Chief Executive Officer
Patrick Sharp, MBA, serves as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mercy Regional Medical Center. In his position, Patrick lives his passion for rural health care and his mission to be a leader who inspires others to flourish in a balanced life through faith, integrity, accountability and the pursuit of knowledge.
Patrick excels at relationship building and transparent communication. He enjoys creating lasting connections with both internal and external partners. As CEO of Mercy, Patrick cultivates strong, trusting relationships with Mercy’s board, associates, advanced practice providers, physicians and volunteers to impact the health and wholeness of every life, every neighbor and every community Mercy serves.
Prior to joining Mercy, Patrick served as President & CEO of Fairview Range Regional Medical Center in Hibbing, MN, where he was responsible for the overall leadership, strategic planning and operation of the licensed 175-bed hospital, as well as primary and specialty care clinics and home health and hospice services. During his tenure with Fairview Range health care system, Patrick also held the senior leadership positions of Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Clinic Operations and Radiation Therapy, supporting operations and strategic initiatives in both inpatient and ambulatory settings. Prior to Fairview Range, Patrick served in regulatory compliance roles for Beckman Coulter, St. Jude Medical and Boston Scientific.
Patrick received a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and a Master of Business Administration from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN. He was a member of the Minnesota Hospital Association’s Policy & Advocacy Committee and previously served on the board of the Hibbing Community College Foundation. To help strengthen both his faith and leadership skills, Patrick is currently pursuing his master’s degree in theology with an emphasis in philosophy.
Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Jane Strobel serves as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Mercy. In her role, she lives her mission to serve this organization, the community and our associates and to love every minute.
As Chief Financial Officer, Jane provides Mercy with leadership and guidance for financial oversight and strategic planning including new business development, budgeting, day-to-day operations and business analytics. She also has operational oversight of revenue management and patient access as well as facilities, environmental services and other ancillary departments.
Jane earned her Master's in environmental science and engineering from the Colorado School of Mines; and her Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from the University of Iowa. She is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state of Colorado.
Christopher Hudson, MD
Chief Medical Officer & Regional Medical Director for CHPG
Christopher Hudson, MD, serves as Chief Medical Officer of Mercy Regional Medical Center and Regional Medical Director for Centura Health Physician Group clinics. In his role, Dr. Hudson lives out his mission to achieve high quality, patient-centered care by fostering a collaborative environment that empowers teams to seek innovative solutions to enhance the health of our community.
Serving as a driving force for Mercy’s physician facing initiatives, Chris serves as a collaborator with our connected ecosystem, and is focused on quality outcomes, safety, innovation, and teamwork.
Dr. Hudson is board-certified in family medicine, aerospace medicine, preventive medicine and public health. He is a certified physician executive and joined Mercy after 22 years of experience and a proven track record of success in the United States Air Force.
Prior to joining Mercy, Dr. Hudson served as the commander of the 2d Medical Group at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. He led a staff of 400 providing multi-specialty outpatient clinical services and emergency medical services supporting 31,000 patients. Chris oversaw Air Force Global Strike Command’s largest accredited ambulatory clinic with 79,000 patient encounters and 246,000 prescriptions annually, as well as one of the Air Force’s 10 dental residency programs.
Dr. Hudson is an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Distinguished Graduate and a four-year ROTC and Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) scholarship recipient. He received both his undergraduate engineering and medical degree at Vanderbilt University, and graduated from the Saint Louis University/Scott AFB Combined Family Practice Residency Program in Belleville, IL. Chris completed his master’s in public health (MPH) at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA. He is a 2009 graduate of the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM) Residency in Aerospace Medicine (RAM), where he served as Chief Resident during his General Preventive Medicine residency year.
During his military career, Chris earned numerous awards and decorations, including the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. He also earned the rating of Chief Flight Surgeon and has accumulating more than 600 flight hours in many models of military aircraft.
Stephanie Clements, RN, MBA
Chief Nursing Officer & Vice President of Patient Care Services
Stephanie Clements, RN, MBA, serves as the Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Services of Mercy Regional Medical Center. Supporting Mercy’s clinical staff, she is on a mission to follow God’s direction as He provides her with opportunities to serve.
At Mercy, Stephanie provides leadership and is accountable for the daily operations of the hospital by working through Mercy’s health care team members. She has an active leadership role with Mercy’s Board of Trustees, Senior Leadership Team, Medical Staff, hospital and Centura Health leaders.
