Healthcare Trustees of New York State Presents Trustee Leadership and Advocacy Awards to Sharon Hanson and Mary Gail Biebel

LAKE PLACID, NY—Healthcare Trustees of New York State (HTNYS) presented its 2016 Trustee Leadership and Advocacy Awards on Saturday to Sharon Hanson, Chair of the Erie County Medical Center Corporation Board of Directors, and Mary Gail Biebel, Chair of the Columbia Memorial Health Board of Directors.

Described as the “consummate Board member,” Sharon Hanson has served Erie County Medical Center Corporation (ECMCC) through a variety of Board leadership roles and has deftly helped guide the hospital through an ever-changing and challenging healthcare environment.

Currently ECMCC’s Board Chair, Ms. Hanson has been involved in key milestones and significant developments at ECMCC over the past two decades—including its creation in 2003 as a public benefit corporation. She was also instrumental in establishing a new collaborative healthcare model—Great Lakes Health (a consortium including ECMCC and Kaleida Health).  Earlier this year, she led successful advocacy efforts to allow ECMCC to collaborate with Kaleida Health and the University at Buffalo to operate integrated healthcare delivery services in Western New York—helping to position ECMCC for sustainable service delivery for decades to come.

Ms. Hanson also worked with a collaborative team to lay out a strategic plan that resulted in significant growth, including development of centers of excellence in orthopaedics, transplantation, and behavioral health; the addition of new services such as oncology, and bariatrics; and an expanded emergency department.  She drove efforts to launch the ECMCC Foundation’s mobile mammography coach to meet the needs of medically under-served women.  

Ms. Hanson’s leadership and advocacy on behalf of ECMCC’s thousands of caregivers and diverse community of patients has had a profound impact on the organization’s day-to-day operations, its partnerships, and on the community it serves.  

Through her leadership, Mary Gail Biebel has strengthened the entire Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH) system, which is based in Hudson, New York.  As Chair of the Board of Trustees for the last three years, following 11 years as a trustee, she has employed a collaborative, engaged, creative, and principled process to help guide the strategic direction of the healthcare network.

Using skills honed in her career as a strategy consultant for some of the largest organizations in the nation, Ms. Biebel led the CMH Board through the most significant transformational period in the organization’s long history. Under her leadership, the Board and CMH executives envisioned, and in October 2015 successfully executed, a groundbreaking partnership with Albany Medical Center that blended the unique strengths of both organizations while ensuring continued, meaningful, localized governance. The affiliation has generated a more efficient healthcare system and improved access to specialty care for residents of Columbia and Greene counties.

Ms. Biebel is also a staunch leader of local, state, and federal advocacy on behalf of healthcare in the communities served by Columbia Memorial Health.  Her style is hands-on and engaging, and she is a well-known presence in the offices of policymakers, having participated in HTNYS’ Advocacy Day events.

The awards were presented by Eric Allyn, Vice Chair, HTNYS’ Board of Trustees, and Immediate Past Board Chair, Auburn Community Hospital, at a luncheon at HTNYS’ 36th Annual Conference, held in Lake Placid, New York.

About the Trustee Leadership and Advocacy Award

HTNYS created the Trustee Leadership and Advocacy Award in 1985 to recognize trustees who bring extraordinary leadership and dedication to their governance role.  The award is presented to trustees whose skills, commitment, and effective decision-making have a profound impact in their boardroom.  The award honors trustees for taking a lead role in positioning their organizations to meet the challenges of the evolving healthcare environment.  It also recognizes trustees for their outstanding contributions to grassroots advocacy efforts for their hospital or health system. 

About Healthcare Trustees of New York State (HTNYS)

Healthcare Trustees of New York State (HTNYS) was established in 1981 to address a growing need for governance education for New York’s healthcare trustees and to provide them with new opportunities to participate in healthcare advocacy.

HTNYS’ Mission

To assist voluntary healthcare trustees through education, communications, and advocacy to promote the delivery of quality healthcare to all communities in a cost-effective manner.