Kurt Carlson displays his Distinguished Service Award. Photo provided.
Kurt Carlson displays his Distinguished Service Award. Photo provided.
Kurt Carlson, president/CEO, Bowen Center, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Indiana Hospital Association (IHA) Thursday at its 2021 annual meeting, which was held virtually.

The IHA Distinguished Service Award recognizes outstanding contributions of Indiana chief executive officers to their communities, their profession and to the health care field.

For nearly 40 years, Carlson has been a fervent champion for those suffering with mental illness, believing that they deserve to thrive in the communities where they live, according to a news release from the Bowen Center. That commitment has driven the growth of Bowen Center from a staff of 100 in 1989 serving three counties to one of the largest community mental health centers covering the state. Now, with a staff of more than 1,500, Bowen Center not only serves those suffering with mental illness with psychologists, therapists, physicians and nurses, it also boasts a large case management team, a state-of-the-art psychiatric hospital, an Opioid Treatment Disorder recovery center and in 2020 moved into integrated care opening health clinics in Warsaw and Fort Wayne with more planned.

Carlson’s vision for Bowen Center over his tenure has been one of meeting the needs of each community it serves. As an example, when the COVID-19 pandemic was met with a lack of testing facilities in Kosciusko County in October 2020, Carlson stepped up to open one of the highest volume state-sponsored COVID-19 testing sites in Indiana, the release states. The drive-through site is operated by Bowen Center and Bowen Health Clinic on behalf of the Indiana Department of Health and the Kosciusko County Health Department.

“Working closely with Kurt over the years has been an honor,” said Dr. Robert Ryan, Bowen Center senior vice president of operations. “He has shown through his leadership that patients come first, patients have value to their community, and to always see challenges as opportunities. I know that Indiana is a better place to live because of his leadership.”

“IHA is extremely proud to honor Kurt Carlson,” said IHA President Brian Tabor. “Kurt’s contributions are vital to Bowen Center and to advancing health care in the Hoosier state. This year has been one of the most difficult as we’ve learned to navigate through a global pandemic. COVID-19 affected everyone in health care, from frontline workers to administrative staff, to our patients and their families. I commend his efforts over not only the past year, but throughout his entire career in health care.”

The Indiana Hospital Association serves as the professional trade association for more than 170 acute care, critical access, behavioral health and other specialty hospitals in Indiana.