Memorial Hospital’s Housewright named ICAHN ‘4 Under 40’ winner


Ada Bair, Memorial Hospital CEO, left, and Ashlyn Housewright, executive director of Community Health and Wellness. | Photo courtesy of Memorial Hospital

CARTHAGE, Ill. —The Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN) announced its “4 Under 40” Hospital Leadership Winners, including Ashlyn Housewright, executive director of Community Health and Wellness, during its 20th anniversary annual conference held at the I-Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign.

Housewright has been a full-time employee with Memorial Hospital in Carthage for five years and has a strong passion for educating people in her community on improving their health and pursuing healthy lifestyles.

In response to the escalating diabetes rates, Housewright launched the KEY (Keep Encouraging Yourself) To Good Health program with the support of other community leaders whose focus is to improve and support diabetic education and screenings. The mission of KEY is to “encourage healthy lifestyles to prevent and reduce chronic disease through community engagement and support. Embrace physical, social and mental wellness through screenings, education and experiences to improve health outcomes together.”

Housewright played an instrumental part in implementing a teaching kitchen at Memorial Hospital for the community. This involved the construction of four kitchen stations equipped with the proper technology to teach viewers from home or in person. As a result of this implementation, many events have been opened to the community.

One of the events included teaching cooking basics to third-grade 4-H students. Another focused on teaching individuals how to make 10 meals ready to be frozen and reheated when needed. Utilizing this resource has been a large demand from the local community to engage with and learn. The teaching kitchen at Memorial Hospital has educated more than 200 people in 2023 in conjunction with the Health and Wellness team.

In a press release, Ada Bair, CEO of Memorial Hospital, said, “Ashlyn portrays extraordinary personal leadership by engaging with her team positively and is willing to work side-by-side to complete projects. She empowers her team to pursue innovative solutions and is seen by her peers as a go-to person for collaboration. She knows how to lead teams by engaging all around the table, asking questions and recognizing others.”

Housewright’s initiative and mission to improve lifestyles have improved turnover rates and led to the staffing of a highly qualified team of people in Memorial’s Health and Wellness Department. The Food and Nutrition Team cooks from scratch and focuses on healthier yet tasty options.

“The increase in cafe use and carry-out meals comes from Ashlyn’s desire to innovate and lead a team to grow and develop services that better meet the needs of staff and community,” Bair said.

Housewright also played a large role in acquiring and launching FOCUS Fitness, the local fitness center. FOCUS Fitness has seen an uptick in memberships and offerings within the community. Housewright leads organizational improvement teams and has served as a super coach to people serving on Memorial Hospital’s Service Excellence Council.

ICAHN’s “4 Under 40” Hospital Leadership Award is open to new and emerging leaders age 40 and under who have been employed by an ICAHN member hospital or have served on its board for at least two years and have a strong record of innovation and outstanding performance.

Located in Princeton, ICAHN is a network of 59 small rural hospitals dedicated to strengthening the operations of its member hospitals through collaboration. The organization is composed of Illinois hospitals that have earned critical access hospital designation by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It is recognized nationally for its work with rural healthcare, administering several state, federal and private healthcare programs.

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