Lou Mastro subject of Naperville Sun CEO profile.
Linden Oaks' Mastro accustomed to leading
September 5, 2010
By DAVID SHAROS For Sun-Times Media
Mary Lou Mastro has worn a number of hats throughout her professional career. But the one she currently wears as CEO of Linden Oaks Hospital at Edward seems to suit her best.
Linden Oaks at Edward is a 101-bed behavioral health facility that uses a combination of inpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient and traditional outpatient programs to treat adolescents, adults and the elderly. The facility offers programs for anxiety disorders, chemical dependency, depression, eating disorders, geriatric conditions and self injury, as well as a full range of services for adolescents.
Currently living in Palos Park with her husband, and three children ages 16 to 23, Mastro, 56, was named CEO of Linden eight years ago. She began her medical career as a nurse, earning her Bachelor of Science degree from DePauw University in Indiana.
"I worked a year in Indianapolis, and then came back to Chicago and worked nine years at Rush in the critical care unit," she said. "I went on to get a master's degree during the day, and at night, I worked. I later went to Christ Community in Oak Lawn for a few years in critical care and taught in the intensive care unit. In 1988, I was recruited here to Edward, and we started up the cardio program."
Mastro went on to become the director of cardiac services and was a part of the evolution of the open heart surgery program which would eventually emerge at the hospital. Outpatient services were added and the hospital became one of the first to be licensed as a catheterization laboratory.
From 1999-2002, Mastro went on a sabbatical leave and then a phone call came, offering her the opportunity to move into her current position. The move is something she views pretty much the same as when she was working as a nurse in critical care. While heart medications, apparatus and treatment plans have changed, she still sees psychological care as being tied to physical care.
"There are studies that prove that when it comes to eating disorders, anxiety, depression and other issues, they are tied to physical things," she said. "We know that many of these disorders are physiologically based. Our job is still to help the patient get well, and as CEO, I have to make sure my staff has the physical and educational resources for patients to return to where they need to be."
Despite the current national uproar in health care, Mastro describes her work in the field as "fascinating" and one that constantly requires monitoring of public policy and community resources. She says she stays connected to the mainstream through her membership in a number of hospital associations and meetings with legislators. Here at home, her major thrust is to maintain, on a daily basis, the most positive environment at Linden Oaks that is possible.
"We've tried to go a great job here over the past eight years by adding things to our facility like a healing garden, art and pet therapy, and a cafeteria which doesn't have that institutional feel," she said. "I meet with all the new employees and tell them that every day when they get up and come to work, they have to treat each patient with compassion and dignity. Our vision is to work with the patient and the family."
As CEO, Mastro is also charged with providing a vision for the future, and for her, the goal "in an ideal world would be to have more resources and fewer beds.
"We need to see that these issues can be treated by having more resources at hand rather than people having to be hospitalized. Unlike the CEO of a corporation that makes things, or a big insurance firm where the CEO gets a bump in pay, our focus is to make money so we can reinvest it in patient care rather than a bonus check. That's just how I feel about it."
Naperville, Illinois (IL) - Edward Hospital and Health Services