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The Top 25 Women Leaders in Healthcare — 2021

By | February 15 th,  2021 | Modern Healthcare, Blog, diversity, Top 25 Women Leaders in Healthcare | Add A Comment

 

MH-Top25-WomenLogo-2021

 

Furst Group and NuBrick Partners are proud to sponsor the Top 25 Women Leaders, the awards program created by Modern Healthcare. This is our 13th year of sponsoring the program, which culminates in an awards gala that will be hosted virtually on July 23, 2021 in conjunction with the Women Leaders in Healthcare Conference (July 22-23, 2021).

 

Please click here to read our interviews with previous honorees from the Top 25 awards programs.

 

2021 Top 25 Women Leaders in Healthcare 

Marjorie-Bessel

 

Dr. Marjorie Bessel,

Chief Clinical Officer, Banner Health

Tanya-Blackmon

 

Tanya Blackmon,

Executive Vice President, Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer, Novant Health

Odette-Bolano

 

Odette Bolano,

President and CEO, Saint Alphonsus Health System

Mary-Boosalis

 

Mary Boosalis,

President and CEO, Premier Health

Bonnie Castillo

 

Bonnie Castillo,

Executive Director,  National Nurses United

Dr. Priscilla Chan

 

Dr. Priscilla Chan,

Co-founder, Co-CEO, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

| View the Diversity Resource Library  
Marcy Doderer

 

Marcy Doderer,

President and CEO, Arkansas Children’s

Dr. Tamarah Duperval-Brownlee

 

Dr. Tamarah Duperval-Brownlee,

Senior Vice President and Chief Community Impact Officer, Ascension

Dr. Laura Forese

 

Dr. Laura Forese,

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, New York-Presbyterian

 

Tina Freese Decker

 

Tina Freese Decker,

President and CEO, Spectrum Health

 

Angela Hwang

 

Angela Hwang,

Group President, Pfizer Biopharmaceuticals Group

Catherine Jacobson

 

Catherine Jacobson,

President and CEO, Froedtert Health

Laura Kaiser

 

Laura Kaiser,

President and CEO, SSM Health Care

 

Read past profiles:

Laura Kaiser of SSM Health brings courage, conviction to questions around healthcare's future

Karen Lynch

 

Karen Lynch,

President and CEO, CVS Health

 

Read past profiles:

Diversity fuels Karen Lynch’s leadership at Aetna

Anne McCune

 

Anne McMune,

CEO,Carol Emmott Foundation

Dr. Rhonda Medows-1

 

Rhonda Medows,

CEO of Ayin Health Solutions, President of Population Health, Providence

Mikelle Moore

 

Mikelle Moore,

Senior Vice President and Chief Community Health Officer,  Intermountain Healthcare

| View the Diversity Resource Library  
Amy Perry

 

Amy Perry,

CEO, Hospital Division, Atlantic Health System

Mary Pittman

 

Mary Pittman,

President and CEO,Public Health Institute

Dr. Joanne Smith

 

Dr. Joanne Smith,

President and CEO, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab

Dr. Susan Turney

 

Dr. Susan Turney,

CEO, Marshfield Clinic Health System

Deborah Visconi

 

Deborah Visconi,

President and CEO, Bergen New Bridge Medical Center

Heather Wall

 

Heather Wall,

Chief Commercial Officer, Civica Rx

 Kate Walsh

 

Kate Walsh,

CEO,Boston Medical Center

Pat Wang

 

Pat Wang,

President and CEO, Healthfirst

 

 

2021 Luminaries 

 

Gail Boudreaux

 

Gail Boudreaux,

President and CEO, Anthem

Screen Shot 2021-02-15 at 10.43.28 AM

 

Dr. Laurie Glimcher,

President and CEO, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Nancy Howell Agee

 

Nancy Howell Agee,

President and CEO, Carilion Clinic

 

Read past profiles:

Sticking your neck out: Servant leadership in practice

Nancy Howell Agee and her team help rejuvenate a region with Carilion’s success

Beverly Malone 

Beverly Malone,

CEO, National League of Nursing

 

Read past profiles:

