STRAIGHT TALK BY President and CEO, NCH HealthcareSystem

Allen Weiss MD, MBA, FACP, FACR President CEO, NCH Healthcare System

When success and selflessness come together, communities and institutions benefit. NCH was conceived and supported for over sixty-three years by altruistic folks who wanted to help fellow citizens in their community benefit from local hospital care. Our mission has evolved from being a traditional repair shop to an innovative system focused on prevention, just as our facilities have grown and transformed from a frontier to rural to community hospital and now a Mayo Clinic affiliated academic healthcare system.

We have thousands of philanthropic supporters—modest to gigantic—who together help us achieve our CMS 5 star status and strong financial backbone. This tradition of community support continues to grow with a very recent gift (NCH’s third largest ever) from a couple who were unassuming grateful patients wanting to help everyone have their same excellent experience. Mrs. Audrey Petersen is another wonderful example of success and selflessness. Her visionary gift, providing Smart Room technology for NCH, has transformed healthcare delivery here.

Seamless, integrated connectivity from the bedside to the medical record, including monitoring equipment, IV pumps, and other digital inputs, now give patients and caregivers a safer experience. Mrs. Petersen’s true life story, similar to a Horatio Alger fictional hero, has been beautifully shared in a recent biography entitled, Hitch Your Wagon to a Star and Keep on Climbing. The back cover captures Mrs. Petersen’s character and explains her motivation to
give back: “Growing up during the hard-scrabble Depression years, Audrey Snively Morean Petersen vowed that she would be somebody someday.

But her life course was irrevocably altered when she was just a teenager. Audrey found another path, a path that led to a destiny she never could have imagined. From the fledgling business
founded at the kitchen table, to the boardroom of an international corporation, to the lives and communities she is transforming through her visionary philanthropy, Audrey is driven by one
guiding principle: Just go for it!” As I read Mrs. Petersen’s biography, I was reminded of the
community’s strong historical interconnectivity related to healthcare. Like so many before her, she has built solid confidence in NCH, both as a patient and a philanthropist.

As the book states, “Audrey recognizes that many successful people are so busy with their careers, it isn’t until later in life that they begin to think about how they can make an impact through philanthropy. Her vision and generosity would not only improve health care; it could also inspire others to transform their community.” And as the book quotes Audrey, “ Money has no value in itself. You can let it sit in the bank and it does nothing. The value is in what you can do with your money.”

These are Audrey’s thoughts after she agreed to have the cardiology floor of the Baker Hospital Downtown and the sixth floor of North Naples Hospital named in her honor. Learn more about the way philanthropic support is shaping your healthcare system at: .NCH and all of Southwest Florida are beneficiaries of Mrs. Petersen and the countless other successful, selfless, and altruistic contributors who help everyone live a longer, happier, and healthier life.

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