CRH Exec Spotlight: Julie Abedian, VP, Community Health Initiatives and Foundation President

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Julie Abedian has found healthcare executive leadership to be an ideal fit for her professional and personal interests. “I love the complexity. I love the people,” she said. But Julie, who serves as vice president of community health initiatives at Columbus Regional Health and president of Columbus Regional Health Foundation, also likes the operational side of healthcare. “I like the combination of having to run our organization as efficiently as a business, but it’s a business with a purpose. That’s a compelling combination to me,” she said.

Julie joined the health system as president of the Foundation in 2003. In 2016, she was named to the CRH executive team as vice president of community partnerships and corporate responsibility, and in 2020 she assumed her current title. In addition to leading the Foundation and Healthy Communities, Julie also oversees Volunteer Services. Prior to joining CRH, Julie was the marketing manager for the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic. Previously, she was a public policy analyst with the Congressional Budget Office and served as marketing manager at Uniroyal Plastics Company. She grew up in Michigan, where she attended the University of Michigan, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. In 2019, she earned a Master of Health Administration degree from the University of Southern California.

Julie’s current community health priorities are the ongoing substance use disorder initiative and infant mortality prevention. Both of these needs were identified in community health needs assessments, which CRH conducts every three years. The assessment involves surveying residents in Bartholomew, Jackson, and Jennings counties and identifying the most significant health issues. Following the assessment, the Healthy Communities Council reviews the data and selects the top priorities to address. As executive champion and sponsor of the substance use disorder initiative and infant mortality prevention efforts, Julie’s role is to ensure these community health initiatives have the necessary resources they need to advance the work and that CRH and CRH Foundation resources are aligned with these two priorities.

Looking back over the last 18 years, there are many things Julie is proud of in her CRH career, but a few highlights that stand out are: when the Foundation raised $1 million in 45 days to support the hospital’s 2008 flood-recovery efforts. Then a few years later when Healthy Communities received a multi-million-dollar grant for community health. More recently, she highlights the launch of the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress as a critical community health initiative that launched, and most recently, she recognizes our health system’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which started with convening a group of community stakeholders in February 2020. “It was a broad-based group of community stakeholders that decided we were going to be proactive in responding to the pandemic, and we were going to do everything we could to try to mitigate the impact to our community broadly,” she said. She is also very proud of our health system’s commitment and support for VIMCare Clinic, a primary healthcare clinic for the uninsured and underinsured in our community.

Julie and her husband, Steve, live in Columbus. She has two adult sons, Alex and Andre, who live in Pittsburgh and New York City, respectively. She is active in the community, serving as a Plan Commission member and a Columbus Parks Board member, among other board and committee roles. She also takes her community health role to heart on a personal level – running, hiking, and cycling as much as she can.
Julie commends CEO Jim Bickel for creating a community health role on the executive team, noting that it represents Columbus Regional Health’s commitment to community health. “Our health system has been very committed to our community’s health, to improving the community’s health, and working outside the walls of the hospital. I see my role as trying to build on that legacy and continue to enhance it…to really continue to have impact. Columbus Regional has always had impact,” Julie said.

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