Healthcare’s volatility gives way to innovative leadership

Once a reluctant leader, Beverly Malone inspires countless nurses with skills that earned her a seat alongside royalty

 Dr. Penny Wheeler

 

Dr. Penny Wheeler,

CEO, Allina Health

 

Read past profiles:

Even in value-based care, leaders of varying backgrounds can thrive

   

 

 

2021 Women Leaders to Watch 

In addition, here are the 10 executives chosen as Women Leaders to Watch:

 

Dr. Mary Jo Cagle

 

Dr. Mary Jo Cagle,

Chief Operating Officer, Cone Health

Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips

 

Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips,

Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, Providence

Kizzmekia Corbett

 

Kizzmekia Corbett,

Research Fellow, National Institutes of Health

Patricia McClimon

 

Patricia McClimon,

Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Nationwide Children's Hospital

| View the Diversity Resource Library  
Kristin Myers

 

Kristin Myers,

Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Mount Sinai Health System

Dr. Claire Raab

 

Dr. Claire Rabb,

Senior Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, Temple University Health System

Dr. Debbie Salas-Lopez

 

Dr. Debbie Salas-Lopez,

Senior Vice President, Community and Population Health, Northwell Health

Roberta Schwartz

 

Roberta Schwartz,

Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer, CEO/Houston Methodist Hospital

Dr. Lacy Smith

 

Dr. Lacy Smith,

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Medical Officer, Cahaba Medical Care

Devon Valencia

 

Devon Valencia,

Chief Information Officer, CareSource

| View the Diversity Resource Library  

 

For more information, click here.

The Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare — 2020

By | February 17 th,  2020 | Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare, Modern Healthcare, Blog, diversity | Add A Comment

 

top25_minority leaders_RGB

 

Furst Group and NuBrick Partners are proud to sponsor the Top 25 Minority Leaders, the awards program created by Modern Healthcare. This is our 12th year of sponsoring the program, which culminates in an awards gala on August 13 in Chicago.

 

Please click here to read our interviews with previous honorees from the Top 25 awards programs.

 

2020 Top 25 Minority Leaders in Healthcare 

Jerome Adams

Dr. Jerome Adams,

U.S. Surgeon General, HHS

Debra Canales

Debra Canales,

Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Providence

 

Read past profiles:
Debra Canales strives to put people first in the mission of healthcare

Genevieve Caruncho-Simpson

Genevieve Caruncho-Simpson,

President and Chief Operating Officer, Texas Health Aetna

Augustine Choi

Dr. Augustine Choi,

Dean, Weill Cornell Medicine

Bechara Choucair

Dr. Bechara Choucair,

Senior Vice President and Chief Community Health Officer, Kaiser Permanente

Imelda Dacones

Dr. Imelda Dacones,

President and CEO, Northwest Permanente

Garth Graham

Garth Graham,

President, Aetna Foundation and Vice President, Community Health and Impact, CVS Health

Danielle Gray

Danielle Gray,

Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Audrey Gregory

Audrey Gregory,

CEO, Detroit Medical Center

 

Patrice Harris

Dr. Patrice Harris,

President, American Medical Association

 

Sachin Jain

Dr. Sachin Jain,

President and CEO, CareMore Health

 

Read past profiles:

The healthcare system is broken. Sachin Jain and colleagues want to help transform it

Transitioning to CEO? Self-awareness is Vital

Vivian Lee

Dr. Vivian Lee,

President of Health Platforms, Verily Life Sciences

Ana Pujols McKee

Dr. Ana Pujols McKee,

Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Joint Commission

 

Read past profile:
Quality, safety fuel Pujols McKee's drive at The Joint Commission

Rhonda Medows

Dr. Rhonda Medows,

CEO, Ayin Health Solutions and President of Population Health, Providence

Philip Ozuah

Dr. Philip Ozuah,

President and CEO, Montefiore Medicine

Ketul Patel

Ketul Patel,

President, Pacific Northwest Division, CommonSpirit Health and CEO, CHI Franciscan

Dennis Pullin

Dennis Pullin,

President and CEO, Virtua Health

Javier Rodriguez

Javier Rodriguez,

CEO, DaVita

Jaewon Ryu

Dr. Jaewon Ryu,

President and CEO, Geisinger Health

 

