Driven by a passion for creating wider access to healthcare, Pam Delagardelle worked her way up the ladder from nurse to president and CEO of UnityPoint Health-Waterloo.
At a time when our nation has been pivoting toward a new model of healthcare, one that is focused on wellness and the prevention, early detection and treatment of disease, Pam has helped lead the way in the Cedar Valley. Under her watch, access issues are being addressed with new urgent care centers at Prairie Parkway in Cedar Falls, and on San Marnan Drive in Waterloo. UnityPoint also expanded access with the acquisition of UnityPoint Health-Marshalltown, which includes a hospital, outpatient medical park and four primary care clinics.
Nominator Jim Waterbury noted, “Pam lives and breathes innovation, constant improvement and steady upgrades to facilities services and patient outcomes and satisfaction. Many people would consider any of the major initiatives she has championed as the capstone of their careers. To Pam, however, every accomplishment is just a stepping stone to what comes next. Pam knows there is no finish line, and she doesn’t play for personal glory.”
She began her career in healthcare as a nurse in 1983 at Schoitz Medical Center and over time has worked in a variety of departments She seized an opportunity involving a National Institute of Health study on hospital acquired deaths and the impact on local businesses. This experience with local businesses, along with her nursing background, set the stage for her career progression with roles as director of patient care, managed care facilitator, and clinical integration coordinator. She has also served as an assistant professor at Allen College. Under Pam’s leadership, the hospitals and health care systems she’s managed have won numerous awards for safety, patient care and patient satisfaction. Pam herself even won the Mt. Mercy Distinguished Service award in 2012 for her outstanding leadership in healthcare.
Taking the reins at Allen Hospital in January 2013, Pam immediately went to work, seeking to enhance patient experiences and outcomes. She is also working to ensure mental health access in the Cedar Valley as part of patient access. In her time as CEO, Pam has led the entire 10-county Waterloo region through three major transformations: a new identity as a regional affiliate of UnityPoint Health, a system-wide shift from a fee-for-service model to a regional care model focused on prevention, primary care and care coordination, and a continuing transformation from a hospital-centric organization to an entity that strives to deliver the finest care in the most efficient manner.
Her busy life as a health system administrator has not kept her from deep community involvement. Her family is of the utmost importance to her with other organizations closely following, including, but not limited to: Iowa Hospital Association Board, Iowa Hospital Education and Research Foundation Board, Holy Family Parish, Iowa Health System Community Network, American College of Healthcare Executives, Grundy Center Vision 2020 Task Force, Grundy County Memorial Hospital Foundation Board.
Named by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier as one of “10 People to Watch in 2018,” Pam stated: “It’s about creating a culture in this organization that builds relationships with patients, where leaders lead to improve health in the community.”
Pam lives with her husband Rick, in Cedar Falls and they have five children.