Stephanie brings years of experience to Mercy, previously serving as Director of Operations at The Woodlands Hospital in The Woodlands, Tex. Prior to serving as Director of Operations, Stephanie served at The Woodlands Hospital in various nursing leadership roles including manager of patient experience, manager of perioperative services, and house supervisor. Her nursing career includes additional experience at Conroe Surgery Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas OB/Gyn Associates, and Clear Lake Regional Medical Center.
Stephanie earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing and MBA in healthcare management from Western Governors University.
Director of Human Resources
Carrie Wilson serves as the Director of Human Resources of Mercy Regional Medical Center. On a mission to make a positive difference each day, Carrie brings decades of experience and is dedicated to elevating Mercy’s incredible caregivers.
An experienced senior level human resources professional, Carrie has extensive knowledge in associate relations and talent development, HR policy and best practices as well as culture and engagement.
In her role, Carrie serves as a trusted advisor and business partner to Mercy’s leaders, associates and providers, working with them to solve problems and find solutions in order to improve engagement, retention and ultimately, patient care.
Carrie has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a minor in Sociology from Portland State University. She is also a certified professional coach with the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) and holds a Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) credential from the Human Resources Certification Institute.
Board of Trustees
Richard Miller serves as Chair of Mercy Regional Medical Center’s Board of Trustees. A resident of Pagosa Springs for more than 25 years, Richard is on a mission to support Mercy and Centura Health to create the finest whole health system today.
Prior to serving on Mercy’s Board of Trustees, Richard was a board member on the Mercy Health Foundation Board, a position he had held since 1999. He also volunteered with the Hospice of Mercy. Richard finds the Board of Trustees to be active and engaged. As a community volunteer he finds these characteristics important and wanted to be part of the dynamic.
Richard is retired after two successful careers in commercial structural steel construction and geodesic dome greenhouse design and building. Prior to this, he served 3 ½ tours of combat duty in Vietnam.
Richard would like our community to know that Mercy is more than a "medical center". The caregivers at Mercy are neighbors you will meet in town every day, sharing their time with you and others. Our caregivers live day-to-day with all the hopes, life issues, and dreams we all share in this human experience.
Steve Swisher serves as Vice-Chair of Mercy Regional Medical Center’s Board of Trustees. A resident of Durango for 40 years, Steve is on a mission to promote quality and inclusive health care to the community.
Steve has served on Mercy’s Board of Trustees for five years, during which he also served as Board Chair. Prior to this, Steve served on the Mercy Health Foundation Board. Steve was inspired to serve on Mercy’s Board of Trustees because of the many dedicated individuals and health care professionals connected with Mercy. He is motivated by Mercy’s vision for quality health care.
Now retired, Steve was the managing partner for Durango’s Brown’s Shoe Fit Co. and Brown’s Sport Shoe.
He would like the community to know that Mercy’s professional caregivers are dedicated and will continue to meet the area’s health care needs. He is proud to be connected with this organization and offer his volunteer service to the goals and mission of Mercy.
Sharon Ford, RSM, serves as Secretary of Mercy Regional Medical Center’s Board of Trustees. A Religious Sister of Mercy, Sister Sharon takes her personal mission from a quote by Mother Teresa: “To be a pencil in God’s hands.”
Sister Sharon has served on Mercy’s Board of Trustees for 8 years. She was driven to serve on the board by a love of Mercy history and the hospital’s presence in the community as well as her love for the people of Durango.
Sister Sharon is an educator and resides in Aurora, Colo.
She would like the community to know that Mercy has wonderful caregivers who live out the mission of the hospital.
Dr. Jim Birgenheier
Dr. Jim Birgenheier’s career may best be defined in a single-word: initiative. After completing anesthesiology residency and fellowship in Seattle at the University of Washington, Dr. Birgenheier came to Durango from Seattle in 1996. He quickly went to work at then simply “Mercy Medical Center” (MMC) in what is now the town library. Among several system improvements, Dr. Birgenheier ushered in the availability of epidural analgesia for women in labor and patient-controlled analgesia for post-operative inpatients. Dr. Birgenheier participated in a number of hospital committees and formation of multiple workgroups dedicated to the furtherance of high-quality patient care. Most notably, Dr. Birgenheier was one of two anesthesiologists in the startup of a cardiac surgery program in 2003 at MMC.
From 2003-2006, Dr. Birgenheier was a principal member of the heart team at Lovelace Hospital in Albuquerque, often teaching anesthesiology residents on rotation from the University of New Mexico.
