Duke Regional Hospital is in the process of finding a new president following the departure of former President Kerry Watson.
After holding leadership positions within the Duke University Health System for the past 10 years, Watson will begin his term as president of Newton-Wellesley hospital in Newton, Mass. today Mary Kate Llamas, a spokeswoman for Duke Regional, said Watson’s last day at Duke Regional was this Friday.
Katie Galbraith, former vice president of Duke Regional, has taken on the role of interim president and will remain in the position until a new president is found.
“Kerry was an exceptional leader for Duke Regional and we are excited for him as he takes on this great new opportunity,” Llamas wrote in an email Monday.
Prior to serving as president of Duke Regional, Watson was the senior associate operating officer at Duke Medicine and the chief executive officer of Duke Regional.
A new president for Duke Regional has not been chosen, but a selection committee of approximately 12 individuals will conduct the search process for a new president, said Dr. Victor Dzau, chancellor for health affairs and president and CEO of DUHS. Dzau said the members of the committee are currently being finalized.
“This presidential search will be a combined effort between Duke University Health System and Duke Regional Hospital,” Dzau said.
Anyone in the United States can apply for the position and a small number of qualified candidates will be selected for an interview, Dzau said. Dzau will make the final selection with Dr. William Fulkerson, executive vice president of DUHS.
Despite repeated attempts for comment, Watson could not be reached in time for publication.
Galbraith said she originally planned to stay at Duke Regional for only a couple of years, but chose to stay because she enjoyed working with the dedicated employees at the hospital
“I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to serve as interim president and provide leadership for our team during this transition,” she said. As interim president, I see my role as supporting our physicians, employees and volunteers to continue to provide the best possible care to every patient every day.”
Duke Regional—which was previously known as Durham Regional Hospital until this January—has been managed by DUHS since a partnership agreement in 1998. This past summer, it was ranked the third best hospital in the Triangle and the fourth best hospital out of the roughly 147 facilities in North Carolina by the U.S. News and World Report.
“We have an incredible team of dedicated employees, physicians and volunteers who live our core value—caring for our patients, their loved ones and each other—day in and day out,” Galbraith said. “Our vision as a hospital is to be the best community hospital in North Carolina.”
Llamas said she is confident in Galbraith’s abilities to lead the hospital during the interim period.
“Our entire organization has relied on Katie’s knowledge and expertise for years and knows she is an exceptional leader,” Llamas noted.