South Lake Hospital Board of Director Chairwoman Susan McLean honored

The Trustee of the Year Award honors a board member of a hospital or health system who has contributed significantly to the health of the community.


Kim Couch
[email protected]

CLERMONT, Fla. — South Lake Hospital’s longtime Board of Director Chairwoman Susan McLean received the 2014 Trustee of the Year Award from the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) Thursday, October 16, at the Annual FHA Celebration of Achievement in Quality and Service Awards in Orlando.

The Trustee of the Year Award honors a board member of a hospital or health system who has contributed significantly to the health of the community by providing leadership and guidance to the hospital or system board. McLean was recognized for helping to shape healthcare in South Lake County for more than 30 years.

“Through service on multiple South Lake Hospital boards, McLean’s community-minded leadership helped South Lake Hospital grow from a small community hospital to a dynamic, 160-acre health, wellness and education campus that attracts patients and athletes from across the South Lake community and across the world,” commented John Moore, South Lake Hospital president. 

Today the 122-bed facility is well-known for orthopedics, the unique LiveWell Fitness Center and the National Training Center, and exceptional programs in home health, the Centre for Women’s Health, outpatient rehabilitation, wound care center, endoscopy center and outpatient surgery center. McLean began her career in the nursing field and earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Florida. She later went on to earn her master’s degree in nursing also from the University of Florida. 

Prior to joining South Lake Hospital’s boards, McLean used her passion for nursing to help create Lake-Sumter Community College’s first nursing program in 1982. She was named the director of the program and showed immediate success with 100 percent graduation rate in the first two years of the program.

McLean joined the South Lake Hospital District Board of Trustees in March of 1988. During this time, the hospital was facing many challenges that required insightful leadership from the hospital boards. 

The once rural town filled with orange groves was changing and growing at a rapid pace. The hospital was outgrowing its aged facility and they were landlocked, prohibiting expansion at its current location. This left board members with the arduous task of preparing to ensure continued success of South Lake Hospital to serve the healthcare needs of current and future residents.

McLean and her fellow board members had the insight to purchase a large, undeveloped plot of land along Clermont’s then undeveloped State Road 50. They originally bought 40 acres of land and later would add 140 additional acres through purchased and donated land. For a small community hospital supported by a hospital taxing district, this was a challenge for its time. However, those living in this community today are grateful for the vision and perceptiveness McLean and other leaders shared.

In the mid-1990s, the plans to relocate the hospital to the new land began. McLean was instrumental in leading the charge to the community and government officials to approve and support the new campus. South Lake Hospital opened its doors to its new facility in 2000 with a 68-bed facility. In addition to the hospital, an entire health, sports and education campus was created. 

As a healthcare educator, McLean felt strongly that the hospital should not only be meeting the medical needs of the residents but that they should be the leaders in preventative education to the community. She helped to secure a state-of-the-art fitness and education facility that would open in 2001 as the USA Triathlon National Training Center. This facility provided community access to not only fitness memberships but also community education classes such as diabetes education, CPR classes and numerous support groups. 

McLean also spearheaded the donation of hospital land to both the Mike Conley Hospice House (part of Cornerstone Hospice) and the Community Foundation of South Lake, which provides grants to benefit education, health and wellness and community development for South Lake County. McLean also took particular interest in ensuring that healthcare professionals received proper continuing education opportunities to serve the South Lake community and was a long-time member of the hospital’s human resource committee throughout her time on the district board.

Recognizing her tireless efforts to support the South Lake Hospital mission, the hospital district board of trustees appointed McLean to the operating board in 2003. She immediately became the lead support in establishing and co-chaired the philanthropic campaign to build the hospital’s Centre for Women’s Health, allowing obstetrical services to return to the South Lake County community after a 20-year absence. The Centre for Women’s Health opened in 2004 and continues to provide women’s services including labor and delivery, diagnostic imaging, childbirth and breastfeed education and a new mother’s support group.

In 2007, McLean was appointed chair of the South Lake Hospital Board of Directors and retains that role today. She continues to recognize the important role the hospital plays in being the leader in the community for preventative health and education, including her 2011 advocacy to establish an organic community garden on the hospital’s LiveWell Campus — one that continues to flourish today.

About South Lake Hospital LiveWell Campus:
South Lake Hospital’s LiveWell Campus includes the 122-bed non-profit hospital, in partnership with Orlando Health, Centre for Women’s Health, LiveWell Fitness Center, National Training Center, South Lake Endoscopy Center, South Lake Surgery Center, South Lake Home Health, South Lake Wound Care and campus partners Special Olympics Florida, Brandy Johnson Global Gymnastics and several medical office buildings. South Lake Hospital has been serving the healthcare needs of the South Lake community since 1947 and employs 1,100 employees and has more than 200 physicians on its medical staff.