In 2006, Dr. Birgenheier took a staff position at North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley. Over the next 6 years, he took on leadership roles: first as the Director of Cardiac Anesthesiology, ultimately becoming the Perioperative Medical Director of this 398-bed hospital. There, he built an Anesthesiology Department of 45 members, gaining accolades for performance as the “Best of Banner” Hospitals.
Dr. Birgenheier returned to a now new-to-him Mercy Regional Medical Center (MRMC) in 2015. He has again sought to participate in multiple hospital committees and in 2019 agreed to serve as the President-Elect of the MRMC Medical Staff. At the onset of 2021 he has transitioned to the role of MRMC Medical Staff President for a two-year term.
Dr. Birgenheier approaches his interests with great heart. This includes non-clinical interests as well. He is an avid mountain biker, hiker and skier; a 4-Man Team Race Across America (RAAM) Finisher, multiple Iron Horse Bicycle Classic (IHBC) entrant and 2-time Ironman. He is proud to be married to Aimee Birgenheier, NP, Four Corners OB/GYN, and father/step-father to their four teenagers – Allison, Adelaide, Paige, and Wyatt.
Lastly, Dr. Birgenheier hopes to honor his late father, Jim Sr., each day by finding the humor in life. This includes Dr. Birgenheier’s genuine belief that laughter is, after all, the best medicine.
Board Member & Chair of Mercy Health Foundation
Virginia Miller-Cavanagh serves on Mercy Regional Medical Center’s Board of Trustees. A resident of Durango for more than 40 years, Virginia is on a mission to seek God’s wisdom for her actions, relationships and decision making.
Virginia joined Mercy’s Board of Trustees in 2020 as part of her role as Chair of the Mercy Health Foundation (MHF) Board of Directors. She has served on the MHF board since 2016. As a retiree, it warms her heart to have the ability to contribute her expertise to an important business. She especially enjoys the spiritual and faith-based guidance employed in the board’s decision making.
She is a retired Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and former shareholder and owner of a local CPA firm. Virginia received her accounting degree from Fort Lewis College in 1987 and earned her MBA from Colorado State University in 1991.
Virginia believes that Mercy is an integral part of the community. Having Centura Health as part of Mercy’s governance structure adds strength to Mercy’s ability to attract highly qualified people, provides negotiating strength for contracts with insurance companies, and aids in purchasing supplies and equipment.
Carma Claw, Ph.D., serves on Mercy Regional Medical Center’s Board of Trustees. A lifelong resident of the Durango area, Carma’s mission in her mother tongue is ‘Koo' doo hózhóogo naa sháa doo leel. Hózhó náhásdlíí'’, which means, from here forward may I exist in balance, in harmony, in positivity, in humility.
Carma joined Mercy’s Board of Trustees in July of 2020, driven to serve by her desire to share her industry knowledge and her unique perspective as an area resident and consumer of Mercy’s medical services. She also recognizes the importance of serving as an ambassador and being a conduit for voices of communities that are served by Mercy. Additionally, Carma aspires to provide a unique presence, voice, and viewpoint as a citizen of the Diné (Navajo) nation for regional Indigenous and other underrepresented communities who work with Mercy for their medical needs.
In her professional career, Carma is an Assistant Professor of Management at Fort Lewis College. In teaching senior level courses, she aims to share scholarly expertise and works in business strategy, organizational behavior, and business ethics. In additions, she has 20 years of professional experience in the defense industry.
Carma would like the community to know that Mercy has been a significant wellness provider for this region since 1882 operating with a compassionate touch and holistic care for more than a half million people each year. The state-of-the-art facility is Southwest Colorado's largest and most technologically advanced. Mercy’s management team works hard to be true to the mission of caring for you – caring for those who are ill and nurturing the health of the people in our communities.
Wanda Ellingson, MSW, ACSW, LCSW, serves on Mercy Regional Medical Center’s Board of Trustees. A resident of Durango for more than 30 years, Wanda is on a mission to bring community perspectives and ensure Mercy is nurturing the health of everyone in the community.
Wanda joined Mercy’s Board of Trustees in 2020 driven by her desire to continue her commitment to the community by matching her skills, knowledge and values to a community agency, institution or program. Wanda realized that her previous work as a medical social worker, educator, consumer and caregiver of a relative who utilized Mercy care and services was a good fit. She also worked at Mercy as a medical social worker and valued the passion and dedication of all who worked at the hospital.
