Desiree Einsweiler sees opportunities where others see challenges. As CEO of Palo Alto County Hospital in Emmetsburg, this 2007 College of Public Health alumna is leading the way through a period of tremendous change in the health care delivery system in Iowa.
“We have the opportunity to change how health care is delivered and improve the lives of our patients,” says Einsweiler. “If I can help my staff improve a process that makes their work more efficient or the patient experience better, it makes my day.”
Einsweiler strongly believes that her UI education has been invaluable to her career. The UI’s Master of Health Administration program encourages students to pick up hands-on experience through internships in local hospitals or other health care settings which, she says, provided her with many of the skills necessary for success.
She also credits the strong alumni support network for helping her get started. “When you are just starting out in your career, the opportunity to talk to someone else who is out there doing what you hope to do is incredibly valuable.”
Originally from Galena, Illinois, Einsweiler attended college on the East Coast, but knew she wanted to return to the Midwest to pursue her master’s degree and begin her career. “I was aware that the University of Iowa had a great reputation, so I did some more research and found out that it had exactly the type of curriculum I was looking for in a school.”
Prior to becoming the CEO of Palo Alto County Hospital in 2012, she served as interim CEO for Mitchell County Regional Health Center in Osage, Iowa, and was regional clinic director for Mercy Clinics of North Iowa for five years. She was also listed on the Becker’s Hospital Review inaugural list of “50 Rural Hospital CEOs to Know”.
In her current position, Einsweiler oversees a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital with three clinics, a long-term care facility, EMS service, community health services, and independent living apartments for seniors.
It’s also important to her to be an active and involved member of the community. She’s a member of the Rotary Club, serves on city and county economic development committees, and is a member of a young professional group called FUEL Emmetsburg.
“I really enjoy volunteering my time for community activities. I grew up in a small town and have always enjoyed the small town atmosphere,” she says. “I like working in an organization where you know all of your co-workers by name and where our patients are treated like family.”