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Free clinic names new director

The Board of Directors of Western Tidewater Free Clinic announced a new executive director on Thursday.

Rhonda A. Stewart will officially join the clinic on March 15, according to a press release from the clinic. She is familiar with the clinic and the community, having previously served as executive director at The Village at Woods Edge in Franklin from 2008 to 2016 and served on the WTFC board of directors from 2011 to 2013.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am delighted to welcome Rhonda onboard,” board chair Charlie Broadwater stated in the press release. “We value her deep commitment to our vision of a healthy community where all our neighbors have access to high-quality health care. The board knows Rhonda is well qualified to lead the Clinic team while ensuring continued strong community relationships.”

Stewart graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of North Alabama, received her Master in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee, and will finish her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Northern Kentucky University this year. She previously worked at a Tennessee hospital and medical center before moving to Franklin to lead The Village at Woods Edge.

After she and her husband relocated to Kentucky, Rhonda worked at University of Kentucky Healthcare for the last four years in perioperative services, working her way up to perioperative services service line manager from charge nurse. Most recently at UK Healthcare, she led the initiative to develop the COVID leader team to support care of COVID-19 positive patients in the perioperative setting working with the interdisciplinary team.

“I am thrilled to join this dedicated and passionate WTFC team,” Stewart stated in the press release. “I am truly honored to help them improve the health of the communities we serve and grateful for the support of our community partners who invest in the Clinic’s mission and vision.”

The clinic staff and community volunteers care for an average of 1,400 patients per year. Patients at the clinic live in Suffolk, Franklin, or Isle of Wight, Southampton, Surry or Sussex counties; are age 18 or older; have no health or dental insurance and are not eligible for Medicare or VA benefits; and live at or below 300% of the federal poverty level.

Stewart and her husband, Steve, will be relocating locally prior to her officially joining the clinic team March 15 to begin transitioning with retiring Executive Director Chet Hart.

Steve Stewart is the publisher and principal owner of The Smithfield Times and a senior vice president of Boone Newspapers Inc., with which The Smithfield Times, the Suffolk News-Herald, The Tidewater News and the Windsor Weekly are affiliated.