Wanda is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker trained in medical social work, bilingual bicultural mental health and social work education. During her years in Durango, she has worked at Southwest Colorado Mental Health (now Axis Health System) in many clinical and administrative roles and then for 20 years with the University of Denver Master of Social Work Program in Durango educating students from the Four Corners and the surrounding tribal communities.
Wanda would like the community to know how fortunate it is to have a hospital that is consistently recognized for the outstanding care it provides. Providing health care in rural areas is no easy feat and the Four Corners is fortunate to have the hospital, physician group practices and many other services associated with Mercy in the community.
Tom Gessel, MHA, became Group President for Centura Health in October 2017 following a year of serving as Senior Vice President of Operations and Network Development for Centura Health and four years as President and Chief Executive Officer of Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango. He has also served as the executive sponsor of human resources for Centura Health.
In his current role, Gessel provides operational leadership to the Greater Colorado and Kansas Group, which includes Longmont United Hospital in Longmont, Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services in Colorado Springs, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco, St. Catherine Hospital and Bob Wilson Memorial Grant Hospital in western Kansas, St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo, and St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City. Gessel’s commitment to deliver whole person care provides a critical foundation to grow and connect services and resources in these markets and supports our mission-driven associates and physicians in building healthy communities.
Prior to joining Centura Health, Gessel had extensive regional health system and network development experience in both urban and rural markets in Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron and a master’s degree in health administration from Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Valerie Mangrum serves on Mercy Regional Medical Center’s Board of Trustees. A resident of Durango for more than 10 years, Valerie is on a mission to be a loving and peaceful influence in her community and to all she meets.
Valerie joined Mercy’s Board of Trustees in 2020 driven to serve by her desire to give more. In her professional career, for 10 years she has served as the Executive Director of the Durango Pregnancy Center and is a certified life coach.
Valerie would like the community to know that Mercy is a place that cares about its people and its patients. It is a place of people doing their very best and she is confident in the work and mission of Mercy.
Sister Margaret McBride
Sister Margaret McBride, RSM, serves on Mercy Regional Medical Center’s Board of Trustees. A Religious Sister of Mercy, Sister Margaret is on a mission to provide compassionate care for all individuals she encounters. Being a Sister of Mercy, she is often asked to aid patients who need care but may not have insurance or the means to pay for services. Alleviating that suffering or anxiety is very important to her.
Sister Margaret joined Mercy’s Board of Trustees in 2020 and is grateful to be one of the religious sponsors of the Sisters of Mercy and is honored to serve on the board
She is a registered nurse and has had the opportunity to work in the full-continuum of care including acute care, skilled care, and home care. She currently serves as the Vice President for Mission Integration for the Arizona Service Area of Dignity Health. Sister Margaret resides in Phoenix, Ariz.
Sister Margaret would like the community to know that Mercy provides a high standard of quality care. She has been impressed with her fellow board members’ commitment and how they represent the voice of the community when providing direction to the hospital.
Katy Pepinsky serves on Mercy Regional Medical Center’s Board of Trustees. A resident of Durango for 15 years, Katy is on a mission to live each day with intention, curiosity, and love. She is most fulfilled when she is in connection and in service to her community.
Katy joined Mercy’s Board of Trustees in 2020. In alignment with the mission and values of Mercy, serving on the board allows her to work toward building a health care system that meets the needs of all members of the community.
She serves as the Executive Director at La Plata Youth Services (LPYS), a community-based, nonprofit organization that for more than 25 years has provided support and advocacy to youth facing challenges in school, home, or court in La Plata County.
Katy would like the community to know that Mercy is rooted in the professionalism and care of its people. As a new board member, she has been so impressed seeing the talent and commitment of the people working at Mercy, including their ongoing dedication to supporting the health and well-being of the people in the community.
Heidi Zink serves on Mercy Regional Medical Center’s Board of Trustees. A fifth-generation resident of Durango, Heidi is on a mission to serve the board and community and grow through the experience.
Heidi has served on Mercy’s Board of Trustees for 7 years. She was driven to serve by her desire to grow, learn, and represent the voices of advanced practice providers and nurses, as well as the community.
In her professional career, Heidi is a Certified Nurse Midwife. Though she has retired from attending births she continues to provide women’s wellness care at Southwest Midwives.
Heidi would like the community to know that Mercy is a remarkable medical center, especially for a community of our size. The providers and associates at Mercy are passionate and skilled.