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Celebrate Women Healthcare Leaders During International Women's Day 2023

Analysis  |  By Melanie Blackman  
   March 08, 2023

Celebrate Women Healthcare Leaders During International Women's Day 2023.

March 8 is International Women's Day (IWD), a day to celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness on gender discrimination, and drive gender parity initiatives. This year's theme is embracing equity, an important topic in healthcare when it comes to patient and community care, and when it comes to leadership in healthcare.

HealthLeaders is proud to recognize women leaders in the healthcare sector around the nation who have achieved so much for themselves and their organizations, lifting up others in the process, and making healthcare a better industry.

In celebration of IWD, we've highlighted recent interviews with women executives who are making a difference in their organizations and the healthcare sector.

The Exec: Coronavirus Pandemic Remains a Top Challenge

The coronavirus pandemic and related issues are still a leading concern for healthcare providers, the chief clinical officer of Banner Health says.

Marjorie Bessel, MD, has been with Banner Health for more than a decade. She has  held many physician leadership roles at the health system, including serving as chief medical officer for several hospitals and working as chief medical officer of Banner Health's Arizona Division. Before taking on the chief clinical officer role, she served as vice president and chief medical officer of community delivery.

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The Exec: At Atrium Health, Virtual Nursing Increases Patient Satisfaction, Decreases Falls and Medication Errors

What began as an innovative way to monitor and care for COVID-19 patients at the height of the pandemic is evolving into a growing virtual nursing program at Atrium Health.

The North Carolina-based health system, now part of Advocate Health, launched its virtual nursing program in March 2021 when, like other health systems, nurses struggled to meet staffing demands.

Nurses loved it, patients loved it, and the health system noticed positive outcomes: decreased medication errors, decreased falls, increased patient satisfaction, and more, says Patricia Mook, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, CAHIMS, FAONL, vice president of nursing operations, professional development and practice.

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The Exec: For Advocate Health's Chief of Staff, 'It's All About the Team'

At the end of December 2022, Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health completed their merger to create Advocate Health, a nonprofit health system serving patients across Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. The combined system, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, has 67 hospitals and more than a thousand sites of care and is the fifth largest nonprofit health system in the country.

Carol Lovin, MHSA, MN, executive vice president, chief of staff, and chief integration officer for Advocate Health, recently connected with HealthLeaders to talk about the integration that will be done in 2023 to bring the health system together, while the legacy providers continue to deliver care under their consumer-facing brands.

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Executive Moves: New MetroHealth CEO Committed to Building Trust, Addressing Health Inequity

Airica Steed, EdD, MBA, RN, is breaking the glass ceiling in her new role as CEO of Cleveland, Ohio-based MetroHealth. She is the first woman, Black person, and nurse to lead the four-hospital nonprofit health system.

She previously served as COO of the Sinai Chicago Health System and president of Mount Sinai and Sinai Children's Hospital. She began her role on December 5, 2022, during a turbulent time for the organization, after the previous President and CEO, Akram Boutros, MD, was fired by the board of directors for allegedly authorizing himself bonuses without disclosing them to the board.

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The Exec: Catherine Corbin Discusses Innovation at St. Jude

Earlier this year St. Jude Children's Research Hospital appointed Catherine Corbin the health system's first chief business innovation officer.

An expert in human-centered design, Corbin is charged with working with CEO James Downing, MD, and other senior leaders to guide the health system's $12.9 billion, six-year strategic plan, the largest and most ambitious investment in St Jude's 60-year history. This includes roughly $3 billion in planned construction projects.

Prior to joining St. Jude, she spent four years at the San Francisco-based global design and innovation firm IDEO, where she helped St. Jude develop programs like Family Commons and the St. Jude Global Alliance. She was also a principal at the architectural and engineering firm CannonDesign and was administrative director of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at a Chicago health system.

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Houston Methodist's Michelle Stansbury Enjoys Thinking Outside the Boundaries

To Michelle Stansbury, innovation is a necessity at Houston Methodist. It certainly involves thinking outside the box, and now it also means thinking outside of the hospital.

"We're either going to disrupt ourselves or somebody's going to do it for us," says the hospital's vice president of innovation and information technology applications, noting the large number of healthcare organizations in the Houston area and the growing threat of competition from telehealth companies, payers, and retail giants like Amazon.

And that means expanding the playing field.

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Set Your Caregivers Up for Success: Q&A with Aishling Dalton-Kelly, Part 1

More than half—57%—of caregivers quit within the first 90 days of working for an agency, according to a report by MissionCare and the National Association for Home Care and Hospice. They're also seven times more likely to live at or below the poverty line.

Healthcare’s dire staffing shortages extend to unskilled workers, which means private duty agencies also are struggling to recruit and retain caregivers.

Aishling Dalton-Kelly is a private duty consultant, as well as president and CEO of Aishling Care Academy. Having previously owned an agency, Dalton-Kelly understands the importance and necessity of setting caregivers up for success and helping them see a future for themselves within an agency.

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Set Your Caregivers Up for Success: Q&A with Aishling Dalton-Kelly, Part 2

In part two, Aishling Dalton-Kelly reiterates the need to equip caregivers with the tools and knowledge they need, as well as what should be done so potential employees will see a fruitful career path in the sector.

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The Exec: Ascension's Chief Experience Officer

Carol Campbell joined Ascension, a nonprofit Catholic health system headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, at the beginning of this year as the system's inaugural senior vice president of consumer experience. She now serves as senior vice president and chief experience officer for the health system, which serves 19 states through more than 140 hospitals, where she continues to lead the organization's consumer experience work.

Campbell recently connected with HealthLeaders to share what the first year in her role has looked like so far, what she's looking forward to leading, and how health systems can learn from other sectors when it comes to patient and consumer experience. She also shares the importance of the consumer experience in healthcare and ministry-driven organizations.

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Inside Dana Erickson's First 10 Months as CEO of Blue Cross MN

As Dana Erickson approaches her one-year mark as president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross MN), she shared with HealthLeaders her vision for better healthcare in Minnesota and the just-minted strategy that is designed to deliver place, plan, and industry-based solutions against healthcare's most persistent problems.

"Was it always my goal? No, I don't think so."

Erickson wasn't gunning to be CEO, but a combination of service, experience, and opportunity—and positions with Optum Health—positioned her for the role.

"I think it was something that did emerge over time," says Erickson, who served in four prior roles with Blue Cross MN before taking the top position.

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Daré Bioscience CEO Drives Culture of Transformation in Women's Health

Sabrina Martucci Johnson never planned on being a founder and CEO of a women’s healthcare company, but after identifying gaps in women's healthcare, she asked herself, “If not me, then who?"

"I'm not one of those people who always wanted to be a CEO," she says. "But I had a light bulb moment: if I don't do this, it's not going to happen."

Over the years, Johnson had always championed for women in her volunteer and charity work, supporting philanthropic activities surrounding STEM education for women, domestic violence awareness, and women's healthcare issues.

On the professional side, Johnson spent her entire career in the drug development industry, in a variety of roles. She began as a research scientist with Baxter Healthcare and went on to hold marketing and sales positions there.

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To stay up to date with the amazing work that women healthcare leaders are up to, be sure to read HealthLeaders' Women in Leadership quarterly profiles. The next profiles report will be released on March 27.

Related: These Fierce Female CFOs Are Tackling Healthcare's Biggest Financial Issues

Melanie Blackman is a contributing editor for strategy, marketing, and human resources at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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