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New executive director selected for Big Bend Regional Hospital District

The hospital district’s office in Alpine, Texas, pictured on May 30, 2024.
Travis Bubenik
/
Marfa Public Radio
The hospital district’s office in Alpine, Texas, pictured on May 30, 2024.

The Big Bend Regional Hospital District’s board of directors on Thursday voted to appoint Lynette Brehm as the organization’s new executive director, as current director J.D. Newsom departs to pursue a career with the foreign service.

Brehm is currently employed as the grant administrator for the district, which oversees the Big Bend region’s indigent health care program and other community health initiatives. She’s set to begin her new role on June 2.

Board members also formally accepted Newsom’s resignation at a Thursday meeting, though multiple members joked that they were only doing so begrudgingly.

“We’re all against it, but we’re going to have to vote for it,” board member Buddy Cavness said with a laugh. “He’s been a blessing to this board, and to the hospital district, he has just done so much.”

For his part, Newsom praised the district’s board and staff, encouraging them to “keep challenging yourselves for how the hospital district can respond to the community’s needs.”

The board did not discuss Brehm’s new role in detail, but before the vote and announcement of her appointment, Cavness said the district had settled on a “really, really great in-house replacement.”

Outside of her work at the hospital district, Brehm is the president of the Presidio Pregnancy Center’s board of directors, a local affiliate of a national anti-abortion network called Care-Net.

Late last year, the hospital district approved a $25,000 grant to the non-profit, which has described its goal as addressing the region’s lack of maternal care resources, though critics have accused similar organizations of spreading misinformation about abortion.

In his final report to the board, Newsom said the district is in a healthy financial position with a “huge fund balance” of more than $7 million. He encouraged board members to think about ways to “do something big” with that money.

“What’s a good way to deploy that money to increase access to health care, to take care of our indigent clients in a different way, to increase capacity for serving our communities?” he said.

The district has been involved in various grant-funded initiatives to open small health clinics in Terlingua and Presidio in recent months.

Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.