Becker's 11th Annual Meeting Speaker Series: 3 Questions with Peter Banko, President and Chief Executive Officer at Centura Health

Peter Banko serves as President and Chief Executive Officer at Centura Health. 

Peter will participate in the keynote panel "Top Strategies for Health System CEO's" at Becker's Hospital Review 11th Annual Meeting. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place virtually from May 10-27th.

To learn more about the conference and Peter's session, click here.

Question: Share one change brought on by the coronavirus pandemic that you’d like to see stick, especially in healthcare?

Peter Banko: COVID-19 put a truly immense burden directly on the shoulders of frontline clinicians and essential workers. Our caregivers worked very long hours with little downtime in the midst of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety about a virus we knew so very little about. Despite the economic impacts and personal health risks, they ran to the challenges when their communities needed them the most.

Love, kindness, transparency, and empathy need to continue to be at the heart of everything we do. As health care organizations, we must embrace the changes we have made in terms of how we think about our incredible people and reaffirm our investments in our workforce. My hope is that we always remember that the focus and heart of all we do – from our decision-making to our communications to our support of our people at home and at work – is on connecting and enabling our caregivers.

Q: What is one essential trait leaders need to lead effectively in healthcare today?

PB: Crises can make or break a leader. Dealing with crises each and every day for the past year, some leaders have risen to the challenges with a new sense of passion and energy, while other leaders have floundered.

The most essential elements in crisis leadership – and everyday leadership – are providing clear direction and trustworthy communications. In times of uncertainty, ambiguity, and misinformation, leaders will have to relay bad news, engage in uncomfortable conversations, encourage healthy conflict, and support others through personal hardships. This requires leadership that fully embraces and exudes transparency, honesty, empathy, and kindness.

Q: What would you like to see as the defining theme of 2021 for your industry?

PB: The unprecedented global pandemic laid bare deeply rooted disparities in health and health care in our communities, especially communities of color. The death of George Floyd and other acts of violence over the last several months have tragically reminded us of the hate, injustice, and racism that still exist in our country.

The defining theme in 2021 for our industry is an acknowledgment of all these realities in our organizations and communities today because that acknowledgment enables us to better understand what we face and to push back when we encounter injustice. It is even more important for our co-workers and communities to know that we see them, and we hear them. And we are committed to meaningful action with recognition and support, education and development, governance and leadership, workforce and people systems, health disparities, and broader community impact.

Stephen Klasko, President and Chief Executive Officer at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health

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