5 questions with Dignity Health's new Bay Area market chief strategy officer

Mona Chadha has primarily spent her career focused on life sciences and biotechnology. But on April 23, she began a new kind of role at San Francisco-based Dignity Health, one of the nation's largest health systems, as chief strategy officer of the Bay Area market.

At Dignity Health, Ms. Chadha leads strategic initiatives at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, Calif., and Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, Calif. She also leads strategic initiatives at St. Mary's Medical Center and Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, both in San Francisco.

Previously, Ms. Chadha was president of Precision Navigation Consulting. Before that, she was COO and co-president of biotechnology company WaferGen Biosystems.

She recently spoke with Becker's Hospital Review about her new position, the challenges she faces and her leadership mantra.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity.  

Question: You previously worked at Precision Navigation Consulting and in biotechnology. What made you want to take on the position with Dignity?

Mona Chadha: I'm at the juncture in life where it's important to me that my work makes a difference, especially in the lives of the patients we serve. That's what drove me: The many technologies in my life science and healthcare career that I've worked on have all been more toward improving patient care and providing medicine to the right patient, so precision medicine is what I've focused on. And very early on in my life, I wanted to give back more directly to people, and the combination of what Dignity Health does well — serving people in need and directly impacting the lives of people — that's what drove me here.

Q: What challenges do you face in this role?

MC: Healthcare's changing all around, and you need to be able to provide cost-effective, better solutions overall. You want to be able to focus on providing the right medicine at the right time, and be targeted in your therapeutic approach as well. That's very broadly speaking. We know Dignity Health is a leader in healthcare in [the Bay Area]. We have four hospitals and 28 clinics [here]. We have significant partnerships with University of California, San Francisco and GoHealth Urgent Care. So, I think [the challenges are] really aligning all your resources. I'm very new to this role, so I'm learning, and I hope I can help drive the business.

Q: What are you excited about with this position?

MC: I'm really excited about the affiliation we have with UCSF and several others we are looking at. More importantly, I think that [affiliation] will bring us some strategic alliance with access to physicians that will be useful for UCSF and us, where they get access to certain hospitals and we get access to certain physicians.

Q: Do you have a leadership style you use?

MC: The way to get things done, whether it's affiliations or within the organization, is really doing some forward thinking — taking your customers into account as to what are the needs of the population you're serving — and then drive that forward by creating a relevant strategy that really works both for the other party as well as for yourself.  Then within the organization, other alliances you've built.

Q: Is there any advice you would pass on to other hospital leaders?

MC: One of the key strengths of being a good leader is really listening and leading people by example. That to me is one of the successes. Then, do some thinking outside of the box. That's been my mantra of success in the past.


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