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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
Katherine Farquhar, a Brookeville resident and member of one of Olney’s historically prominent families, is the new chairwoman of the board of directors of MedStar Montgomery Medical Center.
“As a long-term member of the community, I follow footprints laid by decades of family members in accepting the board chair opportunity,” Farquhar said. “My dad and his siblings were born there, my grandmother served the Women’s Board for decades, and my brother and I have both served on the board.”
Farquhar said she intends to honor the vital heritage the hospital carries through its 100-year service to the greater Olney area.
“A pioneering community hospital when founded by Dr. Jacob Bird in the early 1900’s, Montgomery has changed with the times,” she said. “It is still our essential resource for health and well-being.”
Thomas J. Senker, MedStar Montgomery president, says in a written statement that the medical center is “excited for Katherine to take on the position of board chair and to encourage MMMC’s further development as a top-tier local hospital serving our diverse and growing community.”
Farquhar said the hospital has strengthened its tradition as a patient-focused medical center since becoming part of the larger MedStar system, calling it a committed, skilled, compassionate and knowledgeable community of caregivers working as a team within its walls and coordinating with MedStar resources region-wide.
“In recent hospitalizations, I met dozens of staff who have worked here a decade or more — in addition to newer staff members who choose to work here because of the team focus on patient safety and care, the high standards and a positive workplace culture,” she said.
Farquhar said that during one trip to the Emergency Department she needed life-saving intervention.
“In that extreme circumstance, I begged not to be transferred from Montgomery,” she said. “I was confident that these professionals in my community would save my life and bring me back to health, and they agreed. They did.”
While her experience has been positive, she recognizes “there is always silk and sandpaper in a community’s relationship with its local hospital.”
“I learn more and more about this as I talk with other board chairs,” she said. “The ‘silk’ is those experiences where the patient has great outcomes based on top-tier medical care. The ‘sandpaper’ is a disappointing experience, however that looks. As board chair, I hope to hear about all aspects of experiences with MedStar Montgomery and ideas for continuous improvement.”
Farquhar’s goal as board chairwoman is to work with the board and administration to strengthen bonds between the community and its medical center.
In addition to basic health and wellness services, Farquhar says the board will help the hospital focus on growing service in the areas of behavioral health, gastrointestinal, geriatrics, oncology, orthopedics, and women’s services/breast health and maternal-newborn.
She said boards provide long-term vision and inform strategy, so it will further examine such areas as outreach, telemedicine resources, community health and education, regional crisis response, disaster readiness and hospice services.
Farquhar, a professional facilitator and leadership coach, takes over leadership of the board from outgoing chairman Joseph Bell, who has served for five years.
In a statement, Senker said MedStar Montgomery is “extremely appreciative” of Bell’s commitment and service.
“His vision and expertise have been instrumental in moving MMMC forward,” Senker says.
Farquhar said it is a great honor to be chosen to fill the shoes of Bell.
She joined the board in 2013 and is entering her third term as a board member.
A graduate of Wellesley College, Farquhar also holds a Master of Arts in teaching from Harvard, a Ph.D. in social psychology from Boston University and a Certificate in Leadership Coaching from Georgetown University.
She taught as a professor for over two decades at American University and served for nine years as director of the Master of Science in organization development for the school.
Farquhar was a member of the Brooke Town Commission from 2007 to January 2017, serving as president of the commission from 2014 to 2017, when she stepped down..
The hospital also announced that attorney John Ferguson, a partner of the local law firm Ferguson & Wilpon and a board member since 2009, will take on the role of vice chair.
The leadership announcements come as MedStar Montgomery Medical Center prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary in this year.
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