An opportunity to live and work closer to family has led Tim Bowen, president of INTEGRIS Grove Hospital, to accept a position in Arkansas.

Bowen, who became INTEGRIS Grove's president on Jan. 5, 2015, will leave, effective Friday, Sept. 8, to accept a position with Baptist Health in Little Rock, Arkansas.

With Baptist Health, Bowen will serve as president for the Conway, Arkansas hospital.

Bowen, who came to INTEGRIS Grove after serving as CEO of Mena Regional Health Systems in Mena, Arkansas, said he was not looking for a job change.

He said officials with Baptist Health approached him several times about considering a move back to Arkansas.

Bowen, who completed clinicals and undergraduate work with the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, said the move, while unexpected, is a good fit for both himself and his family.

"I know the system well, and I know the community well," Bowen said, adding the Conway hospital has been open for one year. "I'll be doing the same role, but I'll be closer to family."

Bowen and his wife Natalie have one son, Brody. They are expecting their second child, a daughter, in January.

This will be the first girl born in the Bowen family in 43 years, something Bowen said, has already caused great excitement within both sides of the family.

The couple, who met while attending high school in Glenwood, Arkansas, have family within the Hot Springs, Arkansas region.

"There's a lot of similarities between Baptist Health and INTEGRIS," Bowen said. "It was a tough decision, because the INTEGRIS Grove medical community is so awesome. I could not have asked for a better job."

Bowen said he and Natalie spent time talking and praying about the decision before making it final.

"We felt like God opened up so many doors, that this was an opportunity [to] be explored," Bowen said. "Natalie and I both love Grove and the Grand Lake area, and we have made close friends here.

"We have enjoyed being a part of this community; we love the schools, our church and of course, our hospital. We felt like Grove was our home and we had no plans to move."

Bowen said he will miss the lake and the people.

"I've just really fallen in love with the people," he said. "We found ourselves not leaving on the weekend, but rather staying here. This is a great place to raise a family.

"We'll be coming back, we have a lot of close friends. We'll come back here to vacation."

What's next

For now, Chris Hammes, executive vice president and chief operating officer for INTEGRIS Health, will serve as the interim president. In 2014, Hammes served in a similar role as the hospital administration transitioned from the leadership of Greg Martin to Bowen.

Bowen said at least one candidate has come to Grove, to visit with the various stakeholders in the hospital - including medical staff, the hospital board of directors and the foundation board. He anticipates at least two other candidates will make similar visits.

"They are hoping to have a decision within the next 30 days," Bowen said. "We've had a great candidate pool, because this is a very attractive job."

Bowen said while the hiring process is taking place in Oklahoma City, he is confident the next person to lead INTEGRIS Grove will not only experience in rural health care, but be someone that is good for the community.

He believes the hospital is in a position to continue to move forward, with growth and development.

Bowen said he is most proud of the culture, which has continued under his leadership, saying it was only possible due to a strong team of hospital employees.

"We have a very engaged workforce and medical staff," Bowen said. "From top to bottom, everyone wants to see the facility succeed."

Bowen said INTEGRIS Grove is different from most rural hospital facilities, because of the progressive medical staff and the foundation board's philanthropic activities. 

Bowen is looking forward to the challenges presented within the new position, including building new relationships with the staff and the medical team.

"It's a bigger community, with more challenges," Bowen said, adding he knows the team at INTEGRIS Grove will continue to move forward with success.

"We have a lot of strong leaders in place," Bowen said. "It's not going to miss a beat, as it moves forward.

"They will make sure whoever comes in will fit with the culture and the successes will continue [as things] move forward."