PeaceHealth Southwest Announces Leadership Changes


​After 10 years as chief administrative officer with PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center, Renate (Rainy) Atkins, RN, MSHA, FACHE, has announced her retirement, effective September 6, 2013. Sy Johnson has been named chief administrative officer of PeaceHealth Southwest and chief operating officer of PeaceHealth’s Columbia Network. Johnson is currently CEO of PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center in Longview. A leadership transition plan for St John is being developed in conjunction with the community board.

“When I came here to Vancouver, my plan was to stay five to seven years,” said Atkins. “It’s been 10 wonderful, exceptional years. I’ve been privileged to work with this team to make PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center the leading hospital in southwestern Washington.”

“Rainy is an exceptional person who has done so much for the community and will be missed in so many ways,” said Joe Kortum, CEO of the Columbia Network. “She has been a driving force behind our significant accomplishments around the quality and safety of patient care. If ever anyone has earned their retirement, it is Rainy Atkins.”

A neonatal and pediatric air transport nurse by training, Atkins held several positions with Flagstaff Medical Center and Northern Arizona Healthcare before coming to Southwest Washington in 2003. She was instrumental in establishing the Kearney Breast Center and Firstenberg Tower, as well as establishing a relationship with OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital to improve access to neonatal care in Vancouver.

“I have the utmost respect for Rainy and will rely on her help over the coming weeks as we move the organization into a new era,” Johnson said. “I’m excited to work more closely with the exceptional team of clinical and organizational leaders of Southwest as we continue to provide the best care, right here at home.” Atkins is on the Clark County Public Health Advisory Committee and helped to establish the Mental Health Summit for the County. She has been a strong advocate for enhancing nursing education and in 2010 Clark College named Atkins “Woman of Achievement” for the year.

Josiah “Sy” Johnson began his career with PeaceHealth in May of 2002 as the Chief Financial Officer of the Lower Columbia Region and served in that role for five years before transitioning to the Chief Operating Officer role at PeaceHealth St. John in February 2008. In 2009, he assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer/Chief Mission Officer for the hospital. He holds a degree in accounting from the University of Arizona in Tucson and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Wyoming. He is a Certified Public Accountant.

Atkins is the second executive to announce retirement from PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in recent weeks. Joe Kortum announced last month that he will be retiring at the end of the year.

Kortum will be working with Atkins, Johnson and the community boards of Southwest, St John and the Columbia Network over the next few months to assure a smooth leadership transition.