New CEO coming to Eastern State Hospital next month

Eastern State Hospital will have a new leader next month after being without a permanent chief executive for five months.

Dorothy L. Sawyer will take over the reins at the state mental hospital in Medical Lake on Aug. 19, according to a news release from the Department of Social and Health Services. She was previously the CEO of Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, Ariz., for less than two years.

Sawyer’s undergraduate and graduate nursing degrees are from Eastern Washington University, and she served in clinical positions in Spokane before moving to hospital administrative posts in Colorado and Arizona.

Sawyer’s coming follows a period of upheaval at Eastern, one of two state mental hospitals in Washington. The previous CEO, Connie Wilmot, left in March for another post within DSHS.

Wilmot’s departure came a few months after one patient is believed to have strangled another last November and the hospital’s accreditation was briefly suspended.

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