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Costopoulos taking new job with hospice

June 29, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

After more than 11 years at Washington County Hospital, John Costopoulos is leaving to become the executive director of Hospice of Washington County.

"I've always wanted the challenge of administering a clinical operation," Costopoulos said Monday. "I have a great deal of empathy and respect for people with such clinical skills."

With a staff of 20 to 30 people and about 80 volunteers, Hospice works with people who are facing terminal illnesses and with their families. The office is at 101 E. Baltimore St.

Costopoulos will begin his duties on July 27. He will leave his position as the hospital's director of planning and community relations on July 24.

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He succeeds Robert Rauch, who held the Hospice post for two years.

"We advertised widely for the position and got more than 50 applicants," said John Compton, who becomes chairman of the Hospice board of directors on Wednesday.

Compton said Costopoulos stood out from all those who applied.

"The executive director is the chief executive officer/manager of the daily operations of Hospice," Compton said. Costopoulos will head up the management of employees, resources, fund-raising and public relations.

"He will be the centerpiece of the operation," Compton said.

Neither Compton nor Costopoulos would divulge the executive director's salary.

Costopoulos will have a chance to work on the fund-raising aspect early on, since the organization's main annual event - Taste of the Town - is held in August.

Hospice, a United Way agency, received just over $39,000 in designations from the 1997 campaign, said Kathleen Hall, United Way executive director.

Additional funding comes from Medicare reimbursements and community support.

A native of Chicago, Costopoulos, 45, earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications and journalism from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Ill.

After a stint writing for a Greek-American newspaper in New York and as a stringer with a Southern Illinois newspaper, Costopoulos joined the public relations staff of the University of Chicago Hospital and Clinics.

Costopoulos had worked there earlier - as a janitor while he was going to school.

"They thought it was interesting that a janitor would come back and get a job there on the staff," Costopoulos said.

He moved to Washington County to take the job as the hospital's director of public relations and development.

"Washington County Hospital has offered me many challenges and rewards," Costopoulos said. "It's the best job I've ever had ... so far."

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