Outreach the first focus of new Northside Hospital CEO

Northside Hospital CEO Valerie Powell-Stafford

ST. PETERSBURG — This spring, Northside Hospital welcomed a new chief executive officer when Valerie Powell-Stafford joined the staff. She started her new role April 1.

Prior to Northside, she spent three years at CEO at Englewood Community Hospital, just south of Sarasota. Both Northside and Englewood are part of HCA Healthcare.

So far, “things are going really well” at Northside, she said. “We have an exceptional team here who are really committed to caring for our patients.”

Powell-Stafford was drawn to Northside because of its designated Heart Institute and stroke center, she said. 

“I was impressed by the level of care and wanted to be part of this team,” she added. “It was an opportunity to continue to elevate patient care here.”

Hailing from Indiana, she earned her bachelor of science in health administration from Indiana University and went on to earn her master of health services administration from the University of Michigan. She did her grad school fellowship at New Haven Hospital through Yale University.

Originally, she was an accounting major. Then she read an article in Seventeen magazine about nontraditional careers for women. One of the featured careers was hospital administration. This immediately piqued her interest.

“Even though I was an accounting major at first, I wanted to do more than that. I wanted to do something that involved helping people,” she said.

So, she met with a local hospital administrator to discuss the career and switched majors.

Powell-Stafford launched her career at Yale New Haven Hospital and later worked for the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. She first joined the HCA ranks in 2008, when she was hired as the assistant administrator at Community Hospital in New Port Richey.

Within a year, she was promoted to chief operating officer for Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, where she spent five years. While there, she developed a 16-bed behavioral health program as well as an interventional cardiac program.

Following this, Powell-Stafford served as COO of the Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, where she spent two years developing a new burn and wound program. She also was responsible for implementing Blake’s Women’s Health and Wellness program.

She joined Englewood in 2016. Under her guidance, Englewood ranked number one in the entire HCA system for patient safety and quality for 20 consecutive months, she said.

“We had a real strong commitment to patient excellence and clinical excellence,” she said. 

Englewood also ranked number three in HCA for employee engagement and earned “A” scores from Leapfrog for 13 consecutive reporting periods.

“That made us one of the safest hospitals in the country,” Powell-Stafford said.

Now, she plans to build on this success at Northside.

“My job is really to build a strong culture that will help us grow the hospital and really meet the needs of the community and really provide that level of patient care that the community deserves,” she said.

She’s eager to meet community partners and build relationships throughout the county, said. One of the first things she did after starting her new position at Northside was to create a list of local physicians, government officials, organizations and businesses to meet with.

“We’re really looking to bring more programming into the community,” she said. “We want to do more off site. We want to work with local community groups, neighborhood associations, companies. That’s what I’ve done in the past.”