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It’s been 27 years since Dr. Yvonne Culpepper, also known as YC, fell in love with Hendricks Regional Health. Through that time, she’s taken on leadership roles that have helped to not only grow the quality of care that the healthcare organization offers but also to expand its facilities.

Now she’s helping wrap up her largest project to date. Hendricks Regional Health Brownsburg Hospital is expected to open in December.

“Being a longtime resident of Brownsburg, Yvonne helped us to understand what healthcare services the town needed,” said Kevin Speer, Hendricks Regional Health president and CEO. “When we made the decision to expand Hendricks Regional Health’s services in the growing community, she was instrumental in helping with our expansion strategy. Not only was her insight valuable, she also led the building’s planning and operation efforts. Yvonne’s mark is evident in every aspect of our new Brownsburg Hospital and I am very thankful for this.”

Culpepper, who is originally from Crown Point, has lived in Brownsburg going on 39 years with her husband, Allen. Her three children and four grandchildren also reside in Hendricks County.

She earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Indiana University Bloomington, finishing up her clinical at Methodist Hospital, downtown Indianapolis. She worked with Methodist for 15 years, eight years in dialysis and transplant and seven in the trauma unit. As she was completing her Masters of Science and Nursing through IU, she again had to choose a location to complete her clinical.

“Methodist at the time was such a large hospital,” she said. “I was in leadership there. I said I wanted to go to a community hospital, someplace with a low turnover and low vacancy rate. I was told to go to Hendricks. I said, ‘Hendricks? I live in Brownsburg and have never been west of 267.’”

She decided to give Hendricks Regional Health a try.

“I was pleasantly surprised, the best-kept secret on the Westside of Indianapolis as they say.  I found out that the technology and quality were as good as, if not better than, downtown,” Culpepper said.

She returned to Methodist, but after reading about an opening at Hendricks Regional Health, she applied. She came in as the vice president of nursing, now called chief nursing officer, in 1990. She later earned her Ph.D. from Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN).

“Who would have thought that you start out in nursing and you take care of patients day in and day out, that you end up doing this?” she said, “I was always the one that talked at the staff meetings and when leadership positions became open, they said ‘you do it.’ I would step up to the plate. I found out that was my passion. I truly enjoy taking care of patients through other people and through staff.”

Of the projects she’s had a hand in, is when Hendricks Regional Health in 2010 added approximately 100,000 square feet to the Northwest side to the hospital in (WHICH)  hospital which included a new surgical floor, cafeteria and operating rooms. Her largest project, though, is still ongoing.

Hendricks Regional Health leaders began talking about the need for services in Brownsburg.

“Living in Hendricks County, but particularly in Brownsburg, there wasn’t a lot of primary care services as well as immediate care and an ED,” Culpepper said. “Today, it’s growing up and we have a couple of folks competing with us, but when we started it, this was untapped. I believe the community can benefit from it. They need it. Today, people don’t want to drive, They want to get their services close to home.”

The board approved the project in March 2016 and held a groundbreaking on the 9.2-acre lot in April. Culpepper has spent her time attending many facility meetings, and now weekly operational meetings, while the building is under construction.

“My job is easy,” she said. “I can oversee things. I have great people that work with Hendricks; they’re the movers, they’re the pushers. People looked at their own areas, what they needed, and they took care of it. I just coordinate. I can’t thank enough all of the people who have been involved. Without good people, it wouldn’t have been done.”

What started as an idea to construct an ambulance-only facility turned into much more. The new 100,000 square-foot hospital will employ 100  people and include immediate care, lab, radiology, cardiac rehab, an inpatient medical unit, doctors’ offices, women’s center, New Live Associates, rehab services and more.

The organization has kept the community involved throughout the process, including the naming of the hospital.

“We did do focus groups to figure out what is that Hendricks County folks want to see?” Culpepper said. “We used a lot of their suggestions. The one I laugh the most about is the name of this. We started off as the Brownsburg Ambulatory Care Center. As we went along and decided to make it a hospital, I said you can’t say ambulatory care center. We were given the task of coming up with a name. A few of us sat around the table and After about two and a half hours, we couldn’t think of a name. We said let’s let the community name it. It had to be fast. It was sent to marketing and 150-some phone calls put out to people who live in this community. They came up with Hendricks Regional Health – Brownsburg Hospital.”

Culpepper said she couldn’t be prouder of the project that will soon open in her own hometown. While she’ll spend some time there upon its opening, her workload won’t cease. The board of directors recently approved a large project on the main campus, adding IV therapy, wound and endoscopy. They also just received the bids to expand two operating rooms.

“Futuristically, we need some surgical services here,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll finish this project and look at how we can grow the Brownsburg facility here. I think it’s just the beginning.”

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