Dr. Cristy Page is helping to create an inclusive work environment at the UNC School of Medicine. See how she's doing it. 

Cristy Page, MD, is the executive dean at Chapel Hill, N.C.-based UNC School of Medicine. 

Dr. Page will serve on the panel "Reimagining Leadership Strategies to Elevate Women in Healthcare" at Becker's 10th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference on Nov. 7-10 in Chicago. 

To learn more and register, click here.

Becker's Healthcare aims to foster peer-to-peer conversation between healthcare's brightest leaders and thinkers. In that vein, responses to our Speaker Series are published straight from interviewees. Here is what our speakers had to say.

Question: What is the smartest thing you've done in the last year to set your system up for success?

Dr. Cristy Page: Our people are the foundation of everything we do, and investing in our people is vital to fulfilling our mission and improving health outcomes for our patients. We have taken a holistic approach to our people strategy that includes support for wellbeing, additional flexibility in scheduling and worksite location, compensation increases, leadership development, and a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. Our goal is to create a truly inclusive work environment where all our teammates can thrive and lead. 

Q: What are you most excited about right now and what makes you nervous?

CP: I am excited about the progress that we have made to expand our research enterprise and better integrate scientific discovery and innovation into clinical care. We have grown clinical trials and have expanded access to trials across the state to ensure they are available closer to home for our patients. One key example we are proud of is our CART-T immunotherapy for certain cancers. We can generate the needed therapeutics at a facility just off campus, tailoring treatment to individuals and offering them quickly and at a lower cost. These treatments are not available at many hospitals and have led to impressive outcomes for our patients.   

I am concerned about the challenge of teammates suffering burnout from years of navigating professional and personal stress during the pandemic coupled with the pressure of a tight labor market. We have seen higher attrition levels among providers, nurses, and research faculty and staff, all of whom are key to fulfilling our academic and clinical missions. Fortunately, our focus on modernizing our workforce approach for increased flexibility, competitive compensation, and increased attention to wellbeing and DEI has helped with retention. 

Q: How are you thinking about growth and investments for the next year or two?

CP: Partnering with others will be key to creating new and innovative programs that meet the health needs of our patients and communities. We want to make clinical trials that provide novel treatments available closer to home for people across the state and expand workforce training to reduce provider shortages. We have built a very productive partnership with Novant Health, allowing us to expand training, clinical trial and clinical care opportunities in Southeastern North Carolina and the Charlotte region. We are working jointly on several clinical research and workforce training programs and recruiting specialists to provide pediatric care previously unavailable in the region. Strategic partnerships in health care will allow us to leverage synergies, provide excellence in care to a larger population closer to home, and magnify the impact of our efforts by working together.

Q: What will healthcare executives need to be effective leaders for the next five years?

CP: More than ever, they must build effective and empowered teams and creative partnerships. Leaders must build strong teams that they can rely on. Surround yourself with the best people you can and listen to their insights, empower them to make decisions, and make certain they understand that you trust and support them. We also need to be adaptive change leaders. These are difficult times in health care and we need to be resilient — leading change while demonstrating hope for a better future. 

Q: How are you building resilient and diverse teams?

CP: We all know that diverse teams lead to better outcomes and that diverse teams are key to increasing health equity in patient care. We have active liaisons in each department focused on the well-being and our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. We are proactively recruiting leaders from diverse backgrounds and have provided extensive training to search committees. We also invested in our leaders by providing coaching resources for new executives and departmental administrative leaders. 

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