FOR RELEASE: April 27, 2006

GALVESTON, Texas - Karen Sexton, vice president and chief executive officer of hospitals and clinics at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, has been named the 2006 Outstanding Alumna by the Eastern Kentucky University Department of Baccalaureate and Graduate School of Nursing.

A native of Floyd County in eastern Kentucky, Sexton received a Bachelor of Science degree from EKU and later received a Master of Science in Community Mental Health and a Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky.

A driving force in her professional life has been a commitment ensuring quality patient care. Beginning as a staff nurse, Sexton enjoyed a 25-year career at the University of Kentucky where she climbed the ranks to chief nursing officer before she joined UTMB as chief operating officer in 2001. In 2004, Sexton assumed her position as vice president and CEO of UTMB Hospitals and Clinics.

Sexton is an active member of numerous professional groups and in healthcare leadership at both the state and national level, currently serving as a board member for  the Texas Hospital Association and the executive council for the University Healthcare Consortium.

Involved in the community, Sexton is a member of the Galveston Rotary Club and the advisory committee for the local Ronald McDonald House. She also serves as a board member for the Resource Crisis Center.

In September 2005, as Hurricane Rita threatened Galveston, Sexton oversaw the successful evacuation of UTMB’s patient population, the first in the academic medical center’s 114-year history. Subsequently, she served on the Governor’s Task Force on Evacuation Transportation and Logistics.

Sexton credits EKU for providing a high quality education that has allowed her to achieve success as a compassionate health care professional.

“It is such an honor to be recognized in this way,” Sexton said. “There is so much I could say about my education, but in short, I believe the expectation that was established early by this program and the faculty who taught me to honor my commitment to the profession of nursing and to patient care has guided me over the years.  I believe that it has helped me make a difference to the lives of those I serve.  I am honored to be named as their outstanding alumna for 2006.”

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
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