GIRARD — Ruth Duling has worked at Girard Medical Center for 22 years, and September 1 she will take over as chief executive officer.

Duling currently serves as the GMC director of patient financial services, and has for several years. She began work at the hospital in 1995 after moving from the Kansas City area, but her connection to Girard and GMC go back further than that.

“I actually worked here as a candy striper when I was 14 or 15,” Duling said. “Barbara Lohmeyer was the administrator then.”

Lohmeyer was the first female chief administrator of GMC — hired in 1958. Duling will soon take up the similar role.

Duling came to Girard in 1969, when her father accepted a superintendent position with Girard school district. She graduated from Girard schools, then from Pittsburg State University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

She and her husband, Dan, lived in the Kansas City area for 9 years. Her husband taught elementary school in Olathe, and she worked at Hallmark Cards. They had three children while living there.

When Duling returned, she began working at GMC in a number of different roles before settling into the director of patient financial services position.

She said growing up the community will benefit her as she steps into her new role as CEO.

“When you are raised in the community, you have a lot of experience with local business, local organizations, local people,” she said. “It’s great to have those connections.”

Those connections can tie a hospital to the community, something Duling — and GMC as a whole — is passionate about.

“My main goal is to continue our commitment to the area,” she said. “Figuring out what services the community wants and needs, and making sure they have access to those services.”

GMC recently began offering cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services. Duling said continuing to add services keeps patients in the community from having to travel or endure extra stress to receive health care.

“I want GMC to continue to be the first source of care for Girard and the community,” she said. “To do that, we’ll keep bringing new, better services to GMC.”

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at choener@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.