Mary Gail Biebel wins prestigious statewide award

Longtime consultant and Chatham resident honored for “creative and principled” leadership as CMH Board Chair

The Healthcare Trustees of New York State (HTNYS) named former Columbia Memorial Health Board of Trustees Chairwoman Mary Gail Biebel as a 2016 Trustee Leadership and Advocacy Award winner this week for outstanding strategic guidance and dedication to improving healthcare in Columbia and Greene County.

HTNYS is a statewide organization that provides support to volunteer Hospital boards including educational programs and tools for advocacy. The organization’s Trustee Leadership and Advocacy Award has been given out since 1985 and celebrates trustees whose skills, commitment, and effective decision making have a profound impact on an organization.

Biebel, who is a longtime Chatham resident, has more than 25 years of consulting experience in private, public, and not-for-profit sectors at her company Carwile Biebel Consulting, Inc. She has served on the CMH Board Trustees since 2002 and served as chairwoman for a three-year term from July 2013 to July 2016. She is still serving as a CMH trustee and Richard Back, M.D. began serving as chairman in August.

In the award citation, HTNYS wrote: “Through her leadership, Mary Gail Biebel has strengthened the entire CMH system. As chairwoman of the Board of Trustees for the last three years, following 11 years as a trustee, she has employed a collaborative, engaged, creative, and principled process to help guide the strategic direction of the healthcare network.”

Using skills honed as a consultant for some of the largest organizations in the nation, Biebel led the CMH Board through the most significant transformational period in the organization’s long history. Under her leadership, the Board and CMH executives envisioned, and in October 2015, successfully executed a groundbreaking partnership with Albany Medical Center that blended the unique strengths of both organizations while ensuring continued, meaningful, localized governance. The affiliation has generated a more efficient healthcare system and improved access to specialty care.

Biebel has also been a staunch leader of local, state, and federal advocacy on behalf of healthcare in the communities served by CMH. Her style is hands-on and engaging, and she is a well-known presence in the offices of policymakers, having participated in HTNYS’ Advocacy Day events.

“Mary Gail has been instrumental in shaping the strategic direction of CMH for more than a decade. Her knowledge and expertise has helped us improve healthcare delivery, the patient experience and staff engagement,” said CMH President & CEO Jay Cahalan. “But that’s only part of the story. She has also been a key player in reviving the Crandell Theatre movie house and protecting the future of farming in Chatham. CMH is lucky to have one of Columbia County’s most dynamic and influential leaders.”

The 2016 Trustee Leadership and Advocacy Awards were presented to Biebel and Sharon Hanson, from the Erie County Medical Center Corporation, by Eric Allyn, Vice Chair, HTNYS’ Board of Trustees, and Immediate Past Board Chair, Auburn Community Hospital, at a luncheon at HTNYS’ 36th Annual Conference, held in Lake Placid, N.Y. on Sept. 19, 2016. The recently appointed chairman of the CMH Board of Trustees, Richard back, M.D., and Governance Committee Chairwoman Molly Poleto also attended the ceremony.

ATTACHED IMAGE: Mary Gail Biebel earned the 2016 Trustee Leadership and Advocacy Award this week from a statewide organization for her volunteer work as a CMH Board of Trustee member and Chairwoman. CMH President & CEO Jay Cahalan joined Biebel at a recent ceremony in Lake Placid, N.Y. The newly appointed chairman of the CMH Board of Trustees, Richard Back, M.D., and Governance Committee Chairwoman Molly Poleto also attended the ceremony.

Eli Fanning
Marketing and Public Relations Manager
Columbia Memorial Health
o. (518) 697-5445
c. (518) 542-3891

About the Trustee Leadership and Advocacy Award
HTNYS created the Trustee Leadership and Advocacy Award in 1985 to recognize trustees who bring extraordinary leadership and dedication to their governance role. The award is presented to trustees whose skills, commitment, and effective decision-making have a profound impact in their boardroom. The award honors trustees for taking a lead role in positioning their organizations to meet the challenges of the evolving healthcare environment. It also recognizes trustees for their outstanding contributions to grassroots advocacy efforts for their hospital or health system.

About Healthcare Trustees of New York State (HTNYS)
Healthcare Trustees of New York State (HTNYS) was established in 1981 to address a growing need for governance education for New York’s healthcare trustees and to provide them with new opportunities to participate in healthcare advocacy.

HTNYS’ Mission
To assist voluntary healthcare trustees through education, communications, and advocacy to promote the delivery of quality healthcare to all communities in a cost-effective manner.

About Columbia Memorial Health
Columbia Memorial Health is an advanced multi-specialty healthcare system serving more than 100,000 residents in Columbia, Greene and Dutchess Counties at 40 care centers, including 17 primary care and 23 specialty care centers, located throughout the region. In addition, CMH’s inpatient hospital, located in downtown Hudson, has served our region since 1893 and is today one of the most innovative and technically advanced facilities in the Hudson Valley. The hospital focuses on advanced surgery, primary care and patient education. CMH’s mission is to provide our communities with safe, high-quality, comprehensive healthcare services in a dignified and compassionate environment. Learn more at

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