Effective Monday, Nov. 4, Melanie Stanton, a registered nurse and Ballad Health’s current vice president of quality improvement, will begin her new role as the chief executive officer of Franklin Woods Community Hospital. Additionally, Brian Dawson, MD, will serve as chief medical officer for Ballad Health’s facilities in Washington County, Tennessee, including Franklin Woods, Johnson City Medical Center, Niswonger Children’s Hospital and Woodridge Hospital.
“Strong, insightful leadership is crucial as Ballad Health continues working to best serve our community and provide the care our residents need and deserve,” said Stan Hickson, president of Ballad Health’s Southwest Market. “I’m grateful to have Melanie and Dr. Dawson leading our teams in Johnson City – they will surely lead us to new successes and achievements.
“It speaks very highly of our region and health system that two talented professionals, who could work anywhere in the country, choose to advance their careers and build their lives here.”
Stanton and Dr. Dawson both have extensive backgrounds in the region. A nursing leader with more than 20 years of experience, Stanton began her career as a staff nurse at Johnson City Medical Center before progressing through roles of increasing responsibility, both clinically and operationally.
“This role is one of the aspire-to-be positions at Ballad Health,” Stanton said. “My first administrative role was with North Side Hospital and Johnson City Specialty Hospital, before they combined to create Franklin Woods, so this job has special significance to me, and I certainly feel as though I’ve come full circle.
“I’m praying I can take all of my experience to make Franklin Woods excel to new heights,” Stanton said.
Stanton earned two bachelor’s degrees from East Tennessee State University, one in business administration and the other in nursing, and she later earned her master’s degree in business administration at King University. She was also recognized as a Ballad Health Servant’s Heart winner – the system’s highest honor – for her dedication to patient-centered care.
“I’m a native of this region, and I want to help provide the best care possible at home and in my community,” Stanton said.
Stanton succeeds Patricia Baise, another registered nurse who rose through Ballad Health’s executive ranks. After a successful tenure leading Franklin Woods, Woodridge and Overmountain Recovery, Baise was recently promoted to president of the Ballad Behavioral Health Services Division, with oversight of all inpatient and outpatient services, as well as service line relationships with all mental health and addiction services provided by Ballad Health. She will also administer the health system’s $85 million, 10-year behavioral health plan focused on improving health and patient outcomes through community partnerships and integration.
“Each CEO of Franklin Woods has instilled a culture of safety, quality and excellence,” Stanton said. “There really is a legacy of strong leadership here, and it’s going to be tough to walk in their shoes. I’m humbled Ballad Health has faith in me to continue this work.”
Like Stanton, Dr. Dawson has experience with Ballad Health. He previously served as an emergency medicine attending physician at Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Virginia, beginning in 2010, eventually becoming the medical director of the hospital’s emergency department in 2015, and regional director for emergency medicine in the Northeast Market.
“My wife and I knew we wanted to come back home to the Appalachian Mountains after finishing our residencies,” Dr. Dawson said. “We’re loyal to this region, and the people here are so engaged with their communities. It’s a great place to call home.”
Dr. Dawson succeeds Dr. Matthew Loos, who was recently promoted to chief academic officer for Ballad Health.
Since 2016, Dr. Dawson has worked with VEP Healthcare, Inc., most recently as a vice president responsible for the contract management of emergency medicine, hospitalist and observation medicine across the United States, overseeing 300,000 patient visits. During this time, he continued to work with Johnston Memorial both clinically and in many leadership roles, including a recently completed term as the chief of staff. He currently serves as a member of its credentialing committee, and his family has remained in Abingdon.
“When this opportunity with Ballad Health came up, I jumped at the chance,” Dr. Dawson said. “There’s a lot of creation, building and development happening with the system, and I want to be involved in it – at the beginning of something great.
“Ballad Health is investing in its communities, and if physicians are engaged, we can have a huge impact right now. Fortunately, Ballad Health has demonstrated they are committed to hearing what physicians have to say and where we want healthcare to go.”
Dr. Dawson earned his medical degree from Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, before completing an emergency medicine residency and becoming board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Physicians. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Tennessee and is a Certified Physician Executive by the American Association of Physician Leaders, as well as a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine.
“Melanie and Dr. Dawson are well suited to carry on the tradition of excellence with Ballad Health in Washington County,” Hickson said. “Our system has full faith in them, and through their leadership, we look forward to our standard of care rising even higher.”
For more information about Ballad Health’s leadership, please visit www.balladhealth.org.