There’s No Place Like Home, Alexandria

Carroll takes the helm at Inova Alexandria.

When Susan Turner Carroll, the recently named CEO of Inova Alexandria Hospital, says she is from Alexandria, she means it.

“We can trace our family back to the late 1700s,” said Carroll, who previously served as the vice president of the Inova Cancer Institute and the Inova Translational Medicine Institute. “My brothers, sisters, great aunts and uncles in their 90s — so many are still here. It really is a great community.”

Carroll took over as CEO in January, returning to lead the hospital she was born in 40 years ago.

“I’ve been very privileged to be able to move up the ranks in one health care system,” Carroll said. “Inova is a wonderful organization and has been very supportive of me.”

Carroll, who holds a masters in health management and a masters of business administration, is a strong advocate in cancer prevention and outreach and plans to continue those efforts in Alexandria.

“The big piece for me is looking at ways to redesign the hospital along strong service lines,” Carroll said. “We need to develop around what I believe are the three strongest needs: cardiac health, stroke and neurosciences and oncology.”

Carroll has been in healthcare management for 18 years and with Inova since 1998. She was on the executive management team at Inova Fairfax also held the position of chief operating officer at Inova Loudoun Hospital. In Alexandria, she replaced Christine Candio, who now leads St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, Mo.

“Christine called me as soon as she knew she was leaving to let me know she thought I would be a good fit to replace her,” Carroll said of her predecessor. “She has always been one of my mentors.”

In addition to building on the already strong women’s programs, Carroll hopes to shape the hospital and health systems around its patients.

“I want us to become a health care system that provides all stages of care, from prevention, treatment and after-care support,” Carroll said. “I want us to provide resources for the entire community, not just the patients that show up for treatment.”

Carroll’s father, James Turner, was a graduate of Hammond High School, and her mother, Patricia Ann Garvey, attended St. Mary’s Academy. Both her grandmother and great grandmother served on the hospital’s Board of Lady Managers.

“On any given day, I know someone or am related to someone getting treatment at the hospital,” she said with a laugh. “And my great aunt and grandmother don’t hesitate to remind me not to ‘mess up their hospital.’”

Carroll’s favorite story is when she was in her second week on the job and was approached by a 91-year-old woman.

“She was holding a picture of her mother and my great grandmother walking down Washington Street starting preschool together,” Carroll said. “The picture was taken around 1901.”

Among Carroll’s awards is the status of Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, the highest of certification given to healthcare leaders, and the 2012 Champion award by the National Cherry Blossom Breast Cancer Society. She and her husband Matt are the parents of two boys, Turner, 11, and Conner, 7.

“I am fortunate to be able to return to the very hospital where I was born,” Carroll said. “Not many CEOs can say that. But Inova Alexandria is a very special place. I plan to be here a very long time.”