St. Thomas More Hospital Welcomes New Administrative Leaders

(CANON CITY, COLO.) St. Thomas More Hospital (STM) is pleased to announce two new leaders have recently joined its administrative team.

Kern Low, M.D., F.A.A.F.P. has been named Chief Medical Officer (CMO), replacing Victoria King, M.D. who served in this role at STM for over 20 years. King now serves Centura Health, the regions leading health care network of which STM is part of, on a project team that will transition the organization from Meditech to Epic as its dedicated Electronic Medical Record. She continues to serve STM as medical director of the Wound & Ostomy Care Center and Skin Clinic.

Dennis Bruens has joined STM as Vice President of Operations, a new role created to enhance hospital operations and strategic direction.

Im very excited about having Dr. Low and Dennis on board, and am eager to see how their individual talents and expertise will propel our hospital to new heights in the areas of physician engagement and operational excellence, said Sheri Trahern, C.P.A., M.B.A., F.A.C.H.E., Chief Executive Officer at STM. They have already brought new energy and a fresh perspective to our leadership team and hospital overall.

Low joins STM after serving the Centura Health Physician Group as medical director for primary care in the South State Operating Group (SSOG) which includes Penrose-St. Francis Health Services in Colorado Springs, Colo., St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center (SMC) in Pueblo, Colo., and STM.

He has been practicing medicine for over 25 years including clinic, inpatient and obstetric care, and brings a wealth of experience in the medical, clinical teaching and leadership realms. He was a partner at Comprehensive Family Care Center in Pueblo from 1998-2011, and held various roles at Southern Colorado Family Medicine, a clinic located at SMC, from 1998 to 2013 including faculty, medical student coordinator and clinic director. He earned the SCFM Outstanding Faculty Award and was named the 2012 Colorado Family Physician of the Year award from the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP).

He has served the CAFP as both President and Board Chair. He represented the Colorado Chapter by serving on the Congress of Delegates for the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and is currently a Fellow of the AAFP. He was the 2010 Chair of the Subcommittee on the Annual Scientific Assembly Planning in Denver, Colo.
Low earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychobiology with honors in 1988 at the University of Southern California and his medical degree in 1992 from the Chicago Medical School. He completed an internship and residency in Family Medicine in 1993 and 1995, respectively, from Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
I feel so privileged to have been selected to be part of the leadership team at STM, said Low. Being a family physician, Im impressed by the sense of community that exists here and will work to continue to build and develop strong relationships among the medical staff to provide quality, efficient, safe, team-based care for our patients.

As CMO, Low is responsible for providing leadership, strategic direction and operational management of physician services and medical staff administration. He collaborates with our leadership team to develop strategic plans and policies, provide a multidisciplinary approach to clinical outcome management, and build effective relationships between the hospital and its medical staff to produce safe, quality care and excellent clinical outcomes. He also works closely with our SSOG CMO and Centura Health Chief Medical Executive to meet system-wide strategies, goals, objectives and standards.

Highlights of his military career include: Officer-In-Charge, Camp Casey Troop Medical Clinic, Korea; Meritorious Service Medal; Expert Field Medical Badge; Army Commendation Medal and Family Physician at Evans Army Community Hospital, Ft. Carson; and commissioned as a major in the U.S. Army Medical Corp.While in Hawaii, Low met his wife, Doris, and together they have two teenage sons, Brandon and Christian.

Bruens is a seasoned health care leader with 21 years of balanced experience in operations, strategy, planning and finance. He has a proven track record of growth, fiscal responsibility, patient satisfaction, and relationship-building with key stakeholders. He has a strong passion for community involvement, having served on various boards and service organizations.

He earned an Associate of Arts degree in Broadcasting from Southeast Community College in Nebraska in 1991, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis on public relations and a minor in marketing from Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colo. in 1993, and a Master of Public Administration degree in Health Care Policy from the University of Colorado at Denver in 1995. He is also a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and Association of Community Cancer Centers.

Bruens served as director of the Penrose Cancer Center and led the Penrose-St. Francis Behavioral Health Program in Colorado Springs since 2006. Prior to that, he served in various role at St. Marys Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo. From 1993 to 2006 including director of the San Juan Cancer Center, director of hospitalist program, director of planning and business development, hospital planner and public relations assistant.

Its exciting to be part of a team and organization that plays such a crucial role in the supporting the health care needs of our community, said Bruens. Im eager to interact with people in the community, and to find ways to enhance the health care services and systems of care we provide.

As a member of the STM administrative team, Bruens is responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership for several service lines and departments at STM to meet the changing market demands. Hell develop practices to ensure sustained operational effectiveness and is responsible for enhancing, developing, and maintaining strong staff, physician, and community relations. He has a strong background in customer service and leadership training, and will be instrumental in leading STM to improved patient satisfaction.

Please join us in welcoming Low and Bruens to STM and the Canon City community.


About St. Thomas More Hospital
St. Thomas More Hospital, a not-for-profit acute care facility, is the cornerstone of health care services for Fremont County and surrounding communities. Hospital services include 24-hour emergency and trauma services with physicians who are board certified in emergency medicine, Centura Health Urgent Care Canon City, long-term care at Progressive Care Center, inpatient acute care, Intensive Care Unit, The Birth Center, diagnostic imaging, surgical services, rehabilitation services, sleep disorder center, wound care and more. The St. Thomas More Physician Group features The Medical Home/Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatric Health Services, Obstetrics/Gynecology, General Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery and the Ear, Nose, Throat & Allergy Clinic. St. Thomas More was rated five stars for total knee replacement 2012-2015, and hip fracture treatment 2007-2015 by HealthGrades. St. Thomas More Hospital is supported by Centura Health, the regions leading health care network. For more information, visit St. Thomas More Hospital website.