This December, THC staff holiday celebrations are tinged a bit bittersweet.
Our team will bear a double loss this month in the departure of Medical Director Barbara Tobias, MD, and the retirement of Chief Administrative Officer Colleen O’Toole, PhD. Together they have given at least 40 YEARS of dedicated service.
Both women have spent many years striving toward improving the health and wellness of our region, quietly leading by example and finding the common ground necessary to move forward.
The team recently gathered via Zoom to honor Colleen and Barb, sharing memories and well-wishes, celebrating their achievements and passion for their work. Below are staff comments as well as a little background on each incredible woman.
Colleen O’Toole, PhD
Chief Administrative Officer
As Chief Administrative Officer, Colleen O’Toole facilitates board governance for THC and oversees its human resources, development, communications, and legal functions. She also currently serves as a chair of Hoxworth Blood Center’s Community Advisory Board and is a member of the LifeCenter Organ Donor Network Board.
Among Dr. O’Toole’s many awards and recognitions include Chief Operating Officer of the Year 2019 from the Cincinnati Business Courier C-Suite Awards; and a 2012 Community Health Champion Award from The Center for Closing the Health Gap. She retires this year after 30 YEARS OF SERVICE to The Health Collaborative and the Greater Cincinnati Health Council.
Barbara Tobias, MD
Barbara B. Tobias, MD is a family physician and Interim Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. She is the Robert and Myfanwy Smith Professor of Family Medicine. She has practiced family medicine for over 25 years, earning awards in teaching, mentoring, and clinical excellence, and currently cares for patients at the Good Samaritan Free Clinic.
As Medical Director, Dr. Tobias provides leadership and support to THC’s member physicians and practices in public reporting, payment reform, quality improvement, population health and practice transformation initiatives. She also leads workforce diversity, community partnerships and pipeline efforts. She has been working with THC for nearly ten years.
Staff Tributes to Barb and Colleen
The following comments were captured from a THC staff meeting honoring the contributions of Dr. O’Toole and Dr. Tobias to our organization, as well as submissions from team members wanting to share.
From long-time contractor & friend Julia Taylor: I met Barb in our small-town community prior to joining The Health Collaborative. Her good natured husband, Tom, and she would grab a bunch of us “village” folks to participate and walk in our friendly, annual 4th of July neighborhood parade dressed in costume – with our kids in tow – as a lawn chair brigade, pieces of cake or dancing flowerpots to name a few years. Always known as a connector of people, a doer with an encouraging smile, and a generous creative competitive spirit, we were the “street to beat” in the annual competition for many years.
When I joined the Collaborative, I wasn’t surprised to find the same smart well-respected Barb Tobias listening, asking pertinent questions, sharing her wealth of knowledge, humbly redirecting the conversation from herself, and encouraging others to lead. She is loved by so many in the healthcare space, as well as in our small-town community. We were once asked if we had a superpower, what would it be? Some of us wanted to read minds. Some of us wanted to fly, and others wanted to be fast. Barb said, “To heal.”
We will miss her greatly.
From Communications Manager, Amy Goetz: Colleen, you are a consummate leader and relationship manager. I have learned so much from you in my time at THC. You have endless patience, humility, and sensitivity in challenging situations. Our organization wouldn’t be what it is today without you. Thank you, you’ll be missed tremendously!
It was an absolute treat working with Barb in my early days at THC, on the Gen-H team (back when it was stilled called Collective Impact on Health). I’ve always been awed and amazed by her thinking and dedication to community and mission! Love you Barb <3
From Tiffany Mattingly, Senior Director, Clinical Initiatives & Quality Improvement: You both have shaped our organization so much, and even though you’ll be gone your essence will live on in THC. I commit to carry your positive influence forward, THANK YOU for everything. Fantastic role models…I’m so thankful.
From Manager of Business Intelligence, Jason Bubenhofer: Colleen, thank you for your wonderful leadership over many, many years. Enjoy your retirement!
