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The Parkland Health Center Foundation is very pleased to announce that Deborah S. Peterson has been selected as chairperson of the foundation board. Peterson will assume her role in early February and she succeeds Jill R. Colson in this position. Peterson has served on the foundation board for two years and is also in her third year on the Parkland Health Center Board of Directors.

Peterson’s educational background and work experience are in both nursing and business. She is a licensed registered nurse (RN), having received her nursing diploma from Missouri Baptist School of Nursing. She continued her studies toward a bachelor degree in nursing at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition, Peterson was trained as an advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) instructor at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska. She has also completed multiple business classes at Mineral Area College and is a certified owner/operator and general manager for Steak ‘n Shake, CiCi’s Pizza and Qdoba.

For the past 23 years, Peterson has been a part of In-Sight Partners. In this role, she owns and manages several local restaurants, rental properties and businesses. Previous experience in the medical field includes owner and director of nurses for Farmington Care Center; intensive care, surgery, and recovery room nurse at Farmington Community Hospital (now Parkland Health Center); and burn trauma and emergency nurse at St. Elizabeth Hospital of Lincoln, Nebraska. In addition, she was an ACLS instructor at both hospitals.

Peterson and her husband, Harry H. “Chip” Peterson, are well known in the region as local business owners who, along with their family, have a long-time history of serving and helping the local community. In addition to Debbie’s service to Parkland Health Center, she also serves on the board of the MCII Sheltered Workshop and is a past board member of Mineral Area Regional Medical Center and Franchisees of CiCi’s Pizza, Inc. The Petersons have three grown children and four grandchildren, all of whom live in the local area.

About her new position as Foundation board chair, Peterson said, “I’m excited! Anything for the community; I want to help. I’m happy for the opportunity! I was so excited to see what all Parkland Health Center has done for the community and I wanted to be a part of it.” She added that as the national climate of health care changes, the role of the Foundation is more crucial than ever.

Peterson went on to explain that some community members may not be aware of the important role of the Foundation. In addition to being responsible for securing and stewarding philanthropic support, the Foundation also carefully selects projects on which to expend its resources, each of which significantly enhances Parkland’s ability to provide extraordinary care.

Equipment such as a coil that enables breast MRIs, digital radiology, the Vocera Voice Communication Project as well as expansion of the Parkland Cancer Center and a helipad and canopy for the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Kids Flight Helicopter and mobile intensive care unit at Parkland are examples of gifts from the Foundation. In addition, the Foundation is in its fourth year of offering BJC School Outreach educational opportunities to all public and private schools in St. Francois County.

“We are very pleased to have Debbie Peterson on our hospital and foundation boards, and she will do an excellent job leading the foundation," said Tom Karl, president of Parkland Health Center. "It’s a great fit; she has both a medical and business background, she is a proven leader, and she has an obvious passion for helping people. I certainly congratulate her and welcome her to this leadership position.”

Parkland Health Center is part of BJC HealthCare which also includes St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the teaching hospitals for Washington University School of Medicine. For additional information about Parkland Health Center or the Foundation, please call 756-6451 or visit www.parklandhealthcenter.org.

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