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Friday, August 12, 2011
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  PTHS 209 Board President Highlighted by Westlake Hospital for Stellar Servant Leadership  

By: Molly Gaus, Westlake Hospital

Melrose Park, Ill.  (July 26, 2011) – Chris Welch, J.D., a partner at Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman LLP, was appointed Chairman of Westlake Hospital’s new Board of Trustees in October 2010. A mere nine months later, Welch has made a significant impact on the hospital’s focus on safety and patient experience.

Under Welch’s guidance and motivation to make the hospital’s first value – safety - become a way of life, more than 90% of the hospital’s employees underwent a three-hour safety training session designed to provide employees with the tools they need to identify and prevent safety events from occurring. In order to recognize employees who live the value of safety and take the initiative to eliminate serious safety events, Welch instituted a standing item during each board meeting to honor an employee or group who had a great catch that resulted in improved patient care.

“Having the Chairman of the Board back our focus on safety and quality care says a lot about him and his dedication to our patients and to the community we are privileged to serve,” remarks William A. Brown, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Westlake Hospital. “Chris Welch is undoubtedly devoted to making a difference in how health and health care is delivered to the people of Proviso Township.”

Welch stepped into this role after Westlake Hospital was acquired by Vanguard Health System from Resurrection Health Care. Made up of a group of community leaders, the hospital’s new Board of Trustees serves as advisory to Vanguard Health Systems Board of Directors and has authority relating primarily to quality. Welch assists the CEO with the planning of a board agenda, runs the board meetings and serves as the face and voice for the hospital in the local community. Born and raised in Proviso Township, Welch’s vision for the Board is to help people in the communities he grew up in live healthy, happier lives.

“I agreed to take on the role as Chairman of the Board because I saw another opportunity to give back to a community that has done so much for me,” says Welch. “I have always respected the work of Westlake’s talented professionals and relished the opportunity to work with them to improve the health and health care of the community I was raised in.  On a personal note, I saw it as an irreplaceable opportunity to chair the governing body of the hospital where I was born and my mother has worked as a nurse.”

Although Welch is new to the health care field, his views on health care are clear. “I think the biggest challenge facing health care is surviving the economy and the massive cuts in Medicare.”  However, he believes that the most significant issue facing Westlake’s community is the large number of uninsured patients.

Since he took on the Chairman of the Board role, Welch has already seen a significant amount of change in health care and anticipates more. “The most surprising health care development on the horizon has already occurred in the massive health care reform passed in Washington,” remarks Welch.  “I think the challenge now is the implementation.  Hopefully, there won’t be any surprises there.”

In addition to serving on Westlake’s Board of Trustees, Welch also serves Proviso Township as the President of the Proviso High School District 209 Board.  A board member since 2001 and the Board President since 2003, Welch oversees three high schools including, Proviso East, Proviso West and the Proviso Math and Science Academy.  In addition, he serves as a board member for Proviso Leyden Council for Community Action, Inc. (PLCCA), a private, non-for-profit corporation that serves low-income residents in Cook County's Proviso and Leyden Townships, and the municipality of Norridge including some of the metropolitan areas of Chicago. Plus, he is also the Assistant Secretary of the Des Plaines Valley Mosquito Abatement Board, a position appointed by Cook County Board President John Stroger.


Westlake Hospital has been serving Melrose Park and the surrounding communities for over 80 years. Our hospital is committed to being the leading resource in the community for health and healthcare through the development of life-long relationships focused on excellent quality, exceptional service and compassionate care.

Westlake Hospital is part of the Vanguard Health Systems that operates health care facilities in four primary urban markets with a strategy to develop locally branded comprehensive networks that bridge the best of the non-profit tradition of community, mission and service with expanded access to capital, organizational flexibility and economies of scale to enhance patient and community care.