From Senior Director of Communications and Development, Shannan Schmitt: Don’t go! My gosh I’m going to miss you. Grateful to have had the honor of working with you and benefitting from your good guidance.
From Quality Improvement Coordinator, Michelle Doll: I’d like to file a grievance with HR for the mental anguish I’m experiencing. In my short period of time at THC these women have made such a huge impact on me. I can’t imagine what everyone else is feeling.
From Director of Workforce Innovation, Hope Arthur: Colleen – you are such an amazing, kind and graceful leader. I hope retirement is absolutely fabulous for you and your family! I will miss you.
Barb, I am so sorry to see you go. I have enjoyed your leadership and dedication to the equity work and getting to work with you over the last few years!
From Business Intelligence Manager, Jason Bubenhofer: Barb, you’ve inspired me tremendously, and it has been an honor and privilege to work with you and know you for several years. Thank you for being you!
From Medical Director, Barbara Tobias: Colleen, you model professionalism, diplomacy, and excellence. With gratitude for your unparalleled service!
From Learning & Development Facilitator Lead, Danielle Peereboom: I’ve enjoyed every interaction I’ve had with Barb. She is one of a kind. But sometimes she hurts my brain because she’s always thinking one step ahead and asking the hard questions. Wishing you the best, Barb!
Thank you for your leadership, Colleen! I smile when I think about our giant Jenga game last year.
From Director of Epic Services, Dawn Day: What do you say about someone who is so AMAZING! It has been my pleasure working with you, Barb, and getting to know you. You have been such a blessing and inspiration to me! [You are] humble and kind and a pro at meeting people where they are. Everyone I have ever spoken with who knows Barb has the same opinions of her. From UC to folks here in Dayton to THC. Barb, I just cannot say enough about your character. We will miss you!
Colleen, thank you for everything you’ve done to help me settle in to THC when I started almost two years ago! You are a wealth of knowledge and you’re always willing to share that knowledge with others – I appreciate that! I will miss you.
From Chief Financial Officer, Dan Memmott: Colleen, congrats on your retirement. Sorry that our overlap here at THC will end up being so brief. I have already learned from your leadership and enjoyed your kindness and friendship!
From Senior Manager of Clinical Initiatives, Kate Haralson: We would not have our internal Diversity & Inclusion work without Barb spearheading our first book club (Stamped from the Beginning).
From Senior Manager of Support Services, Nakia McGraw: Thank you for everything, Barb! Your true kindness and dedication are inspiring! You will be dearly missed…
Congratulations Colleen, I can’t imagine a THC world without you! I will miss you dearly, you have been an amazing leader and an amazing friend!
From Business Development Coordinator, Sharon Trainer: Barb is a wonderful co-worker… and an amazing person. I just love listening to her speak – I always learn so much and admire her even more each time, if that’s possible!
From Vice President, Human Resources & Administrative Services, Nicci Weber: Barb, YOU ARE AMAZING! Thank you for all that you have taught me and for always being such an inspiring leader. Your passion is infectious!
From Manager of Population Health Strategies, Lauren Bartoszek: It has been an honor and pleasure to learn from Colleen and Barb in my short time with THC. I am so thankful for your guidance and support throughout the months. I will miss you both!
From Contractor Julia Taylor: Thank you Colleen for always navigating us through the years and holding true our values as an organization. Enjoy your retirement and we will miss you!
From Chief Information Officer, Alex Vaillancourt: Barb, it’s been great to see you in action. Definitely a mission-driven, get things done personality!
From Manager of Healthcare Workforce Innovation, Heleena McKinney: Thank you for everything, Barb. My appreciation for you is endless.
From Executive Office Manager, Lisa Sladeck: Barb is the kindest and most compassionate person I know!!
From SVP of Programs and Services, Sara Bolton: Colleen, I have learned so much from you. You are fiercely loyal and supportive. Thank you for always thinking about our THC family.
From Executive Director of Population Health Strategies, Kiana Trabue: Such an awesome leader! Very supportive and always willing to help. Congratulations, Dr. O’Toole!