The corner office

Each month, Becker's Hospital Review catches up with a hospital or health system CEO for a special feature called The Corner Office. Executives answer seven questions about their cities, interests outside the C-suite, favorite pieces of advice and healthcare issues that ruffle their feathers most.

Here is a running list of Corner Office interviews, arranged in alphabetical order. If you or your colleague is interested in participating, please email Heather Punke at

Dr. Richard Afable of St. Joseph Hoag Health
"I happen to enjoy change, and I'm very comfortable with ambiguity. I'm more excited about healthcare today than I was 10 years ago, primarily because of the change and the fact that the script is not written — you get to participate."
Nancy Howell Agee of Carilion Clinic
"I like the phrase, 'Live life well.' To color that up, a life well lived is about extraordinary courage, compassion and really enjoying the great life we have."

Joel Allison of Baylor Scott & White Health
"When I was in Harvard at the Advanced Management Program, the finance professor would come in every morning and write this across the blackboard: "Do not run out of cash." And he wouldn't say anything. A vibrant organization must have cash. For Baylor Scott & White Health this is especially important, because we know with no margin there's no mission."

Dr. David Bailey of Nemours
"If I could wave my magic wand, I would have the population and the healthcare system truly embrace wellness and prevention."

Ruth Brinkley of KentuckyOne
"I grew up in rural Georgia and I knew people who died because they did not have proper access to healthcare. It's our mission to bring wellness, healing and hope to all, including the underserved."

Alan Channing, formerly with Sinai Health System
"When I would come home as a youngster and say, "I did this," or "I did that," [my mother would] always remind me to be humble. Don't let your shoulders get rounded by patting yourself on the back, something to that effect. Remember who you are and maintain your humility."

Dr. Ronald DePinho of MD Anderson Cancer Center
"Health reform needs to ensure more people have health coverage. But that's not enough. Reform efforts also need to guarantee families can receive high-quality specialized care from those with deep expertise when they need it."

Dr. Howard Grant of Lahey Health
"I think the challenges we have in caring for patients with behavioral health and mental health problems need to be confronted head on. We have to do a better job of integrating behavioral health services into primary care settings. It is unconscionable that there are so many people with mental health and other behavioral health problems who do not receive appropriate care."

Dr. Laqrry Kaiser of Temple Health"I have a very deep knowledge of wine. That's probably what I know best. I started collecting wine about 20 years ago and have spent a lot of time studying it, and I'm currently enrolled in online certificate program in Viticulture and Enology at University of California, Davis."

Dr. Stephen Klasko of Jefferson Health System
"One of my Wharton professors said, 'You should always have five people under you who think they can do a better job than you, and three of them that are right."'

Raji Kumar of Dallas Medical Center
"I don't know of any other business that's this complex. You can look at it like it's a hospitality industry, but none of the customers you have want to be here. When people walk into Nordstrom, they go there because they want to go there. In this business, they don't want to be here and they expect a five-star service and don't want to pay for it. That's what piqued my interest; it's like solving a puzzle."

Dr. Vivian Lee of University of Utah Healthcare
"To really reinvent our healthcare delivery systems, we need to partner and integrate our thought leaders directly into these systems — everyone from health economists to bioinformaticians to behavioral change psychologists. These academicians could help us approach problems with new perspectives, with more rigor in their experimental approaches, and then disseminate and share lessons learned."

Kevin Lofton of Catholic Health Initiatives
"Early on in my career, when I was finishing a hospital administrative residency and going to my first real post-graduate job, I asked one of the department heads for some advice, since I felt uncertain if I could do my new job. He said something that has stuck with me over all of these years: 'It's just another dog and pony show.'"

Dr. Stephen Mansfield of Methodist Health System
"If I could fix one thing, it would be that Americans accept personal accountability for their individual health."

Randy Oostra of ProMedica
"What bigger responsibility in life could you have other than taking care of people? There have been changes in this industry, but those don't change the fundamentals of healthcare."

Dr. David Pate of St. Luke's Health System
"My brother and I were very close growing up. When I was still very young, he went into the hospital for a protracted stay. I think that is when my interest in becoming a physician first developed, not because I really understood what was involved with my brother's illness, but because I was so overwhelmed by his absence that I thought by becoming a doctor, I would be able to keep my family well and out of the hospital."

Dr. Mike Schatzlein of Saint Thomas Health
"Dr. Herb Sloan, the head of thoracic surgery when I trained at Michigan, would paraphrase Ecclesiastes — 'It is better to be a live dog than a dead lion' — when residents wanted to fix extra things in the operating room beyond what the patient needed. I am an obsessive perfectionist, and I still hear the late Dr. Sloan's voice on occasion, when I am tempted to push a project too hard to be exactly what I want."

Dr. John Jay Shannon of Cook County Health & Hospitals System
"I can compete with just about anyone when it comes to parking it on a beach and reading and taking it easy. I am not a person who, when not at work, is training for an Ironman or composing a symphony. I'm good at unplugging and disconnecting when not at work."

Dr. Anthony Tersigni of Ascension
"I don't have any great achievements. My team has great achievements."

Karen Tietelbaum of Sinai Health System
"I like to cook. At one point I took professional cooking lessons at night and on the weekends. I actually used to own my own jam company and our product was in 50 stores in Chicago while I worked at a hospital in the suburbs."

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