Read past profile:

Experiences build a strong leadership foundation for Jaewon Ryu

Ninfa Saunders

Ninfa Saunders,

CEO, Navicent Health

Thomas Sequist

Dr. Thomas Sequist,

Chief Quality and Safety Officer, Partners HealthCare

Rajesh Shrestha

Rajesh Shrestha,

Chief Operating Officer, Community-Based Care, Intermountain Healthcare and CEO, Castell

Nicole Thomas

Nicole Thomas,

Hospital President, Baptist Medical Center South

 Michael Ugwueke

Michael Ugwueke,

President and CEO, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

 

Read past profile:

Michael Ugwueke helps Methodist South turn around

Kimberlydawn Wisdom

Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom,

Senior Vice President of Community Health and Equity, and Chief Wellness and Diversity Officer, Henry Ford Health System

 

 

2020 Luminaries 

 

Lloyd Dean

Lloyd Dean,

CEO, CommonSpirit Health

 

Read past profile:
Dignity Health’s Lloyd Dean leads from experience and welcomes ‘healthcare for all’

Wright Lassiter III

Wright Lassiter III,

President and CEO, Henry Ford Health System

 

Read past profile:

In healthcare's new order, no time to bask in past success

Kevin Lofton

Kevin Lofton,

CEO, CommonSpirit Health

Beverly Malone 

Beverly Malone,

CEO, National League of Nursing

 

Read past profiles:

Healthcare’s volatility gives way to innovative leadership

Once a reluctant leader, Beverly Malone inspires countless nurses with skills that earned her a seat alongside royalty

 Eugene Woods

Eugene Woods,

President and CEO, Atrium Health

 

Read past profiles:

A template for change: Continual transformation is a must for leaders

Gene Woods' influential leadership poised to enhance Carolinas HealthCare System

 

Diverse leadership is key to solving health disparities

 

 

2020 Minority Leaders to Watch 

In addition, here are the 10 executives chosen as Minority Leaders to Watch:

 

Jandel Allen-Davis

Dr. Jandel Allen-Davis,

President and CEO, Craig Hospital

Miguel Benet

Dr. Miguel Benet,

Division Chief Medical Officer, Medical City Healthcare, North Texas Division of HCA Healthcare

Tamarah Duperval-Brownlee

Dr. Tamarah Duperval-Brownlee,

Senior Vice President and Chief Community Impact Officer, Ascension

Ahmed Haque

Ahmed Haque,

Senior Vice President of Network Performance and Strategy, Aledade

Barbara Johnson

Barbara Johnson,

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Premier Health

Angelleen Peters-Lewis

Angelleen Peters-Lewis,

Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nurse Executive, Barnes-Jewish Hospital

Stella Safo

Dr. Stella Safo,

Chief Clinical Transformation Officer and Vice President of Prospective Research, Premier

Airica Steed

Dr. Airica Steed,

System Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Sinai Health System

Cassandra Willis-Abner

Cassandra Willis-Abner,

Senior Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Experience Officer, Trinity Health

Nichole Wilson

Nichole Wilson,

Vice President of Retail Health Services, Community Health Network

 

For more information, click here.

Recap: 2019 Women Leaders in Healthcare Conference & Top 25 Women in Healthcare Gala

By | August 27 th,  2019 | Modern Healthcare, Blog, diversity, Top 25 Women in Healthcare, Women Leader in Healthcare Conference, MHWomen | Add A Comment

A recent Forbes article examines the Power of the Pack, highlighting that women who support women are more successful, “A woman alone has power; collectively, we have impact.” This impact was abundantly clear during this year’s Modern Healthcare Women Leaders in Healthcare Conference. To describe the collective of amazing women at this conference as inspirational doesn’t do it justice, so we thought we’d create a recap slideshow including some of our favorite insights and takeaways.


Thank you to all who attended and had the courage to share, speak up and raise their hands! Hopefully, we can all harness the energy and inspiration from this great conference and continue to motivate real change.

