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PR CONTACT: Frankie Gallagher
Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital
Phone: (831) 636-2644

CEO Ken Underwood Leaving Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital

Hollister, Calif. – January 24, 2020: At their regular meeting on January 23, 2020 The San Benito Health Care District Board of Directors (District) announced that after twenty years of successfully leading the District through many challenging periods Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital (HHMH) CEO, Ken Underwood will complete his duties in accordance with his employment agreement through the end of this fiscal year, June 30, 2020.

“With the pending approval of Critical Access Hospital designation, the Board determined it was an appropriate time to assign a new vision and direction with the hospital leadership. We thank Mr. Underwood for his dedication, integrity, and a commitment to advancing quality health care services in San Benito County and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” states Josie Sanchez, Board Chair, San Benito Health Care District.

While other area hospitals struggled, Underwood and his team progressively guided the District through the greatest growth period in its history–establishing, acquiring, and constructing facilities, clinics, and centers in over twenty new locations throughout the county. He directed the expansion and development of a new 18-bed modern emergency department, a state-of-the-art three story Women’s Center and women’s diagnostic imaging center, and the opening of the Barragan Family Diabetes Center—the first and only center of its kind in San Benito County.

Underwood states, “I want to thank this Board and all previous Boards for the distinct honor and privilege it has been to serve you, our staff and physicians, and our community for the past twenty years and I look forward to guiding a smooth transition. The District is stable and positioned well to continue to grow and enhance quality outcomes with our outstanding team of employees and clinicians. Hazel Hawkins will always remain treasured in my heart!”

Under his tenure, Underwood significantly improved access for all residents to local specialists, including the most underserved population, with the recruitment of over thirty new specialists to HHMH including two full-time endocrinologists, three full-time orthopedic surgeons, a neurologist, rheumatologist, pulmonologist, psychiatrist, cardiologist, infectious disease specialist, three surgeons, two obstetricians, a gastroenterologist, a hospitalist team, two pediatricians, and the addition of the Pediatrix Medical Group, a MEDNAX affiliate.

Through Underwood’s leadership HHMH made measurable improvements in hospital patient safety and clinical quality, receiving an “A” grade from the Leapfrog Group in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019. The District is also recognized for a 5 star Medicare skilled nursing facility and a 5 star home health agency.

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About Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital
Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital is a full-service, public agency hospital delivering modern medicine and compassionate care to the growing San Benito County community. HHMH offers hundreds of health services across multiple locations, including top-tier specialists, a modern Emergency Department, and a state-of-the-art Women’s Center. To learn more about Hazel Hawkins Hospital, please visit


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