Published in Nonprofits

Veteran Muskegon hospital CEO to lead health care nonprofit through merger

BY Friday, December 07, 2018 02:41pm

SPRING LAKE — Roger Spoelman plans to step away from a full-time role at Trinity Health at the end of 2018 to bring together and run two nonprofit organizations he’s been involved with for years.

Spoelman takes on the role as president and CEO of a merged organization resulting from the combination of Spring Lake-based International Aid Inc. and CURE International Inc. of New Cumberland, Pa., which operates eight hospitals in developing nations, many of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

The merger of the two Christian nonprofits should become final by July 2019, Spoelman said. CURE International already has relocated several staff from central Pennsylvania into International Aid’s Spring Lake office.

Spoelman and his wife, Jan, have served on the board of CURE International for 12 years. Following a leadership transition about a year and a half ago, he became president and CEO for CURE International on top of his duties at Livonia-based Trinity Health “to do what I can to help.” The CURE International board later asked him to take on the role full time.

Many of CURE International’s financial supporters are from West Michigan. The organization’s board chair is Jerry Tubergen, the president and CEO of the DeVos family’s RDV Corp. in Grand Rapids.

CURE International also has been a partner over the years with International Aid, which reconditions medical equipment for use at 130 hospitals in developing nations and provides health products and disaster relief worldwide.

“We have the opportunity to merge the organization with International Aid and operate both of the organizations as one. They are so compatible,” said Spoelman, who also has served on the board of directors at International Aid for about 20 years. “They are so similar but they don’t compete. There’s no overlap in terms of the type of work that each does, yet there’s so much synergy that’s created by the two organizations in the work that they do.”

The boards for International Aid and CURE International each have approved the merger, which will generate administrative efficiencies, for example, through a single marketing and fund development department and chief financial officer, he said. Each will continue to operate under its existing name with a single leadership team.

CURE International, which opened its first hospital in Kenya in 1998, primarily serves children with disabilities, many of whom travel for days to get to the hospital, Spoelman said. Each hospital has its own medical team and medical residency program, mostly in orthopedics and anesthesia.

“Our goal is to train the nationals and to raise the level of the medical care of that country significantly, which we do,” Spoelman said.

In 2017, CURE International’s hospitals performed nearly 17,000 surgical procedures, including nearly 3,300 surgical procedures to treat spina bifida and hydrocephalus, and enrolled more than 18,000 children for treatment of clubfoot.

Funded through contributions, grants and fees, CURE International had revenues of $60.5 million in the 2017 fiscal year, according to the most recent annual financial report filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

Spoelman moves into the CEO position of the merged organization after 30 years as a health care executive in West Michigan. His tenure includes serving as CEO in Muskegon, where he led two hospital mergers, and later as regional executive for the corporation’s Mercy Health operations in West Michigan. Spoelman most recently served in interim CEO roles at Trinity Health hospitals in New England, Ohio and for the last eight months in Illinois at Loyola University Health System.

He will continue with Trinity Health on a “very part-time” basis leading an executive development program, an area he’s focused on in the last several years.

“I wanted to make sure the organization had a deep pool of talent for the future,” Spoelman said. “That’s what I’ve been interested in — growing and identifying the emerging leaders, the next generation of leadership for health care.” 

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