 

 



We’re positive we didn’t capture everything. What were your favorite takeaways and insights from the conference?

 

The Top 25 Women Leaders in Healthcare in 2019

By | February 18 th,  2019 | Modern Healthcare, Blog, diversity, Top 25 Women in Healthcare | 2 Comments

 

Top25-women-2019

 

Furst Group and NuBrick Partners are proud to sponsor the Top 25 Women in Healthcare, the awards program created by Modern Healthcare. This is our 11th year of sponsoring the program, which culminates in an awards gala on August 1 in Chicago.

 

Top25-Women-Faded 

Please click here to read our interviews with previous honorees from the Top 25 awards programs.

 

2019 Top 25 Women Leaders in Healthcare 

  • NANCY HOWELL AGEE, President/CEO, Carilion Clinic
  • MADELINE BELL, President/CEO, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • MARY BOOSALIS, President/CEO, Premier Health
  • DEBRA CANALES, Executive vice president/chief administrative officer, Providence St. Joseph Health
  • DR. MANDY COHEN, Secretary, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • TINA FREESE DECKER, President/CEO, Spectrum Health
  • CYNTHIA HUNDORFEAN, President/CEO, Allegheny Health Network
  • LAURA KAISER, President/CEO, SSM Health
  • DR. ANNE KLIBANSKI, Chief academic officer, Partners HealthCare
  • KATHY LANCASTER, Executive vice president/chief financial officer, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals
  • KAREN LYNCH, Executive vice president, CVS Health
  • PATRICIA MARYLAND, President/CEO, Ascension Healthcare
  • DR. BARBARA MCANENY, President, American Medical Association
  • DR. REDONDA MILLER, President, Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • DR. JANICE NEVIN, President/CEO, Christiana Care Health System
  • AMY PERRY, CEO, hospital division Atlantic Health System
  • CANDICE SAUNDERS, President/CEO, WellStar Health System
  • NINFA SAUNDERS, President/CEO, Navicent Health
  • DR. JOANNE SMITH, President/CEO, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
  • JOHNESE SPISSO, President, UCLA Health
  • PAULA STEINER, President/CEO, Health Care Service Corp.
  • PAMELA SUTTON-WALLACE, CEO, University of Virginia Medical Center
  • SUSAN SWEENEY, President/head, U.S. Commercial Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • SEEMA VERMA, Administrator CMS
  • ANDREA WALSH, President/CEO, HealthPartners

 

LUMINARIES

  • MARNA BORGSTROM, CEO, Yale New Haven Health
  • DR. JOANNE CONROY, President/CEO, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health
  • SUSAN DEVORE, President/CEO, Premier
  • JUDY FAULKNER, President/CEO, Epic Systems Corp.
  • SISTER CAROL KEEHAN, President/CEO, Catholic Health Association 

 

WOMEN TO WATCH

In addition, here are the 10 executives chosen as Women Leaders to Watch:

  • AMBER CAMBRON, President/CEO, BlueCare Tennessee
  • DR. LAURA FORESE, Executive vice president/chief operating officer, New York-Presbyterian
  • DR. REBEKAH GEE, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Health
  • DR. PATRICE HARRIS, President-elect, American Medical Association
  • SALLY HURT-DEITCH, Chief nursing officer, Tenet Healthcare Corp.
  • LYNN KRUTAK, Chief financial officer, Ballad Health
  • REBECCA MADSEN, Chief consumer officer, UnitedHealthcare
  • DR. RHONDA MEDOWS, Executive vice president of population health, Providence St. Joseph Health
  • MIKELLE MOORE, Senior vice president of community health, Intermountain Healthcare
  • HEATHER WALL, Chief commercial officer, Civica Rx

 

For more information, click here.

4 takeaways from NAHSE C-suite roundtable

By | July 17 th,  2018 | Healthcare, C-suite, healthcare executives, diversity, NAHSE | Add A Comment

Members and guests of the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE) got some candid advice on career and leadership development from a recent panel of industry executives at Northwestern University.

