Our New Chaplain Focuses on Faith and Health

Dianne Horton with PatientDianne Horton

Some people might think twice about following in the footsteps of a beloved employee who retired after 35 years.

That’s not the case with our new chaplain, Rev. Dianne Horton. A committee of nurses, physicians and clergy chose Dianne to succeed Rev. Lee Dukes and she has jumped on board with great enthusiasm.

Dianne says following in Lee’s footsteps won’t be easy because he accomplished so much during his tenure as our first chaplain. For example, he started the Employee Assistance Program and directed departments such as Social Services, Patient Relations and Volunteer Services over the years.

"But the bottom line for me is I’m here to care for people—the staff, patients and their families,” Dianne says. “It’s why I like being a chaplain. I get to do what I love to do."

Dianne came to us from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. She was chaplain of Transitional and Supportive Care Services, offering spiritual guidance to those often at the end of a health journey. Her specific chaplaincy interests are in adult behavioral health, palliative care and emergency care.

In addition to her work within the walls of Lexington Medical Center, Dianne has high hopes for inspiring inclusion and collaboration among congregations in Davidson County. She is working closely with FaithHealth Connectors June Britt and Sue Epley to engage churches and congregational volunteers. The FaithHealth program brings congregations and volunteers together to assist people in need before, during and after a hospital stay.

"I see the work of FaithHealth as a way to have a bridge, to come together to collaborate," Dianne says.

Dianne didn’t pursue ministry until her two children were well along in school. A native of Augusta, Ga., Dianne moved to Winston-Salem with her husband, George, in 1988 when he was relocated for his job in retail sales management. Several years later, while running her own day care business, she decided to obtain a college degree.

She started at Forsyth Technical Community College and completed her bachelor’s degree at Salem College. She was accepted into Wake Forest University School of Divinity, graduating in 2010, and performed her Clinical Pastoral Education training at Wake Forest Baptist.

She says chaplaincy brings together two important worlds: faith and health.

"Often in spiritual settings, we’ll talk about being whole. Your health is a part of that wholeness, right along with your faith," Dianne says. "To me, a hospital is a place that’s extending a good hand of faith."

“If the hospital is providing preventive care and screenings and keeping you well, that’s a total benefit all the way around. It’s what the hospital is there for. And it should work hand in hand with what the church is about—keeping you well.”

Please join me in welcoming Dianne to Lexington Medical Center. She has a great outlook on being a chaplain, as well as a new faith leader in our community.
 
Bill James
President