Chief Medical Officer Darnell to Retire

Monday, August 19, 2019

Officials with Bon Secours Kentucky Health System have announced that OLBH Chief Medical Officer, John Darnell, MD, will retire effective February 15, 2020.

“While I am sad to know that a leader of Dr. Darnell’s caliber is leaving us, I’m pleased that his decision to retire will mean that he can spend more time with his wonderful family, including his wife, three children and eight grandchildren,” said Jason Asic, Interim President, Bon Secours Kentucky Health System. “Dr. Darnell will be transitioning his duties over the next six months and we will announce plans to fill his role in the new year.”

Darnell earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Louisville in 1980 and has been a beloved fixture in Ashland since 1983, serving first as a family practice physician for 27 years before taking on roles as a hospitalist, physician advisor and OLBH Chief Medical Officer. 

His many responsibilities at OLBH and Bon Secours Kentucky Health System include leadership of the Medical Staff Office; hospital-based physicians; Diabetes & Wound Care Center; Clinical Dietetics; ConnectCare; sleep, respiratory and neurology services; rehabilitation services; outpatient cardiopulmonary services; OLBH Pediatric Rehabilitation; Firm Fitness; laboratory; retail pharmacy;  Information Systems and Services and Kentucky GoodHelp ACO/Population Health.

Additionally, he served on the Bellefonte Physician Services Board of Directors and was the Research Accountable Executive for OLBH.

“His loss will be felt not only here in Ashland but also across the Bon Secours Mercy Health system, where he was a member of the Clinical Executive Management Team, Safety and Reliability Council, Acute Prioritization Council and IT Investment Council,” said Erin Fries, MD, Chief Clinical Officer, Bon Secours Mercy Health Mid-American Group.

During the course of his long and successful career, Darnell earned a number of honors, including Citizen Doctor of the Year 2004 and Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians Distinguished Service Award 2015, Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians. He also served as the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians President from 1997-1998.

Personally, he served 18 years as the Assistant District Administrator and District Administrator of Little League baseball for 3,500 boys and girls ages 5–18. He served as an assistant coach at Russell for boys basketball and was the team physician for Russell High School for 20 years. 

“We are grateful to Dr. Darnell for his many years of service, especially as he has divided his time between Ashland to serve as our Chief Medical Officer and Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, where his wife Brenda works,” added Asic. “We wish Dr. Darnell every happiness in this next phase of life.”