CHRISTUS St. Vincent is pleased to announce that Karen Wells has been named chair of the hospital’s board of directors. Wells becomes the first registered nurse in the hospital’s 150-year history to be elected to serve as board chair.
Wells has served as a member of the board twice, first from 2005 - 2008, during which time she was a part of the committee that identified CHRISTUS Health as an eventual partner to St. Vincent Hospital. Her second and current term began in January of 2013, and her latest involvement has included serving as chair of both the Health and Community Wellness Committee and the Quality Council.
Wells has a rich history with St. Vincent Hospital. Prior to becoming an RN, she became an LPN, attending all of her classes in Marion Hall, the original St. Vincent Hospital location. For both her LPN and RN degrees, Wells did her clinical rounds at the old St. Vincent Hospital (now the Drury Hotel).
Wells is a consultant in the field of health policy and planning with a healthcare career spanning 37 years in New Mexico. As a registered nurse, she has worked as a direct care provider in hospital, nursing home, intensive care, home health care and hospice settings.
“We are excited to have someone with the depth and breadth of experience that Karen brings to our board,” said Lillian Montoya, Chief Administrative Officer. “She has already served on the board in a variety of a capacities, and as a long-time resident of Santa Fe, she understands the unique needs of our community.”
In addition to having worked for the Legislative Council Service, she is the former Executive Director of the Santa Fe Visiting Nurse Service and the former Executive Director of the New Mexico Association for Home Care. Her previous leadership roles also include: Director of State Affairs for the National Association for Home Care, Clinical Director of Presbyterian Medical Services and Director of Policy and Planning for the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department.
Wells earned an associate’s degree in nursing and a bachelor’s degree in public administration from the College of Santa Fe. She received her master’s degree in public administration the University of New Mexico. She has an abiding interest in health policy, medical ethics, long-term care and end-of-life issues.