A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

NewsMakers ’22: ‘Healthcare geek’ Chris Carle leads with vision, energy, and a servant’s heart

First in a series of five honoring the NKyTribune’s NewsMakers of the Year. Tomorrow: Judi Gerding.

By Kate Wiseman
Special to NKyTribune

Chris Carle is one of those people who asks what you need and then gets it done — whether that’s organizing a fundraiser, building a high school football program, or overseeing hospital mergers and acquisitions. He’s a servant leader in every sense of the term, whose commitment to the betterment of our region has touched the lives of many.

“Because of his incredibly wide-range of selfless community service and his dedication to St. Elizabeth Healthcare, The NKyTribune is honoring Chris Carle as a ’22 NewsMaker,” said NKyTribune editor Judy Clabes. “This award goes to those who have distinguished themselves through a consistent record of service to the community and who also have made big, important, and positive headlines throughout the year.”

Carle’s healthcare experience dates back to his teens, when the Moeller High School student started working in food service at Bethesda North Hospital in Montgomery. Over the next nine years, he served in a variety of roles — from orderly to medical equipment specialist to business manager of critical care services — while earning an undergraduate degree and a master’s in healthcare administration and planning from the University of Cincinnati.

At the age of 26, he was recruited by a group of physicians and pharmacists to help save a rural Kentucky hospital that was on the verge of closure. Carle took the job, and together they breathed new life into Grant County Hospital. It was the first of many positions that would characterize his leadership over the next 30+ years.

When capital was needed for equipment and upgrades, Carle found a partner in St. Elizabeth. The hospital transitioned to the St. Elizabeth system, ushering in a new age of advanced local medical care for the community.

“It was great for St. Elizabeth, the hospital and the people of Grant County,” recalls Carle, who stayed on as administrator following the acquisition, while taking on new system-wide responsibilities like physician recruitment and adding St. Elizabeth Florence to his oversight in 2008.

Since then, Carle has worn many hats at St. Elizabeth, managing physician relations, business health, business development and system operations. He currently serves as president and CEO of the St. Elizabeth Provider Network and chief operating officer of St. Elizabeth Dearborn — another successful venture, and win for the community.

Chris Carle at St. Elizabeth Dearborn groundbreaking.

“Chris has been absolutely fantastic for St. Elizabeth Dearborn,” says St. Elizabeth Director of Development and Foundation Operations Sarah Siegrist, who directed development for the Lawrenceburg hospital prior to the transition.

“To know what kind of leader he is, all you have to do is to see him sitting in the cafeteria having lunch, interacting with associates. He asks about their day, their workloads, their families, if their department has needs. He thanks the staff serving the meals and highlights the great work of those who keep the facility shining.

“Chris’s leadership is one of the main reasons the transition has been so smooth and successful. His deliberate transparency on all matters, his open-door policies and his interest in developing and celebrating the leaders around him have inspired St. Elizabeth Dearborn to reach new heights in healthcare excellence.”

With Carle at the helm, the Dearborn campus has invested heavily in quality improvements, equipment, facility and technology upgrades, and its people. And now they’re embarking on their most significant investment yet with the launch of a $250 million building campaign to construct an advanced cancer center, a medical office building and eventually a new hospital.

“I’ve been very fortunate because I’ve been on the growth side of things in every situation I’ve been involved with,” explains Carle.

And that’s not just in his professional life.

Carle has been making things happen in the community for decades. From teaming up with teachers to establish the Grant County High School football program — and coaching for 12 years — to helping launch the most successful fundraiser year over year for the Diocesan Catholic Children’s Home (DCCH), Carle sees a need and gathers the people and resources to meet it.

His board service has been extensive, including the Greater Cincinnati Health Council (chairman), Kentucky Hospital Association, Medicaid Advisory Committee for the State of Kentucky (vice chair), HealthPoint (chair), Area Health Education Committee, DCCH (chair), Women’s Crisis Center (chair), Grant County Foundation for Higher Education, Grant County Chamber of Commerce (chair), NKU Foundation, NKU Business School, Life Learning Center, Northern Kentucky Children’s Advocacy Center and Master Provisions.

Chris with wife, Toni, and daughter Kirsten

“It’s been remarkable watching Chris in action as he reaches out to the community with passion and dedication,” says Bob Hoffer, managing partner at DBL law, who served with Carle on the DCCH board. “He’s a terrific leader and one of the finest people I know.”

“Growing up professionally at St. Elizabeth has given me an unbelievable aptitude in nonprofits, human relations and how to run a good organization,” explains Carle. “I try to share that with every organization I’m a part of.”

As for his personal life, it comes as no surprise that St. Elizabeth is where Carle met his wife, Toni, a nurse manager who recently retired after 41 years in women’s services. The two live in Park Hills and have a daughter, Kirsten, who studies at the University of Cincinnati and works part time as a pharmacy tech, with plans to attend pharmacy school in the future.

“We’re healthcare geeks!” jokes Carle.

And while it’s certainly been a common thread woven throughout their lives, it’s time spent together as a family, in the outdoors or at Lake Cumberland, that recharges him and brings him the most joy.

Get NewsMatch Match — Help the NKyTribune continue to serve

Help sustain a professional, accurate, up-to-date local news and information service you can depend on. The NKyTribune is a nonprofit publication dedicated to serving the Northern Kentucky region and providing FREE access to everyone. Your contributions matter — and will be matched by national NewsMatch funders through December 31. We need and appreciate your support. Send your checks to NKyTribune, 644 Braddock Court, Edgewood, Ky. 41017 or

Click here to donate online.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment