Liz Masek is leaving the St. John’s Medical Center Board of Trustees.
Masek, the board vice chairwoman, sent a letter to board Chairwoman Cynthia Hogan that said she would resign effective Dec. 31.
“As the hospital continues to grow and expand, adding services and continuing outreach to the city of Jackson and the surrounding community, I find that board participation demands a physical presence within the community more months of the year, and I am away increasingly throughout the year,” Masek wrote.
Masek was appointed to the board in 2014, then won her seat in an election that same year. She was reelected in 2018. She is a former public relations professional with a master’s in health advocacy with a practicum at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Before becoming a board advisor, Masek helped patients with cancer navigate their treatment, hospital Communications Coordinator Karen Connelly said.
According to Hogan, Masek continually brought the patient perspective into the boardroom because of her background as a volunteer.
“She always balanced how do we meet the needs of the community and think beyond what they want ... and manage cost structure and stay solvent,” Hogan said.
St. John’s will now look for a new trustee to take Masek’s place. A public application process will stretch through this month, with a deadline of Sept. 24. Applicants are asked to send a letter of interest and a resume or curriculum vitae. The board will review applications and interview selected candidates at the beginning of October before selecting someone to serve until the next general election in 2020, when they would have the option to run for the final two years of Masek's term.
Hogan and Connelly lamented that Masek’s patient-centric focus would be leaving the board, but Hogan is confident the board will find a quality replacement.
“I feel good that we have a lot of people who are knowledgable about the hospital and the culture and the challenges facing it,” she said.
Masek did not return calls by press time, but in her letter she reflected on her time and the effect her colleagues had on her.
“I am humbled by the community support and trust I have received as an elected official,” she wrote. “I am also indebted and awed by my fellow board members and thankful for the opportunity to learn and to grow through their mentoring and encouragement.”
This article has been updated to show that whoever is appointed to Masek's seat will serve until the next general election and will then have to run for the remaining two years of her term. — Ed.