 

Panelists for “2018 C-Suite Roundtable-Lessons in Leadership” included:

  • Adrienne White-Faines, CEO, American Osteopathic Association
  • Barrett Hatches, CEO, Chicago Family Health Center
  • Donnica Austin-Cathey, Vice President of Operations, Acute Care Hospitals, Sinai Health System
  • Tim Page, CEO, Kindred Hospital

nahse-chi 

 

NAHSE Chicago President Philip Burton moderated the discussion, while the event was spearheaded by Tiara Muse, Director of Research for Furst Group and chair of NAHSE Chicago’s Planning Committee.

The C-suite executives offered four key takeaways for upwardly mobile healthcare leaders:

  • Hatches, who has a heavy travel schedule in leading a national association, said that being a CEO can be isolating at times, and that she is “thankful for a supportive spouse and friends.”
  • Austin-Cathey noted the decisions that women executives face throughout careers when they choose to have a family.

“There were opportunities presented to me, but I passed them up to be a mom,” she said. “Figure out what is most important for you.”

  • All of them reflected on their experiences with their boards, with Page noting that boards are keenly aware of the non-verbal messaging that executives convey.

“When you are confident, they will let you lead,” he said. “If not, they will manage you.”

  • Hatches reiterated a common them among healthcare leaders: the importance of mentors and sponsors.

“A mentor is someone you can choose,” he said. “A sponsor chooses you.” With senior leaders championing his candidacy for several promotions, it helped to accelerate his career in a big way, he said.

Several events are planned in the coming months by NAHSE Chicago, including a new member luncheon July 21 and “Addressing Healthcare Disparities Through Managed Care.” For details, visit www.nahsechicago.com  or contact Tiara Muse.

SreyRam Kuy's field guide to developing physician leaders and diverse teams

By | June 28 th,  2018 | diversity, physician leadership, SreyRam Kuy | Add A Comment

kuy-blog

One in a series of interviews with the top executives in healthcare


 

SreyRam Kuy wears two hats for the Department of Veterans Affairs. She is the associate chief of staff for the Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston and a senior advisor to the Secretary of the VA.

 

In an interview with Furst Group and NuBrick Partners as part of the 2018 Top 25 Minority Executives in healthcare awards program for Modern Healthcare, she explains how her background as a surgeon has been ideal training for becoming a leader. 

 

“When you have a trauma bay and are doing an emergency thoracotomy (cracking open the chest to access the heart)," she says, "you have nurses and technicians and anesthesiologists and the ER team and students and residents in play. Sometimes, there are even family members of the patient whom you’re trying to get out of the way. It’s definitely a master class in learning how to manage crisis.”

 

Kuy almost didn't get the chance to use her gifts. She was born in Cambodia's killing fields and was badly injured as a child when a rocket-propelled grenade hit her family's tent in a refugee camp. A volunteer American surgeon performed emergency surgery on both Kuy and her mother.

 

Kuy also credits three formal leadership programs in which she has participated as also being pivotal catalysts for her career:

  • Presidential Leadership Scholar (under the aegis of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton)
  • Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar
  • American College of Surgeons (ACS) Health Policy Scholar at Brandeis University’s Heller School of Management

The Presidential Scholar program in particular, she says, helped her during a stint as chief medical officer for Medicaid for the state of Louisiana. She learned how to build consensus and turned some of the biggest detractors of her policies into champions. By creating more diversity of thought and backgrounds you can gain a broader sense of the issue and gain more traction. 

 

“When you exclude people, there will be opposition," Kuy says. "But when you bring people into the fold, you give them an opportunity to use their talents. That’s how you engage people and drive initiatives that are successful.”

 

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To read the full article, click on the button above.

 

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NAHSE, Bluford events support diversity and inclusion

By | June 21 st,  2018 | diversity, leadership, inclusion | Add A Comment

 

NAHSE-Panel

Panelists discuss venture-capital investment at the NAHSE gathering.

 

Furst Group Principal Deanna Banks recently spoke at both the NAHSE CEO Conference and the Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute.

 

At the NAHSE gathering, leaders such as Gene Woods, CEO of Atrium Health, and Pam Sutton-Wallace, CEO of the University of Virginia Medical Center, recounted racially charged events in their cities where healthcare executives took the lead to bring understanding and healing to the community.

