Monday, Jul 8, 2024

Respected physician and community leaders join Ballad Health Board of Directors and committees

Highly regarded community leaders and physicians from respected groups bring expertise in medicine, business and community service to not-for-profit health system’s unpaid governing body

Dr Brian Dawson head and shoulders headshot portrait Carla Karst head and shoulder portrait headshot

The Ballad Health Board of Directors has unanimously elected several physician and community leaders to join in service on its Board of Directors and several board committees.

The Board of Directors is the governing body of Ballad Health. Comprised of residents from throughout the region, the board and its committees are the fiduciary body responsible for overseeing the mission, strategy and operations of the organization.

In keeping with best practices for health systems’ governing bodies, the board self-imposes term limits to ensure fresh perspectives and diversity in governance. As such, two individuals have been elected to serve when the terms of David May, MD, and David Golden expired on Sunday, June 30. The terms of the newly elected board members and committee members commenced on Monday, July 1.

The two newly elected members of the Board of Directors are Carla Campbell Karst and Brian Dawson, MD. In addition to her service as Chair of Ballad Health Foundation’s board of directors, Karst will serve on the board’s Community Benefit and Population Health committees. Dr. Dawson will serve on the Quality, Service and Safety; Community Benefit; and Population Health committees.

Karst, a native and resident of Kingsport, Tennessee, and graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School who later attended East Tennessee State University, brings a rich background of community service and business acumen to the board. She has served as on the Eastman Community Advisory Panel, Kingsport Public Library Commission and William King Museum of Art Board of Trustees. In addition to her role with Ballad Health Foundation’s board, she also currently serves on the boards of CCS/SteppenStone Youth Treatment Center, the Kingsport Community Foundation and Kingsport Chamber Foundation.

Currently a principal of LandStar Development, and the Edinburgh Group, Karst has helped build and operate successful businesses in the Appalachian Highlands. She is also a highly regarded musician, with involvement in full-time music ministry for more than a decade. She has performed with numerous choirs and at Opryland USA, in addition to producing nine albums.

Dr. Dawson, a resident of Johnson City, Tennessee, is a practicing emergency medicine physician and physician executive with more than 20 years of experience serving in local hospitals. A graduate of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Mars Hill University and the University of Tennessee, Dr. Dawson has served in elected and appointed medical staff roles from Abingdon, Virginia, to Johnson City. Currently, Dr. Dawson is the senior vice president and divisional medical officer for SCP Health, the professional group that provides emergency medicine services throughout Ballad Health and in more than 400 other healthcare facilities nationwide.

Dr. Dawson practiced in the emergency department at Johnston Memorial Hospital for more than 11 years. He served on the Medical Executive Committee for Johnston Memorial’s medical staff, and his colleagues selected him to serve on the hospital’s board of directors. He also served as an assistant professor and clinical faculty member for the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine for more than 11 years, is an avid runner and tri-athlete and is the managing partner and co-owner of Anthony’s Desserts, a popular local bakery and café in Abingdon.

“Ms. Karst and Dr. Dawson have devoted their lives to serving others in the Appalachian Highlands,” said Ballad Health Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alan Levine. “Their success as leaders and engagement in their communities will serve our region and the thousands of team members and physicians who care for patients throughout Ballad Health.”

Levine also expressed gratitude for the service of Dr. May and Golden as their terms ended. Dr. May, a practicing anesthesiologist, served on the boards of legacy Mountain States Health Alliance and Ballad Health for more than 13 years. As a physician respected by his colleagues, Dr. May brought critical insight and physician perspectives to the board on many important issues facing the region’s healthcare system.

Golden, currently the Allen and Ruth Harris Chair of Excellence in the East Tennessee State University College of Business and Technology and chief executive officer of the ETSU Research Corporation, previously served as senior vice president, chief legal and sustainability officer and corporate secretary of Eastman Chemical Company. During his service on the Ballad Health Board of Directors, he led the inaugural Audit and Compliance Committee, which led the health system’s successful effort to ensure Institute of Internal Auditors compliance with the highest audit standards. Golden’s business acumen and deep commitment to audit and compliance helped guarantee Ballad Health’s compliance with not only audit and compliance standards, but also five consecutive years of compliance with the stringent requirements of Ballad Health’s Certificate of Public Advantage.

“Dr. May and Mr. Golden brought an incredible independent perspective to the board of directors during a particularly challenging time as the integration of Ballad Health took place,” said Dr. Brian Noland, Vice Chair and Lead Independent Director of Ballad Health and President of East Tennessee State University. “Their integrity and the selfless time and effort put into their service has always put the patients and team members first, and we are truly grateful for their service.”

