Dr. Sandra Carna Rader

Dr. Sandra Rader

There are 40 UPMC hospitals in western Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York and two are now led by women from Lawrence County.

Dr. Sandra Carna-Rader, originally from Hillsville, was named president of the Presbyterian Shadyside Hospital campus in Pittsburgh last month. She will assume her new duties Jan. 1, and currently serves as the hospital’s chief operating officer. The 1979 Mohawk High School graduate joins New Castle’s Dr. Elizabeth Piccione as county natives leading hospitals after Piccione was named interim president at UPMC Jameson and Horizon hospitals earlier this fall.

“I deem it a privilege to do what we do,” Rader said. “I look forward to advancing the UPMC experience.”

She called UPMC “the best place for patients, the best place for employees to work and the best place for physicians to practice.”

Dr. Mark Sevco, current president of UPMC hospitals, said the ideal candidate for the job is Rader.

“I am proud to share that we didn’t have to look too far to find the ideal candidate to continue to elevate the UPMC experience and position UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside for continued success,” he said.

“Sandy has helped motivate, inspire, and move the needle on patient and employee experience for more than four years.”

After high school, Rader graduated from the Jameson School of Nursing in 1983 and worked at the New Castle hospital for two years before earning a nursing bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in 1989 and a master’s in administration from Notre Dame in 1994.

After that, she started in a series of administrative roles at UPMC Horizon in 1999 and first came to Shadyside in 2006 as the chief nursing officer. She received her doctorate in nursing from Chatham University in 2009 and teaches at the University of Pittsburgh. In 2015, she received their honorary alumni award.

Rader is married to her husband Mathew, and has two grown children, Ashley Motto and Christopher Rader. Rader’s twin sister, Susan Kirkwood, was a nurse and now works as a field manager for a dialysis company.

Rader credits her mother, Jean Carna, with encouraging both daughters to go into nursing. Rader said both her parents “instilled in us a strong work ethic”. Her father, now deceased, owned and operated the family’s concrete business, T.C. Redi-Mix, which is now run by another sister, Sherry Andrews.

Rader also thanked her hometown area.

“I want to give a huge thanks for a community with strong values,” she said, adding she goes home at least once a week.

Carna said she’s very proud of all her daughters.

“I know that Sandy will do well in this new position,” said Carna, 88, and a lifetime Hillsville resident. “She has always been caring and I knew that she would be successful. I am so very proud of her, but it is just amazing she could go so far. I am happy to be able to do some bragging on her.”

In August 2016, Rader’s role expanded to include leadership as chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services for UPMC Presbyterian and Shadyside. Four years later, she was promoted to the COO position, leading a team of 3,500 nurses and patient care associates.

Under Rader’s leadership, UPMC Shadyside achieved three consecutive Magnet designations in 2010, 2015, and 2020 and has obtained national recognition for several years on the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals Honor Roll.

Not only has Dr. Rader’s leadership skills garnered accolades at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, but she earned a seat at the table of numerous initiatives across the UPMC health system, in general. She has served as the “Executive Champion” for the UPMC Experience, providing leadership for patient and employee experience efforts across all UPMC.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rader has been on the hospital’s inpatient steering team, serving as a co-lead, coordinating efforts to ensure safety of patients and staff.

“None of us had anticipated a pandemic, we are developing this science as we go along,” she said.

Rader is also a past board member of the Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders, former president of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Organization of Nurse Leaders, a member of Chatham University’s board of trustees and serves of the boards of Beckwith Institute for Innovation, Family House, and Westminster College’s board of distinguished visitors.

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Selma Sanders-West is a reporter for the New Castle News. Email her at swest@ncnewsonline.com.

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