3 added to Beaufort Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees


Above: Vernita F. Dore

From staff reports

A longtime Beaufort ophthalmologist, a Hilton Head Island attorney, and a former senior official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been appointed to the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees by Beaufort County Council.

Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Jane Kokinakis, D.O., owner of Beaufort Eye Center, and Vernita F. Dore, former USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development, joined the nine-member governing board this spring.

Jane Kokinakis D.O.

Kokinakis and Dore join Richardson LaBruce, another recent addition to the hospital board. LaBruce earned his B.A. from Davidson College in North Carolina and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Mississippi School of Law.

A native of Myrtle Beach, LaBruce is a partner with Hilton Head Island-based Finger, Melnik, Brooks & LaBruce, P.A., and is the former chairman of the Beaufort Housing Authority. He serves on the hospital’s governance and finance committees.

Kokinakis replaces Dr. Faith Polkey, a pediatrician with Beaufort-Jasper-Hampton Comprehensive Health Services.

A graduate of Michigan State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Kokinakis completed her residency in 2000 at Metropolitan Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She practiced four years in Pennsylvania and three in Michigan before moving to the Lowcountry. She also served six years on the board of the American Osteopathic Board of Ophthalmology & Otolaryngology, writing and administering written and oral board exams.

Richardson LaBruce

Dore replaces Andrea Allen, who served as secretary of the board of trustees. She brings more than 25 years of experience in the economic development of rural communities throughout the U.S. Most recently she served as USDA Deputy Under Secretary, helping increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural Americans by addressing the needs of communities in housing, water and environmental infrastructure, broadband and telecommunications.

A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Dore served as state director of USDA Rural Development. In this position, she was responsible for the administration and supervision of 42 programs offered by the USDA in 46 South Carolina counties. During her tenure, she significantly increased financing for economic development in the state from an average $340 million to more than $900 million annually. Over the years, Dore has received numerous awards and honors for her contributions and leadership.

Other members of the Beaufort Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees include chair David House, vice chair William “Bill” Himmelsbach, secretary Dr. Steve Larson, finance chair Kathryn McDonagh, BMH Chief of Staff Dr. Kurt Ellenberger and Dr. Eric Billig.

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