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Westfield Hospital president named COO for AHN Saint Vincent

Karen Surkala

ERIE, Pa. — Allegheny Health Network announced recently that Karen Surkala, president of Westfield Memorial Hospital, has assumed a new role for the organization as chief operating officer of AHN Saint Vincent Hospital.

Moving forward, Surkala and Chris Clark, DO, President of AHN Saint Vincent Hospital, will jointly lead Westfield. AHN will also hire an administrator to help manage daily operations at the southwestern New York hospital.

An accomplished healthcare executive with significant experience in the Northwestern Pennsylvania health care market, Surkala was named President of Westfield in 2019. She also served as a vice president and administer there from 2007 to 2011. In between, she served as CEO of Select Specialty Hospital, a long-term care facility in Erie, and as a senior vice president at AHN Saint Vincent from 2012-2015.

In her new position at AHN Saint Vincent, Surkala will oversee day-to-day operations at the hospital and its affiliated facilities and programs in the community, working with on-site and network-level leaders to help guide the hospital’s long-term strategy.

“Karen is an extremely talented healthcare executive who has been instrumental to our organization’s success in Erie and in Westfield over the past two decades,” said Chris Clark, DO, MHA, President of AHN Saint Vincent. “We are excited to have her return to Saint Vincent in this important role as our COO and look forward to the positive impact she will have on our efforts to provide the people of the greater northwestern Pennsylvania and southwestern New York regions with comprehensive, high-quality health care services.”

Dr. Clark said Surkala’s strong familiarity with both AHN Saint Vincent and Westfield Hospital will help to ensure the continued close strategic alignment of the facilities.

Since assuming leadership of Westfield, Surkala has overseen a steady expansion of the hospital’s clinical programs and capabilities, including the addition of new OBGYN and urology practices, new virtual health access in endocrinology services & rheumatology and a new 24/7 telemetry system that allows heart patients who require longer-term monitoring to remain closer to home. She also helped to lead the hospital through the many operational and logistical challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have been truly blessed to be part of such a wonderful, patient-centered and community-focused health care system, and to have had the opportunity to help lead the organization’s mission in Northwestern Pennsylvania and Southwestern New York in various capacities throughout my career,” Surkala said. “Westfield and AHN Saint Vincent are comprised of exceptionally skilled and dedicated health care professionals who make a difference every day in lives of so many people. It’s a privilege to work alongside them all on behalf of those we serve.”

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