Nichols Announces Retirement From CMC/DHK; Caruso Named CEO

August 11th, 2015

After serving the health care needs of Keene and the Monadnock region for nearly 30 years, Arthur W. Nichols has announced his retirement as CEO and President of Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene (CMC/DHK.)

Nichols, who has served as CEO and president for the past 11 years, has stepped down as CEO and will formally retire as president on October 31, 2015. CMC/DHK Medical Director Don Caruso, MD, MPH, who has served the Keene area for more than 20 years, including in the Office of the President, is now the CEO and will assume the duties of president on November 1, 2015.

“When Art informed us in May of his intent to retire, the Executive Committee began an intense, deliberative process which included succession planning,” said CMC/DHK Board of Trustees Chair Sylvia McBeth. “As we considered the challenges ahead, the many changes in the health care environment, and our closer affiliation with Dartmouth-Hitchcock, we realized we needed to look no further than the Office of the President. Don Caruso is a well-known colleague and leader. He understands the strategic direction of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock system, and he has the confidence and support of not only the Board, but of Dartmouth-Hitchcock leadership.”

Nichols joined Cheshire Medical Center in 1988. He has served as a trustee on several community boards including the Keene Family YMCA, the Monadnock United Way, the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, and as chair of the Monadnock Economic Development Corporation. Nichols currently serves as a board member of the NH Hospital Association, and is the immediate past chair. He also served as chair of the board of Voluntary Hospitals of America, New England. Nichols represented New Hampshire on the American Hospital Association's, Regional Policy Board (Region 1), and is also a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. Nichols was also appointed by Governor John Lynch in 2005 to New Hampshire’s Judicial Selection Commission, serving three terms until 2014.

“The most rewarding aspect of my years here has been the opportunity to work with so many talented, engaged, and dedicated people,” noted Nichols. “Clinicians, nurses, support staff, and others who work hard to provide the best and safest care possible for the citizens of the Monadnock Region.”

“Art has been a strong advocate for the patients and families of the Monadnock Region, and he has been a terrific partner as we develop our sustainable health system, improving the lives of the people and communities we serve, for generations to come,” said Dartmouth-Hitchcock CEO and President Dr. James N. Weinstein. “I wish Art well as he moves on to the next phase of his career.

“I’m also delighted with Don’s appointment as CEO and, soon, as president,” Weinstein continued. “Cheshire has been strongly aligned with, and is a nationally recognized leader in, population health, and the Healthy Monadnock 2020 initiative has defined CMC/DHK’s relationship with the community. I look forward to our continuing partnership, with Don leading the CMC/DHK campus.”

Caruso, who has served as Medical Director at CMC/DHK in the Office of the President since 2011, served as Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at DHK from 1993-2005 and as Associate Medical Director from 2005 until his appointment as Medical Director. Concurrently, he served as Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Physician Champion of Electronic Medical Records, Medical Director of MedicalHome Clinical Performance, and Co-Medical Director of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Regional Primary Care Collaborative.

“We are all grateful to Art for his leadership and all he has done for our patients, employees and community,” said Caruso. “His leadership has driven Cheshire Medical Center to be the nationally recognized healthcare organization that it is today. I am honored by this appointment and look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues as we take on the opportunities ahead.”

Caruso was Chair of the Vision 2020 Steering Committee dedicated to making Cheshire County the healthiest community in the nation by the year 2020. Caruso was also leading Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Primary Care Service Line (PCSL) initiative, announced earlier this year. With Caruso’s appointment as CEO, Dartmouth-Hitchcock physician Dr. Lora Council, who has worked with Caruso on the PCSL project as associate medical director, will serve as interim lead while a search committee seeks a successor for Caruso.

He is also a frequent visitor to Haiti and leader of a medical team that provides care to some of the most disadvantaged and medically underserved people in the Western hemisphere.

Caruso received national recognition in 2003 as the Microsoft Physician of the Year for the implementation methodology he developed and used at D-HK for installing Allscripts electronic medical record technology into a multi-specialty physician group practice. The outcome of his work resulted in significantly enhanced workflow design for improvement of quality and staff efficiency.

Prior to coming to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene, Caruso cared for patients and served as Medical Director of Harrington Family Health Center in Harrington, Maine from 1987-91.

Caruso received his doctorate in medicine at New York Medical College and completed his residency at the University of Massachusetts Medical School's Fitchburg Family Medicine Residency program. He earned his Master's degree in Public Health from The Dartmouth Institute in June, 2011. He is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Academy of Physician Executives.

Cheshire Medical Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock have worked together since 1998, originally through a Joint Operating Agreement that involved Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene, a multi-specialty group practice that comprises the majority of Cheshire Medical Center’s medical staff. An affiliation agreement finalized in March, 2015, enables both organizations to more effectively pursue a common vision of the future of health care that is based on creating a sustainable health system, focusing on population health, delivering value-based care, and embracing the opportunities provided by new payment models.

About Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene

Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene is a nonprofit community hospital and clinic with a mission to lead our community to become the nation's healthiest through our clinical and service excellence, collaboration, and compassion for every patient, every time. Founded by CMC/DHK, Healthy Monadnock 2020 is a community-wide health initiative designed to actively engage the citizens of Cheshire County in the process of becoming the nation's healthiest community by 2020. Cheshire Medical Center is a Dartmouth-Hitchcock affiliate hospital. To learn more, call (603) 354-5400 or visit