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Plamann and Smith Chosen to Lead CentraCare Operations and Proposed Medical School

Published in Media Releases Author: CentraCare

CentraCare announced today that Cindy Firkins Smith, MD will lead development of the proposed expansion of the University of Minnesota Medical School in St. Cloud, and Joy Plamann has been promoted to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for CentraCare. She will retain her current responsibilities as President of CentraCare – St. Cloud Hospital. Both leaders will assume their new roles effective March 5, 2023.

The CentraCare Board of Directors and the University of Minnesota Board of Regents recently approved a non-binding Letter of Intent to partner in creating a campus of the University of Minnesota Medical School in St. Cloud. Cindy Firkins Smith, MD, who currently serves as Senior Vice President of CentraCare Rural Health, will lead development of the new campus.

“I know no one who is more passionate about improving access to excellent care for rural Minnesotans than Cindy,” said Ken Holmen, MD, CentraCare president and CEO. “In addition to improving our rural health services, she has served as a practicing physician in Willmar for 32 years and also an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota. She is ideally suited for this role.”

Smith has a bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University, Mankato, an MD from the University of Minnesota, and a Master’s in Health Care Innovation from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been a practicing dermatologist for 32 years and held statewide physician leadership roles, including president of the Minnesota Medical Association.

Rural Health operations, along with all CentraCare operations, will transition to Plamann as COO. She will assume responsibility for accelerating operational performance across all CentraCare’s hospitals and facilities.

Plamann has worked at CentraCare since 1994 and has demonstrated clinical and business expertise throughout her career. Among her many achievements, she has been a leader in helping CentraCare attain Magnet recognition in nursing excellence, and in her current role as Senior Vice President of Central Operations and President of St. Cloud Hospital, she led CentraCare’s response to the COVID pandemic.

“Joy has been an advocate for excellence in patient care at CentraCare for decades. Combined with her demonstrated business acumen, she is the ideal person to lead our operations. We are excited at the contributions that we know she’ll make to CentraCare and our communities,” said Ken Holmen, MD, CentraCare president and CEO.

Plamann holds a BS in nursing from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

“CentraCare has been my work home since starting my career as a nurse intern many years ago. I have seen CentraCare rise to be one of the country’s best health systems, and I could not be more proud or honored to serve the organization in this new role,” said Plamann.

Joy has shared her talents with numerous local and state-wide organizations, including the Quiet Oaks Hospice Board, Women’s Leadership Health Trust Board, United Way, and Vizient Upper-Midwest Clinical Group Board. She has received extensive recognition for her work, including the Minnesota Hospital Association Spirit of Advocacy Award, Women’s Health Trust Emerging Leader in Healthcare Award, and numerous CentraCare – St. Cloud Hospital distinctions.

Plamann will report to Ken Holmen, MD, CentraCare president and CEO. Smith will have a joint reporting relationship with CentraCare’s Chief Physician Officer, Tom Schrup, MD, and Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School.