Iowa Specialty Hospital

Steve Simonin Receives Jerry Karbeling Award

October 17, 2022

Congratulations to our President and CEO, Steve Simonin!  At the annual business meeting in October 2022 of the Iowa Rural Health Association, Steve was honored with its annual Jerry Karbeling Award for rural health leadership. 


(Excerpt from awards meeting)

This award is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated successful activism for improving rural health and a commitment to community service. It was noted that Steve has done just that over his 26 years leading the hospitals in Wright County and a network of clinics across Central and North Central Iowa.  

Jerry Karbeling was a member of the Iowa Rural Health Association and served on the board for 5 years. He served as President of the Association in 2002-2003. At the time of his death in 2005, Jerry was the Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Corporate Development for the Iowa Pharmacists Association, a practicing community pharmacist, and owner of Big Creek Pharmacy in Polk City. He was a healthcare activist, an adjunct professor, and served on the City Council of Polk City.

The Iowa Rural Health Association seeks to recognize Jerry's legacy and to retain the memory of his contributions. The Jerry Karbeling Award is presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated successful activism for improving rural health and a commitment to service as exemplified by Jerry.

This year's recipient was Steve Simonin. Steve is the President and CEO of Iowa Specialty Hospitals & Clinics, which is anchored by two critical access hospitals in Belmond and Clarion, as well as multiple specialty and pharmacy clinics across central Iowa. He has served in this role for 26 years now and has driven remarkable growth in that time. He has been recognized by health-leaders media as one of the twenty most influential healthcare leaders, has served on the American Hospital Association's Rural Hospital Committee, and serves on the IRHA Boad of Directors.

Steve's own words speak to his focus: Like it or not - we are in this together.  Our small communities both define us and protect us. “Rural” is caring.  “Rural” is community.  “Rural” life sometimes doesn’t ask for participation - it demands it and, even though it may look and feel like an intrusion, we are better for it.  The concern is genuine and pure, and I thank God for it every day.”

Steve's friend, John Supplit, Senior Director of Rural Health Services at the American Hospital Association, said, "Steve was a highly valued member of the AHA's Rural Health Services advisory committee from January 2020 - December 2022. His term was defined by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which strained resources and eliminated in-person meetings. Steve's willingness to pivot from live to virtual meetings was crucial to our continued efforts. His leadership in advancing our discussions is greatly appreciated. In addition to the standing items of the political environment, legislative advocacy and regulatory policy, AHA challenged members with a myriad of other priorities. Steve's insights and counsel were keen and thoughtful. As a result, Steve helped shape the policy and perspectives of the AHA while advocating for the interests of his rural hospital colleagues. 


Congratulations to Steve for receiving this prestigious award!  


Pictured are Steve Simonin with IRHA Board President Kelli Todd and IRHA Board members Jon Rosmann and Gloria Vermie - both previous recipients of the Karbeling Award.  

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