Skip to Main Content
EMERGENCY ALERT

Salem Hospital is open and seeing patients.

All scheduled appointments and procedures will happen as planned on Monday, July 22.

Close  X
Salem Hospital campus map

In her own words: Roxanne C. Ruppel

Roxanne C. Ruppel, who became Salem Hospital's President & COO in March 2023, shares what drew her to healthcare, her vision for the hospital and how she finds ways to recharge.

Roxanne C. Ruppel

Over 26 years working at Salem Hospital, Roxanne C. Ruppel has gotten to know the system and built trusted relationships with the community. Now, she's translating that experience into her current leadership role: she became Salem Hospital's President & COO in March 2023. As she reflected on the last year, Roxanne shared what drew her to healthcare, what she appreciates most about working at Salem Hospital and her advice to aspiring women leaders.

What attracted you to the healthcare field?
I knew very early on that I wanted to take care of patients. I wanted to make a difference in alleviating pain and suffering in some way, improving a person's well-being and quality of life. My father had a lot of health issues growing up. I saw what his healthcare team did for him and the difference they made in saving, lengthening and improving his life. Even if it was a small way to make that difference in someone's life, I saw it as fulfilling and something I wanted to do long-term.

My neighbor was a nurse. When I was in high school, she talked to me about the opportunities she was seeing in physical therapy and suggested I consider it as I was exploring my interests. So, that's how I started my career. I never thought I would do anything besides taking care of patients, but as is often the case in healthcare, somewhere along the way an opportunity comes up in management and leadership. I took an opportunity early on and continued to work clinically part time, then moved into operational management and business and strategic planning before taking this position. I think that in healthcare leadership, the more you can do to stay close to that patient interface, the more gratifying the leadership role is.

How has your upbringing influenced you?
I grew up in a multicultural family, and there was a lot of richness in that. My father came from Poland as a teenager and my mother is from Puerto Rico. They both always worked hard and long hours. They taught my brothers and I to always do the right thing - not the easy thing - and to try to make whatever difference we could.

I was the first in my family to graduate from college. That was always a goal for my parents, and they worked very hard to support that goal, so I don't take that for granted. The journey they had coming to the U.S. and building a better life for their families has been an incredible example for me and taught me a lot of lessons. I have an incredibly supportive family, and I'm really grateful for it.

You've worked at Salem Hospital for almost three decades. What do you appreciate most about the hospital?
It's the people. We have incredibly dedicated people across all job roles - our physicians, nurses and staff are so devoted to our patients and community. From my many years here, there's a familiarity that's beneficial, along with trusted working relationships that I've developed over that time. Those aspects are incredibly helpful in working through difficult situations.

It's a tremendous opportunity to serve this richly diverse community, to be part of the system and support these incredibly talented caregivers. We're delivering care to the most vulnerable in our population, and we're doing it with state-of-the-art technology and facilities to serve all the people who come through our doors, regardless of their background and challenges. I see it as an incredible gift to play a part in that.

What would you like to see Salem Hospital accomplish during your tenure?
We have this dual shared purpose of serving the underserved and supporting our community, as well as bringing the very best to Salem Hospital and the North Shore in terms of services, programs and technology. We're continuing to develop programs and expand the way we can serve patients, with those two purposes working in harmony with one another. There's a lot to build on and opportunity for us to do more.

How do you find ways to relax and recharge?
At work, our staff recognition events help me recharge. When we acknowledge someone who's gone above and beyond, we're connecting as human beings and celebrating our shared purpose. Those couple of minutes where we pause to acknowledge exceptional work create great energy.

Outside of work, I love spending time with my husband, my two college-age kids and Hank, our Great Dane. We like to kayak, and the quiet of being out on the lake together is something I certainly enjoy. I also love gardening - mostly flowers, especially roses. My parents and grandparents were avid gardeners. I do find that during those times in the yard, I can focus on the task at hand and relax.

What advice would you give to young women interested in healthcare leadership?
Don't hesitate to take those leaps of faith. Pursue opportunities, even if they feel outside your comfort zone. Lead with confidence.

What I try to do every day is learn from the people around me and incorporate those lessons so I can be a better leader. I think that's incredibly important for all of us. You don't ever know your true potential until you push yourself to be uncomfortable and take on challenges. That's what I tell my kids. You understand over time there's potential to be more, and there's fulfillment that comes from that.