Why’d you choose to attend medical school in Cambridge, England?
Because Christopher’s College of Medicine offered an accelerated, five-year program for earning both my premed and medical degrees. It was an intense three semesters a year; there were no summers off. I graduated from medical school at age 23 and trained in internal medicine across the U.S., including in New York, Atlanta and Baltimore.
What sparked your transition from practicing physician to hospital administrator?
The medical director I reported to at Good Samaritan Hospital in New York encouraged me to earn a master’s in health administration after watching me put together teams to fix any patient care issues. Then later, at St. John’s in Springfield, I started and grew a hospitalist program for physicians predominantly practicing in the hospital and the CEO Bob Ritz asked me, at age 29, to take on the dual role of chief medical officer. After four years at St. John’s, I followed Ritz to Mercy in Des Moines, where I served another four years as chief physician officer. I practiced eight years as a full-time physician until I joined Integris, where I’ve focused on administration and scaled back to a limited, occasional clinical practice. As a physician, I saw 16 to 20 patients a day. As a chief physician executive, I can have a positive impact on close to 2,000 patients a day. I welcome the opportunity to make a much bigger impact on the health of this country.
What are these I 5 buttons on your desk?
Integris ranks among the top 25 health care systems in the U.S. and is the best hospital in Oklahoma City, according to the US News & World Report. In April of last year, we launched a five-year plan to become one of the top five systems nationwide. I think Integris can absolutely compete with the likes of the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins and the Cleveland Clinic. We have an incredible depth of experience here with more than 1,500 physicians including 400 employed providers. We offer amazing services, and can take care of pretty much everything. Our strategies to become one of the nation’s five top medical systems start with building an infrastructure around data analytics. Our central theme remains quality and patient safety, around which we track many matrices. Teams systemwide meet every morning to gather, quickly identify and rectify issues, and rally around providing the best patient care possible.
Position: Integris Health, executive vice president/chief physician executive.