February 2000

Mercy Medical Center, Durango, Colo.

kirk Photo

Kirk A. Dignum, PhD
President and Chief Executive Officer

"The challenges that face us today are not terribly different than those encountered by our organization’s founders when they located to a small western town in 1882. Health care in Durango, Colo., has never been for the faint of heart," said Kirk A. Dignum, president and chief executive officer of Mercy Medical Center. "As a relatively small, mountain-town facility, the resources available to Mercy through Catholic Health Initiatives make a significant difference in the breadth of services and technology we can offer to enhance the health of our patients. The challenges facing us – nursing shortages, cost reductions and various federal mandates – have created a situation in which many health care providers have forgotten the mission."

Before coming to Mercy Medical Center in 1995, Dignum ran a consulting management corporation in which he taught seminars and managed physician practices. He received his master’s degree in gerontology and earned a doctorate degree in medical anthropology – specifically in the cross-cultural aspects of health care delivery systems – from the University of California, San Francisco and Berkeley campuses.

"As a new leader within Catholic Health Initiatives, one of my biggest challenges is to create a management team that believes in the mission and the miracle of health care," he said. "The wonder of what we do is based not only in financial performance but in focusing on the spirituality of what we do. By strengthening the belief in the miracles of the mission, we will instill a pride and spirit in our employees that will translate into improved performance, job satisfaction and economic success."