 

Banks took part in a session examining the need for private equity and venture capital investors to back diverse entrepreneurs.

 

Diversity is a strategic asset for organizations that find themselves leading the discussion in today’s tumultuous culture,” Banks says. “We had a very robust discussion with industry pioneers in innovation about how to attract the attention of venture capitalists.”

 

At the Bluford Institute, diverse leaders from throughout the U.S. healthcare industry speak to healthcare students from historically black colleges and universities about strategies for success in their chosen field. Banks joined leaders such as Woods, Henry Ford Health System CEO Wright Lassiter, CHI leader Kevin Lofton and Ascension CEO Pat Maryland as speakers. Banks counseled students on how to create their own personal brand as a platform for success. 

 

 

For additional resources and articles on diversity visit our Guide to Diversity and Inclusion.

 

Announcing the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare - 2018

By | February 26 th,  2018 | Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare, Modern Healthcare, Blog, diversity | Add A Comment

Modern Healthcare Top 25 Logo


Furst Group and NuBrick Partners are proud to sponsor the Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare, the awards program created by Modern Healthcare. This is our 10th year of sponsoring the program, which culminates in an awards gala on July 18 in Chicago.


Please click here to read our interviews with previous honorees in the two Top 25 awards programs promoting diversity.


2018 Top 25 Minority Executives

 

Click here to see the entire list and find articles and other resources.

 

Diversity fuels Karen Lynch’s leadership at Aetna

By | July 24 th,  2017 | Modern Healthcare, president, Aetna, Blog, diversity, Karen Lynch, meental health, Top 25 Women in Healthcare | 21 Comments

 

One in a series of interviews with Modern Healthcare's Top 25 Women in Healthcare for 2017. Furst Group and NuBrick Partners, which comprise the companies of MPI, sponsor the awards.

 

A commitment to diversity usually starts at the top of an organization, and Aetna President Karen Lynch is pleased that her employer is routinely recognized for the fact that its board is 40 percent female. But she knows there is more to be done.

 

“If you look at the studies that have been published, 73 percent of medical and health services managers in the U.S. are women, but only 4 percent of healthcare CEOs are women. So, clearly, we have some growth to move forward on,” she says.

 

But her thinking goes beyond gender diversity.

 

“When I think about diversity, it’s also about ethnic diversity. It’s about ‘Do we have diversity with veterans and LGBT and multigenerational, multicultural talent?’ I think there’s more to be done there as well.”

 

Make no mistake, though – Lynch is “quite proud” to be the first female president of Aetna.

 

“It’s such a great honor,” she says, but quickly adds, “As you can imagine, I didn’t get here by myself.”

 

Healthcare executives often talk about the importance of mentors and sponsors in their career. Lynch points to one from her childhood as a foundation for success in life – the aunt who raised Lynch and her three siblings after Lynch’s mom committed suicide. Lynch was 12 at the time.

 

“My aunt grew up in the Depression,” Lynch remembers. “Her parents came over from Poland. They were ailing, and she took care of them. She worked in a factory her entire life. Her husband passed away early on. She took care of her only son, and then she took on the responsibility of all four of us.”

 

Lynch says her aunt – and life itself – helped imbue her with resilience and a positive, constructive attitude. She says she met her father once, but does not regret his absence. “I think it’s made me the strong person I am today. I have a perspective of optimism, and the glass is always half-full.”

 

When Lynch was in her 20s, her aunt died from emphysema and breast and lung cancer, the result of heavy cigarette smoking. Nonetheless, her positive impact on Lynch had already been formed.

 

“My aunt was a very strong woman,” Lynch recalls. “She didn’t let anything get in her way. She instilled values in us like, ‘You can do anything that you set your mind to. And don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do anything.’ ”

 

Her influence is evident in Lynch’s career arc. And it was, in part, her aunt’s illness that led her ultimately to a career in healthcare after a stint as an auditor for Ernst + Young.

 

“I remember sitting in her hospital room thinking, ‘I don’t know what questions to ask the doctors. I don’t know what to do to care for her,’ ” Lynch says. “I’ve made it my life mission now to bring the services to individuals so they can answer those questions when someone’s in need. Or, better yet, how do we keep people healthy in the first place?”

