Servant Leaders in Action: Healthcare

Healthcare with a Solid Foundation


Dennis Shelby (BA '76) founded the Yuma Rehabilitation Hospital in Yuma, AZ, which operates in partnership with Healthsouth and Yuma Regional Medical Center. Shelby is currently the administrator and CEO. He facilitates and supports his staff at the 40-bed, acute care hospital so that they can more effectively carry out their responsibilities to their patients. However, Shelby's administrative abilities reach far beyond the borders of the hospital. Shelby is Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce, he serves on the Yuma Regional Medical Center Board of Directors, and has served in his church as a Sunday school teacher, deacon, and elder.

Hope provided a combination of social science and Bible courses that has enabled Shelby to work successfully with struggling patients. He reflects, "I have had to deal with patients and families who have experienced tragedy, death, and loss of health and my training at Hope provided me with the solid foundation upon which to build." Shelby has never forgotten the words of Hope's late president, Dr. Medford Jones, who always said "we are all ministers no matter what occupation we have selected," and continually claims this in his own life.

"Professors [at Hope] who made a profound impact on me were Gary Tiffin, Park Netting, Bob Pavelsky, John Rowe, and Paul McReynolds." Coming from a small high school, the prospects of facing a large university was somewhat daunting for Shelby. However, because of Hope's small environment, professors are able to focus their attention on a closer relationship with students, thus fostering a more effective learning atmosphere. Shelby is confident that because of this prime educational setting, he was better prepared to face the rigorous academia of graduate school and to obtain his Masters of Social Work.

Shelby also maintains contact with lifelong friends from Hope including Arvel Eicher (BA '76), John Sandusky (BA '76), Ed Carter (BA '77), and Hope'sown Vice President of Academic Affairs and current Dean of Pacific Christian College, Steve Edgington (BA '77). "I have been blessed by reconnecting with past classmates. and look forward to future reunions."

Shelby and his wife Judy now live in Yuma, Arizona. All members of his immediate family work in the healthcare and/or human services fields, which they strongly believe are not just occupations but continuing ministry as well. Judy works as a registered nurse in medical oncology. Their daughter Allison, who graduated from Hope in 2003, now works as the Assistant Program Director for New Life Ranch in Oklahoma, and daughter Lindsay is a Therapy Technician at Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Fayetteville, Arkansas.