Carolina Caring is saddened by the passing of David B. Clarke, former CEO of Catawba Regional Hospice, now Carolina Caring. Clarke leaves a legacy of generosity and servant leadership that will continue to profoundly impact the organization and community for years to come.
Clarke devoted a large part of his career to raising the profile of hospice and palliative care knowing that the benefits of these services are often underutilized by many who need them. By distinguishing himself as a forward-thinking executive, he successfully integrated hospice education into the local healthcare landscape while growing Catawba Regional Hospice exponentially during his tenure.
Clarke’s leadership style built strong, resilient teams and an organizational culture that provided exceptional care and consistently gave more than expected. Following his retirement in 2019, Carolina Caring established the David B. Clarke Service Before Self Award, which is given annually to an employee who exemplifies trust, integrity and excellence in their work.
“Dave Clarke was a visionary, a trailblazer and a friend who paved the way for the success of our organization,” says Dave Cook, Carolina Caring President and CEO. “I often reflect on his transformational leadership style that created a culture of highly engaged, mission-driven healthcare workers who continue to drive our growth as we evolve as a regional leader in serious illness care. We would not be where we are today without him, and his legacy will continue to inspire our work and our mission for many years to come."
Clarke’s interest in healthcare was sparked in the U.S. Army’s Medical Service Corps and his assignment to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. Upon completion of his military service, he attended the University of Minnesota’s prestigious Master’s in Health Administration program. Following graduation, Clarke worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina as Director of Provider Reimbursement.
After 10 years with BCBSNC, Clarke joined Coastal Healthcare Group as Executive Vice President of Business Development. During his 13 years there, the physician management organization experienced dramatic growth across the United States, resulting in impressive revenue growth from $8 million to over $800 million, which piqued his enthusiasm for entrepreneurship. Clarke brought this energy to hospice care, with a dream that hospice organizations may someday work together to achieve best practices and improve patient outcomes – a dream that was realized in what is now the Teleios Collaborative Network, a think tank of innovators in the field of hospice and palliative medicine.
“Dave Clarke was indeed a visionary who had a unique sense of timing,” adds Chris Comeaux, President and CEO of Teleios Collaborative Network (TCN). “He had a sense of urgency that helped to quickly launch TCN and gain its position as a national leader in not-for-profit hospice and palliative care programs. We would not be here without Dave’s vision and leadership. He was a good man and will be greatly missed by all of us at TCN – especially the founding group of employees who worked alongside him.”
In 2001, Clarke was honored with the Peter G. Keese Award for outstanding leadership achievements from the Carolinas Center for Hospice and End of Life Care. He served on the Board of Directors for the Carolinas Center from 2001-06 and 2008-13 and served as its treasurer from 2003-05. Clarke also served on the Board of Directors for PACE@Home, a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, which he was inspired to create. He launched the program in 2012 with the help of Lutheran Services of the Carolinas, Catawba Valley Medical Center and Adult Life Programs. Clarke was also a member of the Newton-Conover Rotary Club and recipient of the Rotary Foundation’s Paul Harris Award.
Carolina Caring, founded in 1979, is an independent, community-based, nonprofit healthcare provider. It specializes in programs that offer relief from chronic conditions, serious illnesses, and the challenges they bring, including palliative medicine, hospice care, and grief counseling. Currently, Carolina Caring serves 12-counties across western North Carolina and the Piedmont. For more information about Carolina Caring, please call 828.466.0466 or visit www.CarolinaCaring.org.
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