New Committee Members

To continue bringing new perspectives to the committees of the Ballad Health Board of Directors, the board elected several physician and community leaders to some of its committees:

Quality, Service and Safety Committee
The Quality, Service and Safety Committee is comprised of physicians and community leaders from throughout the region who oversee Ballad Health’s medical staff functions and monitor and oversee Ballad Health’s quality, service and safety efforts, as well as all actions of the 40-member Physician Clinical Council. The committee meets monthly and will be chaired by Dr. Marta Wayt, a member of the Ballad Health Board of Directors and practicing physician in Kingsport.

  • Dr. Kevin Kirk, a resident of Kingsport and specialist in hospital medicine, joins his colleague from Holston Medical Group already serving on the committee, Dr. Cheryl Stanski. Dr. Kirk serves on the board of directors of Holston Medical Group and the peer review committee of Holston Valley Medical Center, and he has volunteered his time with the Providence Medical Clinic of Kingsport for more than 14 years.
  • Dr. Trey Robertson, a resident of Johnson City, has served in numerous elected medical staff positions, including chief of Franklin Woods Community Hospital’s medical staff and chair of its department of surgery and quality committee. Dr. Robertson, a partner in the John Lawson Surgical Group, is a national leader in robotic surgery, often training other surgeons on the use of the advanced technology. Dr. Robertson grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and attended medical school at the University of Louisville before completing his residency at East Tennessee State University.
  • Dr. Debbie Byrd is Dean of East Tennessee State University Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, with a distinguished career in pharmacy education and healthcare services. Dr. Byrd is a native of Shelby County, Tennessee. Her research interests lie in the areas of organizational culture, leadership development, nursing workforce and environments and quality and safety in healthcare.

“Drs. Robertson, Kirk and Byrd are respected physicians and academic leaders in their communities, and they are actively involved in regional efforts to deliver high quality,” Levine said. “Each represents important groups practicing in our region, which care for thousands of patients each year. Their perspective is critically important, and we look forward to their continued contributions on this crucial committee.”

Audit and Compliance Committee
The Audit and Compliance Committee oversees integrity of financial statements and internal controls and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. It ensures the independence and performance of internal auditors and the independent public accounting firm, manages risk assessment related to compliance and financial risks and sets the tone for quality financial reporting and ethical behavior. The committee meets quarterly and will be chaired by Martin Kent, a member of the Ballad Health Board of Directors and president and chief executive officer of The United Company in Southwest Virginia.

  • Jerry Caldwell is president of Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway, where he has served for more than 25 years, starting as a college intern. Under his leadership, Bristol has hosted major events such as the attendance record-setting University of Tennessee-Virginia Tech football game and successful NASCAR dirt races. He is actively involved in community service and was named the 2023 Tennessee Tourism Leader of the Year. Caldwell was a college athlete, attending King University.
  • Grant Summers is president of Summers-Taylor, Inc., a construction industry leader with a strong business management and regional development background. Summers is a native of Johnson City and joined Summers-Taylor after earning a bachelor of science in civil engineering from Duke University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan. Summers serves on the boards of Life2Inc and the Bank of Tennessee.

Finance Committee
The Finance Committee reviews, approves and recommends financial policies, goals and budgets that align with Ballad Health's mission, vision, values and strategic objectives. It monitors financial performance against budgets and goals, oversees investment policy and portfolio and provides oversight of the administration of the team member retirement program and related investments.

  • Andy Dietrich is vice president and co-owner of Champion Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC, the top-selling Chevrolet dealership in the state. In addition to his successful car dealerships, Dietrich is actively involved in the local community, serving on numerous boards, including as elected chair of the Johnson City – Washington County Chamber of Commerce. He has served as chair of the community board for Ballad Health’s hospitals in Washington County, Tennessee, and as chair of several philanthropic organizations, primarily in service to children throughout the region. Dietrich and his wife, Hayley, actively support the Ballad Health Niswonger Children’s Network and Niswonger Children’s Hospital and provide assistance to children fighting cancer and other illness through a not-for-profit program, Children Exceeding Expectations.

“Attracting this incredible talent to our board and its operating committees underscores the importance of good governance,” Levine said. “Ballad Health is governed locally by people who live here and whose families use our services. Board and committee members provide critical input from the community and help guide decision-making to ensure our work contributes to furthering the mission of Ballad Health. We are, indeed, very proud of our board and committee membership, and we could not be more grateful for their contributions to the health of our region.”