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Acuity leader reflects on female role models

MEET THE STAFF — Heading the staff of Acuity Specialty Hospital of Ohio Valley are Dusty Bowers, seated, chief executive officer; and standing, from left, Heather Kemper, regional director-provider relations; Chris Smalley, chief clinical officer; Tracey Cutri, director-case management; Sara Lane, regional chief financial officer; Jennifer Girga, regional director-quality and compliance; and Melissa Milliron, regional director-human resources. -- Warren Scott

WEIRTON — The leader of Acuity Specialty Hospital of Ohio Valley said she was blessed with positive female role models that continue to inspire her.

Dusty Bowers was promoted to chief executive officer of the acute care facility last year, bringing with her more than 30 years’ experience in the health care industry. She has worked at Acuity since 2009, having served previously as respiratory manager, director of operations and chief operations officer and chief quality-compliance officer.

Her pre-Acuity experience includes working in the neonatal and pediatric intensive care unit for a Pittsburgh trauma center.

Bowers completed her bachelor’s degree from Independence University in Salt Lake City, where she also earned a master’s degree in health care administration.

She said a major role model was her late grandmother, who attended college in the early 1940s and worked her way up from secretary for the Postal Service to postmaster, a position seldom held by women at the time.

“She was such an inspiration to me. I absolutely hold her in my heart for what she was able to do,” said Bowers.

“The Postal Service, as much as college, was such a male-oriented world, but her work ethic and enthusiasm enabled her to achieve her goals,” said Bowers, who added, “It was her philosophy that women could do anything.”

Bowers said her grandmother wasn’t the only positive female role model in her life.

“My mother faced much adversity in her early life but rose above it and used her spirit to guide and shape my sisters and me to be independent and confident, to never doubt our worth and ability to contribute to our community,” she said.

Bowers said she hopes in their own way, she and her staff can inspire other women to strive for their own goals.

She said she wants others to know that regardless of their backgrounds or any adversity they may encounter, they can accomplish anything if they work hard to achieve it.

Bowers, a Steubenville native and graduate of Jefferson Union High School, was asked what interested her in the medical field.

“I always gravitated toward helping people, and health care was an excellent way to do that,” she said.

Bowers’ staff includes Sara Lane, regional chief financial officer; Christine Guio, chief clinical officer; Tracey Cutri, director of case management; Heather Kemper, regional director of provider relations; Jason Kuhn and Dawn Adkins, certified nurse practitioners; Jodi Rusinovich, business office manager and credentials coordinator; Denise Yocum, director of human resources; Rosanna Bechtold, admissions manager; Jennifer Girga, regional director-quality and compliance; and Melissa Milliron, regional director-human resources.

Bowers said collectively she and her staff have about 70 years of experience but most important, each draws on unique skills and backgrounds while taking a positive approach to working as a team.

She said whether working together to treat patients with serious health issues or employing heightened safety and sanitary measures to prevent spread of COVID-19, “Our team has risen to the challenge time after time after time.”

Bowers said the wearing of masks in all areas of the hospital is a necessary, but unfortunate, effect of the pandemic as her staff is accustomed to reading the expressions of their patients as a factor in determining their conditions.

“You can’t say enough about having the ability to (fully) see the person you’re talking to,” she said, adding, “Our clinician can pick up the most subtle clues from patients and what they’re experiencing.”

Established in 2005, Acuity Specialty Hospital of Ohio Valley is a 49-bed, long-term acute care hospital located on the ninth floor of Weirton Medical Center and a satellite campus in Wheeling.

Bowers said those treated at Acuity range from accident victims being treated for extensive injuries to patients with pneumonia requiring extended care.

The hospital includes a pulmonary program to help patients with acute or chronic lung disease reach their maximum lung function, a wound care team prepared to treat a variety of wounds as well as continence and ostomy issues, staff and equipment to treat serious infections spurred by a variety of conditions and specialized services such as speech and occupational therapy.

Bowers said Acuity’s staff get to know their patients and their families very well and treat them as they would their own families.

She added they take great satisfaction in the recovery of each patient, noting she had been elated to see more recent COVID-19 patients overcome the disease with their help.

“To see them survive a virus no one had seen before has been just gratifying. I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it,” Bowers said.

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