HALEYVILLE - Lakeland Community Hospital will soon experience a change at the helm, but the focus on high quality patient care will remain the same.
Lakeland CEO Ashley Pool has announced that she is leaving the hospital at the end of this month. She has accepted the position of President of Highlands Medical Center in Scottsboro, which is part of the Huntsville Hospital system. Stepping up as Lakeland’s new CEO is the current Chief Operating Officer, Jennifer Young, who has been at Lakeland for 10 years of her over three-decade career in health care.
A Hamilton native, Young is the daughter of R.V. and Jo Williams, of Hamilton. She is married to Doug Young and they have two sons, Nathan and Patrick. Jennifer earned her bachelor of science degree in public health from the University of Alabama and is currently working on her master’s degree in health care administration at Athens State University.
“I've been in health care for more than 30 years. For the last 25 years, I have worked in quality improvement, patient safety, risk management and infection control,” Jennifer said.
Jennifer’s passion is rural health care and she is very thankful for the opportunity to continue to work to bring the residents of Winston and surrounding counties the best health care options possible in a local setting.
“Lakeland is a great place to work. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to serve as CEO and to continue the wonderful things we have started. I appreciate the support of everyone - the board, the medical staff and the community,” Jennifer said.
For Pool, leaving Lakeland is extremely bittersweet.
“This was not an easy decision by any stretch of the imagination. This has been my home for four years. I've spent more time with these people than I have my own family,” Pool said.
Pool came to Lakeland Hospital as Chief Operating Officer in 2018, right after the hospital was saved from closure by the formation of the Health Care Authority of Haleyville and Winston County, which purchased the hospital from Curae Health. Pool was promoted to CEO in 2020, and has played an instrumental role in not only helping the hospital climb back from the brink of closure, but also by helping to lead the hospital through the great unknowns of the COVID pandemic and guiding several capital improvement projects. Pool credits the team she has worked with for making everything happen at Lakeland.
“The team here is so great. I cannot take credit for any of it. It's been a very big team effort. All of our staff amazes me. You know how much they love the community, how much they're willing to come in every day and do this hard work. They love what they do, and it shows,” Pool said.
Pool believes Jennifer will be a natural fit in the role of CEO.
“There's nobody I can think of that would be any more qualified or have a bigger heart for this hospital or more of an investment in its future and wanting it to succeed,” Pool said about Jennifer. “Her leadership is already so established. I think if we had to bring in someone from the outside, it would be really hard. To know Jennifer, you know what she's about and her commitment to the hospital. It helps with the transition.”
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.