Becker's CEO + CFO Roundtable 2019: 3 Questions with Gabrielle Gaspar, Chief Medical Officer of Northern California for Tenet Healthcare

Gabrielle Gaspar, MD, serves as Chief Medical Officer of Northern Group for Tenet Healthcare.

On November 11th, Dr. Gaspar will serve on the panel "The Evolving Role of the CMO" at Becker's 8th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place November 11-13, 2019 in Chicago.

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

Question: What is going on right now?

Gabrielle Gaspar: Both in the acute and ambulatory space, there is a growing recognition of physician burnout. All healthcare organizations need to be increasing efficiency and maximizing discretionary effort, but front line care providers face increasing demands with documenting in the EHR, dotting I’s and crossing T’s for various accreditation bodies, capturing quality data, and still having time to care for and communicate with patients and their families. While we are seeing more physicians lose their enthusiasm for clinical practice in a highly regulated and pressurized environment, there is also an increasing need for physician leadership in healthcare. The good news is that there are more career opportunities for individuals who have clinical backgrounds and aptitude for strategy, operations, innovation, and change leadership. The not-so-good news is that physicians who treat patients may not stay in those roles for as long in the past, essentially leaving the national physician workforce shorthanded. We have got to figure out how to make it financially and psychologically sustainable to practice medicine as a career.

Q: What is the single most important thing you need to do in your role? (Ie: What do you have to be great at?)

GG: To be a successful leader in healthcare, it is essential to be adept at navigating change and leading others through it. Change creates discomfort for many people-- the unknown can be frightening. Healthcare leaders must be great at working in ambiguous circumstances while creating confidence in those they lead. Being able to communicate the vision, help others understand where the organization is going and why is critical. And one must be able to tailor the message both for groups as well as individuals and be able to skillfully address the resistance that inevitably occurs in the face of change.

Q: If you acquired $10 million dollars with no strings attached today, how would you invest or spend it?

GG: In the space of health and healthcare in this country, one of the most overlooked but fundamental opportunities is food access. Putting on my public health hat, I would argue that access to fresh nutritious food could significantly improve the health trajectory for millions in our country. And of course, that would impact our national disease burden which is ever-growing. We have got to bend the disease curve just as we are working on the healthcare cost curve, and investing in sustainable food access programs for communities designated as food deserts would be a good start. It’s not as sexy as artificial intelligence, robotics or genomic medicine, but it’s important.


Executive Officer, Executive
Director, The Permanente
Medical Group (TPMG);
President and Chief Executive
Officer, Mid-Atlantic Permanente
Medical Group (MAPMG);
Co-CEO, The Permanente
Federation LLC

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