Ginny Dyche retiring Aspen Valley Hospital after 34 years | AspenTimes.com

Ginny Dyche retiring Aspen Valley Hospital after 34 years

Ginny Dyche

Chances are, if you have volunteered at Aspen Valley Hospital, you have met Ginny Dyche. Or if you have had any questions about the Health Fair, you have spoken to Ginny Dyche. Perhaps you have watched “Medicine in the Mountains” on GrassRoots TV sometime in the past two decades-plus, and there was Ginny Dyche, the program’s host.

As Aspen Valley Hospital has undergone expansions, renovations, advances in technology, political campaigns, public flaps or changes to its administration and board of directors, the one constant over the past 30-plus years has been Dyche, who runs the nonprofit facility’s community relations department.

“Truly, you’ve made Aspen Valley Hospital Aspen’s community hospital through your efforts,” CEO David Ressler told Dyche at the hospital’s board of directors meeting March 13.

Dyche, 65, who joined the hospital in 1984 as its education coordinator before heading community relations, is retiring at the end of this month.

She said she is stepping down so she can travel with her husband, spend more time with her three grandchildren, work on her garden and do volunteer work.

“You get to a point in your life where there’s so much do to in so little time,” she said.

A native Coloradan, Dyche has been the face of the hospital while working under 14 different CEOs. As the hospital’s resident expert on Aspen’s history of medical care, she played a key role in researching the hospital’s 100-year anniversary in 1991 and helped put out a book commemorating the occasion.

When a high-profile person is injured or dies in Aspen, Dyche has been the hospital’s conduit to the inquiring media, which oftentimes is hamstrung in its reporting efforts because of patient-privacy laws.

“Sometimes it’s not a public figure, but it can be someone who’s missing and people are very concerned and (the media) are reporting on the issue, and that person is found and comes to the hospital,” she said. “Part of my job has been to communicate with that person what they can expect. They may be getting calls (from reporters), and it’s my job to help them to be ready to deal with the media and letting them know what to expect.”

When the hospital has been mired in a public relations crisis — and there have been a good many over the years — Dyche has been on the front lines and a fierce defender of the hospital’s practices.

“Somebody recently asked me, ‘How have you been able to stand it when the hospital is under fire?’” she said. “I have always believed, and seen it as a member of the executive team, that the decisions are always made in the best interest of the hospital and the community. Sometimes we can’t explain everything, and things are complex, and it would be much easier if things were black and white. But there are a lot of shades of gray.”

Hospital board member Dr. Mindy Nagle applauded Dyche for her ability to perform gracefully during those turbulent times.

“Your even approach to what you do and everyone around you is amazing,” she said at last week’s board meeting. “It has a calming effect on what can get chaotic.”

Marketing wasn’t Dyche’s forte when her status was elevated to head of community relations in the early 1990s. But she caught on, putting out hospital brochures, direct-mail newsletters and handling advertising in print, television and radio mediums.

She also conceded she loathed the idea of going on television, but one of her CEOs gave her the directive that she would do it whether she liked it or not. The result was her “Medicine in the Mountains” program that has profiled medical professionals and put a human face on what the hospital does. It has been on the air for 24 years with Dyche as its host, and a relaxed one at that.

“I can’t think of any show that has been going on that long,” said John Masters, executive director of GrassRoots TV. “It might be the longest-running show on community public access TV anywhere.”

Her time spent with the hospital volunteers over the years, Dyche said, has been one of the more rewarding aspects of the job.

“I work with 85 volunteers and I just respect and admire them so much,” Dyche said.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com


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