Today, we are privileged to announce an important and exciting change for UnityPoint Health in Central Illinois. Later this year, Debbie Simon, who has positively impacted healthcare in the Greater Peoria area for more than four decades, will retire as chief executive officer, and will be succeeded by Dr. Keith Knepp, currently our president.
It is not possible to announce Debbie’s retirement without acknowledging her impressive 43-year career with our organization and expressing our gratitude for her passion and leadership over the years. She began her career in 1976 as a nurse at Methodist Hospital. She rose through the ranks of clinical and operational leadership. She was instrumental in leading Methodist’s affiliation with UnityPoint Health in 2011 and was named the regional president and CEO in December of that year. She has since fostered continuous growth and development of the greater Peoria market to ensure quality care for the people and families there. Simon led the integrations of Proctor Hospital in 2013 and Pekin Hospital in 2017, increasing access to UPH services and expanding our physician clinics throughout the Region. Also, under her leadership, Methodist College has grown to more than 600 students pursuing certificate, baccalaureate and graduate degrees.
At a UnityPoint Health Regional Board of Directors meeting, the board voted to accept Debbie’s resignation and to appoint Keith Knepp, MD, as the president and CEO of the Central Illinois region. Keith, formerly a family medicine physician practicing in Eureka, IL, currently serves as president of UnityPoint Health’s hospitals and clinics in Peoria. He has spent most of his career with the organization and has held a number of leadership positions. Keith will assume the role of chief executive officer on April 1 and work together with Debbie on the transition and important strategic work for the organization until she officially retires on June 30.
Please join us in congratulating Debbie on a retirement much deserved. And congratulations to Keith who is well positioned to lead the region into the future. We look forward to celebrating them both in the months to come.
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