General Hospital Inc. added some familiar faces to its board of directors. After reviewing applications for eight candidates last week, the board selected Shirley Gifford and Rick Ross on Thursday evening to fill its two remaining open seats.

"I was very pleased with all of the candidates," said board member Tom Boedeker. "It's a pleasure to be able to go through good applications. It was a tough pick."

One seat on the 10-member board was opened when Susan Wilcox stepped down at the beginning of the year. When former board member Ken Meacham moved to Barrow in August, it created a second vacancy that the board determined needed to be filled.

Boedeker said the choices reflected recommendations from the board's selection committee.

Gifford is the former Soldotna police chief and held the position for six years before resigning earlier this year. She has been involved with the hospital for several years through the Sexual Assault Response Team-Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program and will continue working with the program as a board member.

Gifford said she had been encouraged by several board members to apply for the seat since relinquishing her title as Soldotna's top cop and said she thought the opportunity was right to become more involved with the hospital.

"I felt like it was an exciting time to be part of some of the changes that are going on," Gifford said. "I think maybe some new eyes and new energy is needed."

Another former law enforcement head, Rick Ross, was Kenai's police chief from 1975 to 1993 and later served as the city manager for Kenai for five years. He has served as a nonboard member of the hospital strategic planning committee for nearly five years and said he was familiar with the challenges the hospital is facing.

"The biggest thing is the lack of space in our present facility," Ross said. "It has contributed to the inability to get specialists down here because we didn't have facilities, which leads to the out migration of patients because of services we don't offer."

He said he was eager to help guide the hospital's growth if a proposed $49.9-million expansion plan comes to fruition on election day Tuesday.

"If voters approve Proposition 2, there's going to be an awful lot of board activity," Ross said. "Especially marketing our hospital to get some of those specialty needs."

Boedeker said he looked forward to working with Ross and Gifford.

"We have the expectation that they will contribute and be valued board members," he said.

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