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HUEWE, Helen

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Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald

HUEWE, Helen. (Remsen, IA, Oct. 1, 1935 --- ). Hospital administrator. In 2009 Sister Helen Huewe, OSF received the FIRST CITIZEN AWARD from the TELEGRAPH HERALD. In its article accompanying the award, the newspaper cited her leading role in "initiatives to improve the lives of Dubuque's most vulnerable residents--its poor, ill and the forgotten.

Sister Huewe's mother came from Dubuque and her grandparents lived on a farm near Holy Cross. One of her aunts was a Franciscan sister, and Huewe entered the Dubuque Franciscian Sisters in 1955. While training as a nurse, Huewe decided to enter religious life and joined the Sisters of Saint Francis. After receiving her nursing degree from St. Ambrose College and Mercy Hospital, Davenport, in 1961, she worked as a nurse at XAVIER HOSPITAL in Dubuque.

In 1968 with a master's degree in hospital administration, Huewe worked as an administrator at Xavier and then practiced nursing with the VISITING NURSE ASSOCIATION in Dubuque and with University Hospitals in Iowa City. She returned to Xavier in 1982 as the head nurse of the surgical unit.

When Xavier and Mercy consolidated, she was asked to take the administrative position of vice president of professional services. Huewe was named interim president of MERCY HEALTH CENTER in 1986 and was soon appointed president and chief executive officer. In November, 1996, she announced her retirement for October, 1997.

Plans to provide transitional housing for women started in the fall of 1997. Sister Huewe was hired in 1998 as the program initiator for the program known as Opening Doors. In this role, she investigated other Iowa shelters and worked to find a place or the program. The latter was settled when she found St. Mary's convent. This became Maria House which opened on September 25, 2000. Theresa Shelter, temporary housing for homeless women, was opened in May 2006.

Efforts to establish a federally funded community health center had failed for years. Such locations offered a medical and dental center for uninsured and underinsured residents. According to other community leaders, Sister Huewe scheduled the first meeting that led to the formation of the CRESCENT COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER. She has also been involved with Step By Step, a program to provide housing for persons with disabilities related to mobility.

In 2009 Sister Huewe was also a member of the Stonehill Franciscan Services Board of Directors and the building committee for Mount St. Francis. The SISTERS OF THE THIRD ORDER OF ST. FRANCIS OF THE HOLY FAMILY (OSF) plan to construct a modern, energy-efficient, well-planned complex to replace its fifty-year old infirmary, Holy Family Hall. She was a member of the LORAS COLLEGE Board of Regents, Project Concern Board o Directors, and former board of trustees chairwoman of the Iowa Hospital Association and the Iowa Health Reform Council.