 

Lynch leads by example in that vein. She is a lifelong runner, although she has added spinning to her regimen to ease the pounding on her knees.

 

“If I’m going to run a healthcare company and advocate health, it’s important for me to remain healthy.”

 

Lynch says her training at Ernst + Young prepared her for leadership in two ways.

 

“One important lesson I learned was how to be an effective communicator with people at all levels of an organization,” she says. “When you’re an auditor, you have to talk with the most senior leaders of an organization as well as the front-line people. I had to learn quickly how to adapt my communication style.”

 

She also learned how to take opportunities as they emerged, she says.

 

“When you’re in public accounting, you’re thrust into situations that are uncomfortable and uncertain, and you have to quickly adapt and be flexible,” Lynch says. “I think those skills are equally important as a senior executive, because you never know what might come your way on any given day.”

 

Lynch and her organization have had to deal with a lot of uncertainty over the past year as the potential merger of Aetna and Humana fell through. The experience, however, hasn’t altered the company’s strategy, she says.

 

“Humana would have helped to accelerate our strategy, but that strategy remains the same – to be consumer-focused, transforming relationships with providers, focusing on the local community and building the next generation of talent,” she says.

 

Lynch says health insurers in general need to own their mistakes, but adds that payers don’t promote themselves enough in regard to the positive outcomes they quietly foster among their members. She recounts the story of one female college student she worked with who was anorexic. Lynch’s organization helped the young woman get into a treatment facility. She got help, returned to school and graduated from college. She signed up with Teach for America and has gone on to have a successful career.

 

“Those are the kinds of things we do that no one knows we do,” Lynch says.

 

“Maybe we’re too modest, but we need to tell our story because we are doing some phenomenal things across the nation.”

 

 

SIDEBAR: U.S. health includes mental health

 

 

Aetna President Karen Lynch has always been quite active in charity work. That stems, in part, from her aunt who raised Lynch and her three siblings after their mother committed suicide.

 

“My aunt talked about and instilled in us the importance of giving back,” Lynch says today.

 

She says she sees the importance of that in her work every day.

 

“I have a passion for holistic healthcare and taking care of the whole person,” she says, “because with every chronic condition, many people are also suffering from a mental health condition. There are a lot of co-morbid diagnoses.”

 

Her mother informs that passion as well.

 

“Because my mom died by suicide, I believe very strongly in promoting mental health awareness and making sure people have access to the services that they need.”

 

Lynch found a strong partner in that endeavor in her husband Kevin, who founded the Quell Foundation two years ago to eradicate the stigma of mental health disorders.

 

“He gives scholarships to children who have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, and also to kids who want to go to college to work in the field of psychiatry or psychology. And I personally fund the scholarship for kids who have lost a parent through suicide.”

 

This year, the Quell Foundation will provide $200,000 in scholarships to young people across the country. It’s one more motivation Lynch cites for doing what she does in her career.

 

“I get up every single morning,” she says, “trying to think about how we can have a positive impact on people’s lives and make this healthcare system better.”

 

 

Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare–Delvecchio Finley: Leaders understand that medical care is only part of the solution to disparities

By | December 29 th,  2016 | Healthcare, public policy, Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare, Modern Healthcare, safety net, Atlanta, Blog, CEO, diversity, Duke University, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, health disparities, leadership, public housing, safety, Alameda Health System, quality | Add A Comment

 

Classic content: One in a series of interviews with Modern Healthcare's Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare for 2016.

 

Delvecchio Finley doesn’t shrink back from a challenge.

 

That’s one of the reasons his last two jobs have been leading California public health organizations with different but significant issues. But as he surveys the changes needed not only within his own health system but throughout the nation as a whole, he is adamant that healthcare is only part of the solution for what ails the U.S.

 

“Even though access to care and the quality of care is important, access to stable housing, food sources, education and jobs play a greater influence collectively on our overall health,” says Finley, CEO of the Alameda Health System. “I think the evolving research in the field is making it a lot more evident to all of us that those issues are significant social determinants of health.”

