S. Carol Bauer stands next to the photographs of past CEOs of Dayton’s Good Samaritan Hospital; more than half were Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.
For more than 20 years S. Carol Bauer has been the “conscience” of Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. As the vice president of mission effectiveness since 1989, S. Carol helps to keep the hospital focused on its mission: to build a healthier community and to care for the whole person – body, mind and spirit.
Sister’s ministry has not always been in health care. The Cincinnati, Ohio, native’s early years were spent teaching religion and math in Albuquerque, N.M., and Dayton. She transitioned to pastoral ministry in 1974, serving at St. Francis of Assisi in Centerville, Ohio, for the next 11 years. Eventually her responsibilities led to the role of pastoral administrator. During those years Sister became part of many community volunteer roles available on committees and boards for the nonprofit and social service sector in Dayton, including Catholic Social Services and the United Way Public Policy.
“The knowledge and exposure provided through these experiences, I believe, were instrumental in the skill development that led to my present ministry at Good Samaritan Hospital,” S. Carol said.
At the hospital she oversees programs such as pastoral care, spiritual care, health ministries, volunteer services and employee assistance. She also advises the hospital’s ethics committee and oversees operation of the hospital’s behavioral health inpatient, intensive outpatient and detox services.
“This is an astoundingly challenging role working in the midst of human suffering and need and seeking insight into the balancing of ministry and business aspects of the health care industry in the U.S.,” Sister said in a 2010 interview. “I have worked with several CEOs over the years and have heard them refer to my role as the ‘conscience of the organization.’ As I’ve thought about this comment it has dawned on me that what they were observing was the impact that the essence of ministry can bring to the challenges of business.”
Jim Pancoast, current president and CEO of Premier Health, came to know S. Carol while serving as COO and chief executive officer of Good Samaritan Hospital. Pancoast said the Sisters of Charity had great vision to bring quality, Catholic-based health care to the Dayton area. To him, S. Carol continues that tradition.
“I always felt working with S. Carol was a good grounding between providing quality care and remembering our mission to provide care for all people in need. She was our reminder of the vision and mission of what the Sisters started,” he said.
S. Carol has been instrumental in starting several programs at the hospital that focus on its commitment to caring for the spiritual and mental needs of its patients. One of those programs is Anam Cara (Gaelic for “soul friend”), which brings trained volunteers to visit and support patients and families.
In 2005, the Dayton Business Journal named S. Carol one of its Health Care Heroes, recognizing her contributions to not only Good Samaritan Hospital but also to the Dayton community. Among those contributions was the role she played in the development of The Founder’s Project, which brought together eight religious orders, each with unique ministries, to work on Founder’s Family Center, which has provided social services to families since 1997. In addition Sister was involved in The Phoenix Project, Good Samaritan Hospital’s $5 million effort to revitalize its neighborhood.
Ned Sifferlen, former chair of the Good Samaritan Hospital Board of Trustees (2003-2011), said Sister played a significant role in the development of The Phoenix Project. “She was so special in terms of community outreach,” he said. Sifferlen remembered how the neighbors “worshiped her.”
Jim Pancoast agreed. “She was the heart and soul of that project,” he said.
Of all her accomplishments and successes, which include being named one of the 2009 YWCA of Dayton Women of Influence, Sister said community board involvement has been a significantly enriching element in her life. In addition to her involvement with Catholic Social Services and the United Way Public Policy, Sister has served on the boards of local agencies, including the AIDS Resource Center Ohio, the Catholic Education Collaborative, National Conference for Community and Justice, and Seton High School. Sister also is a regional and national lecturer and program designer on Faith, Spiritual Development, Ethics and Theological issues.
Pat Meadows, former executive director of the National Conference for Community and Justice, has known S. Carol for more than 10 years. She says, “[S. Carol’s] contributions to the Dayton community are immeasurable. She has supported so many organizations so very well. She is the person everyone wanted on their board. Her commitment to social justice, fairness and respect for everyone make her such a remarkable person.”
Sifferlen added, “S. Carol is a doer. She has very strong beliefs and she pushes very hard for what she thinks needs to be accomplished – at the hospital and in the community,” he said. “She is always a team player, which is why I loved working with her. The end result might not end up the way she wanted (however, oftentimes it did), but she was still on board and part of the team and went forward with 100 percent commitment.”
S. Carol’s compassion, decision making and critical thinking are admired by many. She is known for her sense of humor, her wisdom – and her determination. Sifferlen fondly remembers that tenacity as he recalls S. Carol’s involvement in the conception and completion of the Good Samaritan statue outside the front doors of the hospital.
“She wanted to have this new sculpture in the front of the hospital to remind patrons of what they need to do with their lives,” he said. “If it wasn’t for her commitment and work, the statue wouldn’t be there. S. Carol epitomizes the Good Samaritan in the way she lives her life. I think of what she has done – for the hospital, the community and the people of Dayton, and she expects nothing in return. She is an inspiration to all of us.”