by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | July 21, 2020
From the July 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital was one of the hospitals recently recognized with Practice Greenhealth’s Environmental Excellence Award.
Since we hadn’t put the spotlight on them before, it seemed a good time to learn more, so we reached out and spoke with CEO Dolan Dalpoas to learn about his background as well as the work the hospital is doing to achieve recognition like that.
HCB News: What inspired you to follow a career in healthcare?
I think I came about it just like everybody who wants to get into healthcare — I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives and I wanted to serve my community. So I started out as a technician at the hospital and I ended up getting a scholarship to study physical therapy. When I finished my schooling, I came back and worked at the same hospital where I was born, Abraham Lincoln Memorial. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, whether it was when I was helping patients with physical therapy, or serving in my role as administrator. It’s been a very enjoyable career and I think we’ve done some good things in terms of fulfilling our mission.
HCB News: How did your career progress to where you are now?
I started here in 1994, full-time as a physical therapist. In 1998, I got an opportunity to manage the department. At that point, I had hit my career goal. I set off to college, where I wanted to get my physical therapy degree, come back, work for Lincoln Hospital, and one day I wanted to manage the hospital’s physical therapy department so that I could spend part of the time treating patients and part of the time managing it. So by October of 1998 I had really achieved my career goal, but then a couple of things happened. When I got into leadership, I liked it a lot, and the CEO at the time took me under his wing and mentored me. He really provided a lot of guidance to my early leadership journey. So those two things lit a fire in me to do more in terms of leadership.
So I went back to college and got a master’s degree in Public Health, and joined the American College of Healthcare Executives. I read a lot about leadership, learned a lot from the CEO, and because of him, I saw what good leadership could do for an organization in terms of fulfilling missions and improving community health. That set me on a path to do more, which led to more opportunities around quality and safety, which continued to create more opportunities, so I took those and learned what I could. That opened an opportunity in our health system in 2005. I left Lincoln Hospital for the first time and went to work for one of our affiliates for 13 months, but then my dream job opened here as CEO in April of 2006. I was offered the position and enthusiastically accepted, and I’ve been here ever since.