Health care executive passionate about making a difference

January 16, 2024

Angela Mortoza

Health care has always been a family affair for Angela Mortoza, CEO of Dallas County Hospital.

“At first I thought I was going to be a teacher and I went to the College of Saint Mary in Omaha,” she said. But after the first semester, Mortoza did some soul searching.

A native of Perry who attended St. Patrick Church and School, she watched her grandmother, Buelah Aeck, serve as a nurse at the hospital, and her mother, Suzanne Hollar, work as a respiratory therapist there.

“Nursing was still a giving type of profession – that’s what I wanted to do with teaching. That’s how I ended up going to Mercy School of Nursing,” Mortoza explained.

After receiving an Associate of Science in Nursing, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2005 at Mercy College of Health Sciences. She spent 21 years at the bedside of patients in the medical-surgical unit and then the neonatal intensive care unit at MercyOne in Des Moines, eventually managing the pediatric emergency department.

 What brought her joy was getting to know her patients.

She has always tried to put one of her loved ones in the shoes of her patients. Spending time with them, getting to know them and helping them was rewarding. “It was a nice connection to be able to make. I’m a people person, so making connections was something I enjoyed.”

Making a difference
Over time, Mortoza wanted to continue her education and work in a critical access hospital, which typically serves rural communities and is smaller. She pursued her Master of Science in Health Care Administration at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, graduating in 2010.

She served first as CEO at Adair County Health System in Greenfield, and joined Dallas County Hospital in 2016.

“I wanted to be able to make a difference for patients and for staff and be an administrator that gets to know people on a personal level,” Mortoza said. “I think that’s what drew me to a smaller hospital – just being able to give back to my profession but also be in more of a supportive role.”

Returning to Perry has brought back a lot of memories for Mortoza as she reconnects with people she knew at Perry High School. It’s important to her that they are getting great care at Dallas County Hospital and that her knowledge of the community enables her to find the resources they need.

Health care a ‘natural’
Mortoza has been married to her husband, Rick, for 33 years and they have four children. The family affair with health care continues with Rick, who also graduated from Mercy, as did their eldest daughter, Alexandra McCombs. Rick works at Mercy as a house supervisor on the night shift, while Alexandra is a cardiac quality control coordinator at Mercy Iowa Heart Center.

They also have a son, Joseph, and twins Tori and Nick. Tori is going to nursing school in Oklahoma and interested in geriatrics.
The Mortozas live in Winterset and are members of St. Joseph Parish. Her mother lives with them.

“When I moved there, I became part of a really great church family and currently that’s still my support,” Angela said.

“I’m passionate about nursing and I think it’s a great career, just because you can do so many things with it,” she explained. Mortoza looks forward to exploring some other roles (hospice volunteer, rocking babies in the NICU, respite care) when it’s time for the next chapter.