Thursday, July 20, 2017

Great article on STAT on female leadership and health care reform.

Genmedmom here. I simply to call attention to a wonderful article on STAT written by a kick-ass healthcare administrator/ CEO and mother of SIX children (yes, six, and TEN grandchildren, per her profile) Annette Walker. It's titled More female leadership: a different kind of health care reform and it's spot-on.

She points out that "women hold only 26 percent of hospital CEO positions and 21 percent of executive positions at Fortune 500 health care companies even though they make up 78 percent of the health care work force". This despite the fact that "Study after study has demonstrated that organizations with gender-balanced leadership are more successful than their homogenous counterparts."

The best part of this short piece is her emphasis on solutions. What she has accomplished in her own hospital system can surely be adopted in others. She lists:
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Training opportunities for women to build leadership skills
  • Increased visibility of female role models
  • Connecting junior employees with female senior-level mentors
  • Transparent advancement opportunities and clearly charted pathways to leadership
  • Shining a light on the challenges of balancing family and work needs
  • Support for community programs that promote opportunities for women in our service areas
  • Emphasizing STEM and academic programs for women
I love what she's saying and admire what she's accomplished. I mean, all this and SIX kids, I just can't even imagine. Two kids has almost put me over the edge. Holy cow.

This blog is certainly helping to "shine a light on the challenges of balancing family and work needs" of doctor-moms, so let's acknowledge what MiM brings to the battle! We can also take a look at this list and think of what may be applicable in our own practices, hospitals, and medical schools.

Ladies, let's take some inspiration and motivation from Annette Walker, impressive mama and hospital CEO.


  1. I strongly disagree that Providence and Ms. Walker are motivating, inspiring, or have the best interest of women at heart--either as an employer or as a health care system. Over the past 10 years I have witnessed them fire Anesthesiologists in favor of CRNAs, strong arm local primary care practices into inflexible arrangements (need an afternoon off for your kids? need a week for your spouse's surgery? nope!!), and refuse to negotiate safe staffing levels with the local nursing union. If that isnt enough, you should know that Providence recently lost a class action lawsuit for failing to fully fund the pensions of their employees.

    Finally, Genmedmom, you are very lucky to live in a healthcare market that is dominated by secular academic organizations (Partners)--please dont forget what it is like for those of us out here in a Catholic dominated market to obtain reproductive services. We dont have so many choices...the hospital where I had a tubal ligation after a Csection for a pregnancy that nearly killed me (no hyperbole) was purchased by Providence and now no longer allows tubal ligations.

    So yes, its important to have female role models in adminstration, but not this one, and not this organization.

    1. Oh dear, admittedly I took the author at her word re: accomplishments. There is no similar criticism for the author's organization on the STAT page. I guess all we can really say is that the underlying message is accurate and her list constitutes worthy objectives for all of us.


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  3. Your post is so uplifting - I read the article - and I also get the first commenter. I read a book called Half the Sky a few years ago by Nicholas Kristoff and his wife Sheryl Wudunn. Worldwide nuns provide so much care for impoverished women, more than many other organizations (fistula care in Africa, women fighting human trafficking, etc.) But there are definitely roadblocks here in the US. While the Catholic organization is much to blame, it is more than that - it's the Republican legislature. It's the Koch brothers and their agenda. I can empathize with the frustrations of the commenter - I live in the South, our admin and legislature, like many others, is against women's health and rights. I think the answer is to raise our voices. This blog is a start. There should be no judgement on optimism. But also no barrier to system criticism. We are all in this together.

    1. Thanks Gizabeth, wonderfully stated. I agree.

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