 

The interconnectedness of all those factors makes health disparities harder to eradicate, Finley says, but one way to begin is to address the lack of diversity in healthcare leadership and the healthcare workforce as a whole.

 

“Making sure that our workforce is representative of the community we serve – that people who are coming to us for care aren’t just the recipients of that care but can also play a major role in providing or facilitating that care – is what starts to provide access to good jobs and stable housing, and in turn begins to build a good economic engine for the community.

 

“Thus, you’re reinvesting in the community, and that’s how we start to get at the root of this and not just through the delivery of the services.”

 

Finley has some life experience along those lines. He grew up in public housing in Atlanta, where access to healthcare was poor even though the actual care was excellent when he and his family received it. In his neighborhood, he says, the three fields of employment that offered paths to upward mobility were healthcare, education and law enforcement. He was a strong student, and enjoyed helping people, so he was eyeing a future as a physician during his undergraduate years at Emory University, where he earned his degree in chemistry.

 

“Upon finishing my degree, I realized that I loved science but wasn’t necessarily as strong in it as I needed to be to become a doctor,” he says. “But I still loved healthcare and wanted that to be something I pursued.”

 

He explored other avenues and ended up earning his master’s in public policy at Duke University. Finley was the first member of his family to graduate from college and to get a graduate degree as well, but not the last, he is quick to point out.

 

“The thing that I’m most proud of is that, while I was the first to graduate from college, that achievement has set a path for my cousins, nieces and nephews, who have continued to shatter that ceiling for our family.”

 

He says it was also within his family – and within public housing – where he first began learning leadership skills that would result in him becoming one of the youngest hospital CEOs in the country.

 

“I spent a fair amount of my childhood being raised by my aunt, and she was a force of nature,” Finley says with a laugh. “She served as president of the tenant association and she used that position to strongly advocate for reasonable services and humane treatment for people who were in a very challenging circumstance. I learned from her that we have a responsibility to use our gifts – and to use our voice and our station in life – to help people.”

 

That was certainly the impetus for taking the helm at both Alameda and his previous post as CEO of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

 

“Both of them are safety-net organizations that serve a disproportionately underserved community,” Finley says. “That resonates with me from both a personal and professional standpoint. They have both provided a chance to work with a team to get our hands around some of these issues because of the very important work and role that these organizations play in their communities.”

 

At Harbor, the bigger challenges were regulatory, not having good, documentable evidence of the quality and safety of the care that was being provided, “which we were able to fortunately surmount and proceed from there,” he says.

 

The difficulties that Finley and his team at Alameda have had to address are different, he says. “A lot of it was short-term economic hardship combined with the growing pains of going from a historical health system that had grown exponentially through recent acquisitions of two community hospitals. We’re just beginning to stabilize and right-size the ship.”

 

The elements for achieving lasting change, both for the health system and the community, are within reach, he says. Alameda’s skilled nursing facilities recently outperformed a lot of private organizations in earning a 5-star rating from CMS, something Finley hopes can be replicated systemwide with a new strategic plan that promotes greater “systemness” and a focus on access, quality, patient experience, and innovative approaches to care delivery.

 

Alameda Health System is also a benefactor of the a state Medicaid Waiver called Medi-2020, which is a partnership between CMS and the State of California that aims to promote continued transformation of the safety-net delivery system for Medi-Cal recipients. And, internally, Finley plans to bring more Lean management processes to Alameda in the next fiscal year.

 

He had begun to explore Lean several years ago when he was at Harbor-UCLA. He and leaders from a number of systems – including Alameda – took trips to watch Lean in operation at ThedaCare in Wisconsin, Virginia Mason in Washington, and Denver Health in Colorado.

 

“I appreciated that Lean wasn’t just a performance improvement methodology and the flavor of the day, but it was an operating system,” he says. “I think my other takeaway from the trip was that Lean is very hard to do. You’re going to have fits and starts, but if you commit to it, it can lead to some very transformative outcomes for your organization and for the community you serve.”

 

Transformative outcomes? Finley personally knows a thing or two about that.

 

 

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