Theresa McLeod, formerly an assistant to Boise Mayor David Bieter, is now working at St. Luke’s Health System in a newly created position: director of community relations.
Each of St. Luke’s service lines – departments such as cardiology or pediatrics, for example – has a community relations coordinator, McLeod said. This person helps the service line determine how best to benefit the community, through activities such as attending health fairs or manning first-aid booths at community events.
McLeod’s new role spans the entire St. Luke’s Health System in the Treasure Valley, between Mountain Home and Fruitland, to help the system’s service lines determine how they can work as a team to fulfill St. Luke’s objectives.
As a nonprofit, St. Luke’s is required to complete a community health needs assessment every few years, and McLeod said a large part of her role will be helping to identify and form community partnerships that will fulfill needs identified in that assessment.
“That’s part of the value that we give back to the community,” she said.
The assessment was last completed in 2011 in partnership with Saint Alphonsus Health System, the United Way of Treasure Valley and other organizations. This year, St. Luke’s is completing its own assessments for service areas in Meridian/Boise, Jerome, the Magic Valley, Wood River and McCall.
St. Luke’s leadership will use the assessment to identify the community’s health care needs, select priority areas to focus on and develop an implementation plan for addressing those needs, McLeod said. Leadership is expected to review its implementation plan this month or in October, and then McLeod and her community relations colleagues will be able to disseminate information about St. Luke’s plans and find other nonprofits and community or civic organizations to partner with in implementing St. Luke’s goals.
The plan will also help McLeod and her colleagues decide how to distribute money from the community improvement fund. As part of St. Luke’s nonprofit requirements, the fund provides community benefits such as grants, partnerships and sponsorships in support of other organizations that promote health and wellness in the area.
McLeod said the new position is an unexpected mix of the skills she developed in the public and private sectors. She was involved in community outreach during her 9½ years in the mayor’s office, and during her private-sector career, she was involved in third-party administration for her self-insured company’s employee benefits. She said she hadn’t previously seen how those experiences would form a nexus for another career.
“I’ve really loved how it’s all blended together,” she said.