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Published on August 17, 2017

Dani Gearhart

Ripples matter: Positive patient, community impact a priority for Gundersen St. Joseph's CEO

Danni Gearhart is ready to make positive community ripples.

"When you throw a pebble into a pond, the ripples touch everything," the new chief executive officer at Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital and Clinics says. "It's my responsibility to make sure the ripples we make as an organization have a positive impact on patients, on our staff and on the communities we serve."

The Oelwein, Iowa, native and her family moved to Hillsboro in May from Boonville, Missouri, where she was CEO at Cooper County Memorial Hospital. Danni takes the helm from Garith Steiner, who served as interim CEO following Deb Smith's retirement in 2016.

After only a few weeks on the job, Danni could sense positive attitudes toward healthcare in Hillsboro and the surrounding communities.

"Our employees' dedication to quality patient care and experience is outstanding," Danni says. "They are already sending ideas to me to enhance care and emphasize preventative medicine."

Among Danni's goals for Gundersen St. Joseph's include advancing plans to build a new Hospital in Hillsboro and developing a two to three-year plan to enhance patient care.

"We have many opportunities to build upon the already great care our patients receive," Danni says. "Enhancing telemedicine, emphasizing preventive care and prioritizing care close to home, with the support of Gundersen Health System's tremendous specialties and resources, are things we will focus on in the years ahead."

Danni was also drawn to western and southwestern Wisconsin for the opportunities it gives her young family.

"My husband, Mike, and I have two young children, and we wanted to raise them in a smaller town," Danni says. "Hillsboro is a great fit for us. We're excited to be part of the community."