New Bozeman Deaconess Health Group VP
Chris Darnell left sunny South Carolina to become the new Bozeman Deaconess
Health Group vice president during the coldest week yet of winter, but
the weather hasn’t chilled his enthusiasm for the new job.
“Everyone has been so warm in welcoming me,” Darnell said.
“I am impressed with the talent, teamwork and commitment of the
staff and pro-
viders, and by the mission-oriented, community-based focus of the
A native of Virginia, Darnell spent the past 15 years in Charleston, SC,
primarily at the Medical University of South Carolina. His roles ranged
from coordinator to director to administrator, and most of his experience
involved working with physicians and managing practices. He also held
an administrative fellowship and earned his master’s and doctorate
in health administration.
He then moved to East Cooper Medical Center also in the Charleston area,
where he served as vice president for strategy and development, leading
strategic planning and developing the physician network among other endeavors.
“I like the focus here of taking care of the community and improving
health,” Darnell said. “My wife and I were looking for the
right career opportunity, a smaller community with cultural offerings,
and a better work/life balance, since we have two young
children. And I love the outdoors and skiing.”
At BDHG, Darnell will focus on integration and leading the Health Group
to become a stronger, more unified group practice, rather than multiple
independent clinics under one umbrella, while meeting the needs of the
community in terms of access and availability to quality care. “This
is an opportunity for me to work with others to impact change and make
a difference,” he said.
Darnell studied economics as an undergraduate where upon graduating he
saw two options for work: health care or “making a lot of money.
I started as a stockbroker, but wasn’t a good salesman,” Darnell
laughed. “I realized, at the end of the day, there isn’t a
more important service than healthcare. If you don’t have your health,
you have nothing.”