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October 10, 2022 / 2022 Power 25 Health Care

2022 Power 25 Health Care: Sonja LaBarbera

Photo | Contributed Sonja LaBarbera is Gaylord healthcare's new CEO and president.

As Gaylord Specialty Healthcare’s CEO, Sonja LaBarbera continues to oversee a multiyear, $10-million renovation of the rehabilitation hospital’s main Wallingford campus.

There have been other growth initiatives and milestones achieved in 2022.

They include the opening of Gaylord Physical Therapy in Madison; the expansion of the Gaylord Therapy Services outpatient clinic in North Haven; and the awarding in July of $4.5 million in state bond funds for a new electronic medical records system.

The new physical therapy offices in Madison include orthopedic physical, post-operative and aquatic therapies.

The outpatient clinic expansion in North Haven more than doubled treatment space, while also adding neurological therapy services.

And the state bond funding will help the hospital replace its 18-year-old electronic medical record system, allowing for “streamlined communications with referring hospitals and physicians and an expedited admission process for patients.”

LaBarbera oversees a staff of about 1,000 employees. The organization’s annual revenue is $91 million. The 137-bed Wallingford-based nonprofit hospital — which sits on a 400-acre campus — provides rehabilitation services for people who have been injured in traumatic accidents, suffered a stroke, or who are recovering from the long-term effects of COVID-19 or an acute illness.

LaBarbera began at Gaylord 17 years ago as director of inpatient therapy. Her background is as a speech language pathologist, and she rose through the ranks, serving as chief operating officer before her promotion in January 2019 to president and CEO.

Gaylord recently entered into a partnership with the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Hartford Hospital, and UConn Health to launch a residency program for rehabilitation physicians. The four-year program will support 16 residents annually at full enrollment.

LaBarbera received her master’s degree in organizational leadership from Quinnipiac University in 2013 and her master’s in speech pathology from the State University of New York at Fredonia in 1996.

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