With the calendar page turning to 2023, St. Luke’s Wood River has a new chief of staff and new leadership on its governing board.
Dr. Julie Lyons, one of four St. Luke’s physicians recently honored with Idaho Rural Health Hero awards from the Idaho Rural Health Association, will be the organization’s staff leader in 2023.
“Lyons is a strong advocate for the well-being of Blaine County,” St. Luke’s stated in a news release.
Lyons practices family medicine and women’s medicine at the St. Luke’s Clinic in Hailey.
Among recent accomplishments, Lyons organized a vaccine drive during the COVID-19 pandemic for the Hispanic community, formed a local coalition of women providers to advocate for improved birth-control access, and proposed four resolutions designed to protect reproductive health care at the 2022 Idaho Medical Association House of Delegates.
Lyons and her husband, Blair, a registered nurse at St. Luke’s Wood River, have two boys, ages 7 and 10.
The St. Luke’s Wood River Community Board of Directors also has new leadership, St. Luke’s announced last week.
Eric Thomas will serve as chair of the community board in 2023, taking the place of Jeff Smith, of D. L. Evans Bank, who served an extra year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thomas—who has served on the board for 10 years—started volunteering for St. Luke’s Wood River more than 20 years ago, St. Luke’s stated. He has served on the advisory board for the Center for Community Health and on St. Luke’s Wood River’s Planning and Facilities Committee.
Thomas worked for private youth-intervention and emotional-growth boarding schools before moving to the Wood River Valley full-time. He is a probation officer for Blaine County.
“Building strong working relationships with community partners is integral in creating a healthy and safe community,” Thomas said.
Thomas expressed admiration and gratitude for Smith’s service.
“Jeff has been very generous with his time as chair,” he said. “Taking over during COVID, he was faced with multiple unique challenges, which he handled with competence and grace. He has been a strong mentor and I am looking forward to continuing his work.”
Smith said serving on the board during the pandemic “was probably one of the most overwhelming and fulfilling experiences I’ve had in my life.”
He expressed admiration for seeing how the St. Luke’s staff worked to provide care during the pandemic.
“It engrained my respect and admiration for all involved in our valley and across the entire St. Luke’s system,” he said. “These people care deeply for their craft, the service they provide, and for the people in our community.”
Smith, who has been on the St. Luke’s Wood River Community Board since 2015, will remain on the board, he said.
In addition to Thomas and Smith, the board includes: Erin Clark, Jim Foudy, Ben Holmes, George Kirk, Jeanne Liston, Julie Lyons, Cynthia Murphy, Almita Nunnelee, Susan Parslow, Garry Pearson, Keith Perry, Rob Robideaux, Roger Sanger and Mary Williams.
Meanwhile, St. Luke’s stated, Dr. Frank Batcha has retired from St. Luke’s Wood River’s Family Medicine Clinic as of Dec. 31. He will assist with vacation coverage and will continue his work with the University of Washington’s regional medical education program.
“It is with mixed emotions that I take this step,” Batcha said. “Having practiced here for over 26 years, I’ve established bonds with people that are almost family-like. These relationships have meant a great deal to me.” ￼
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