(May 26, 2011) Longtime Calvert Memorial Hospital board member and foundation trustee Cliff Stewart recently earned a coveted leadership award from the American Hospital Association, but as he tells it, his involvement with hospitals began 36 years ago with a crisis that inspired him to take action.
In 1975, Stewart explained that a complicated appendectomy put his life in peril. The surgical team at Arlington Hospital led by Dr. Robert Ryan, he said, literally saved his life. After a six-week recovery, Stewart felt a significant payback was owed the hospital.
He put his substantial business acumen to work in aiding Arlington with their marketing campaign to persuade area residents that an expansion was needed. Stewart’s strategy was successful and the hospital expanded during the 1980s.
When Stewart and his family moved to Southern Maryland, he continued his commitment and service, much to the benefit of Calvert Memorial Hospital, first on the hospital's Foundation and, since 2000, as a member of the CMH Board of Directors. Currently, he serves as Calvert’s representative to the Maryland Hospital Association.
In April, he was presented with the “Grassroots Champion” award at the American Hospital’s annual meeting. The award singles out one leader from each state, who over the previous year, has advocated tirelessly on behalf of patients, hospitals and the community they serve.
"Cliff is an outstanding board member," said CMH President and CEO James J. Xinis. "He puts the hospital and its patients first. He has a great deal of experience and knowledge in health care, especially in how it impacts communities and businesses. I feel very honored and proud that a member of our board has received this award."
Stewart served as CMH board chairman from 2003 to 2006. During that time he initiated a partnership with the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) to expand training for healthcare workers. Stewart also played a crucial role in raising funds for major hospital programs and facilities, including a $33-million expansion project that literally transformed the Prince Frederick campus.
"The community has always stepped up," said Stewart. "This is their hospital. Calvert Memorial is truly a community hospital. As I travel the country with the American Hospital Association, I've learned the administration of this hospital is highly respected by their peers."
Stewart noted that CMH excels in the area of patient safety. “It makes you proud to be a board member,” he said. “Kudos to the leaders of this hospital. They've been able to bring in a talented staff."
In addition to his work with CMH, Stewart has also served on the CSM Foundation and has been a leader in the Calvert County Lions Club.
Stewart and his wife, Sharon, now reside in Emmitsburg, MD but still spend a lot of time at their cottage in Plum Point.