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CHEF Leadership Task Force Update – Fall 2016

Leadership Education Series

The CHEF Leadership Task Force was recently fully integrated with the Education & Networking Committee. The integration of these two groups will allow for improved alignment, facilitation, and promotion of programs and events offered to CHEF membership. Through the integration, the two groups will remain committed to intertwining leadership into all aspects of CHEF through the development and execution of leadership programs that further ACHE?s mission to advance its members and healthcare management excellence.

The Leadership Education Series will continue to provide programs geared towards healthcare executives that address different leadership types and are relevant to all members at all stages of their careers. To date, there have been three Leadership Education Series programs held in 2016. There is one more event on deck to close out the year, and there are many more exciting and innovative programs in development for 2017.

Here is a recap of the last event that was held on Thursday, July 14, 2016:?

Resilience Strategies for Reducing Physician Burnout

A panel of distinguished healthcare executives examined the approaches for how to identify clinician burnout, its causes and implications, and practical strategies for addressing this issue as healthcare leaders. Additionally, the panel also discussed how to apply a strategy of physician engagement to uphold resilience among physicians and help mitigate the incidences of physician burnout. In order to convey the importance of proactively identifying and addressing physician burnout, the panelists shared several personal narratives that each has experienced during his or her influential career. This event was moderated by Anita Halvorsen, FACHE, Metropolitan Chicago Regent, ACHE and Regional Strategy and Growth Officer at Presence Health. The panel featured:

Richard Cordova, FACHE, Past Chairman, ACHE and President Emeritus, Children?s Hospital Los Angeles
Patrick Godwin, MD, FACHE, Chief, Section of Hospital Medicine, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center
Barbara Loeb, MD, MBA, CPE, FACP, FACPE, Chief Medical Officer, Tenet Healthcare, Chicago Health System
Carlotta Rinke, MD, MBA, FACP, Senior Medical Director, Aetna Accountable Care Solutions, Clinical Transformation.

Upcoming Events:

CHEF Talks: The Life of a Patient: Leaders at all Levels – November 10, 2016 (Prentice Women?s Hospital)

Healthcare leaders at all levels will share insights on how their organizations have successfully cultivated better patient outcomes and improved patient experiences through strong relationships within care teams, across organizations, and through inter-industry partnerships. ?The speakers will use this platform to provide a motivating and inspiring talk, sharing personal and organizational triumphs and struggles, which will spark reflection, learning, and renewed energy all built upon the foundation of a real patient journey.?

Crossfire Debate: Are You Right? – Quarter 1, 2017 (Exact Date TBD)

Authors and other healthcare experts in the field will deliberate upon the accuracy of industry predictions. This forum will give experts in the field a chance to debate health care issues of the past, present, and future that are top of mind for today?s healthcare leaders.

Leadership Spotlight: Improving the Patient Experience

In preparation for the next Leadership Education Series event on November 10th, the CHEF Leadership Task Force would like to recognize and acknowledge Sunitha Sastry, a leader within CHEF who has demonstrated effective leadership skills and has made positive and impactful changes to the patient experience at The University of Chicago Medicine. The CHEF Leadership Task Force conducted a brief interview with Sunitha to gain her unique perspective on leadership in today?s healthcare environment.?

Sastry PhotoSunitha Sastry, MPH
Director, Experience Improvement & Innovation, Discharge Care Call Center
The University of Chicago Medicine


Sunitha is a healthcare professional with over 15 years of experience in health care consulting and academic medical centers, leading organization-wide strategic, operational and patient engagement initiatives. Sunitha has significant knowledge in process improvement efforts as a LEAN and Six Sigma transformational facilitator, PDCA process improvement initiatives, as well as change management. Sunitha also has a vast amount of experience in dashboard development, and patient experience and engagement mapping sessions. Sunitha completed her Bachelor of Arts at The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and her Master?s in Public Health at Boston University, with dual concentration in Epidemiology/Biostatistics and Health Care Services.?

Leadership Questionnaire ? Sunitha Sastry

1)????? What are the most important traits of effective leaders??

Sunitha: In my 15 plus years’ experience in health care management, I believe that effective leaders are those that take a vision and translate strategy into action through consistent communication. Visionary leaders value and celebrate the team’s contribution to achieve goals. In order to lead teams in a vision, strong leaders inspire, excite and energize individuals to a shared and meaningful purpose.

2)????? What steered you to the field of healthcare, and more specifically, your current position?

Sunitha: Growing up in a family of healthcare professionals, I witnessed the fulfillment and reward that one can feel helping others. My love of process improvement and valuing patient, family and care givers’ time drove my ability to affect change. And over the years, I recognized that efficiency is one part of the patient experience. Marrying my performance improvement expertise with the emotional engagement necessary along a patient’s journey, and leading and developing a culture that creates exceptional experiences for patient, families, and caregivers …this is what brings me joy and why I continue to work in healthcare – to make a difference by helping others.

3)????? What is your definition of the patient experience?

Sunitha: I subscribe to the patient experience definition from the Beryl Institute:

“The sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization’s culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care.” I appreciate the continuity of care and experience this definition holds while demonstrating that culture and perceptions are key elements of a patient’s journey. To expand on this definition further, I believe in two points. First, a critical element of defining the patient experience takes into account the patient’s individuality and uniqueness, thus influencing how we engage the patient and their family in their experience. Second, the movement beyond experience to engagement is one that brings the patient voice centric to ongoing efforts, and views the patient as a partner in this evolution.?

4)????? What all needs to happen for an optimal patient experience to occur?

Sunitha: At the foundation, a caring approach to the unique needs and individuality of the patient and family member needs to be at the core of all interactions. This in turn helps them activate their personal health management while feeling supported with a high reliability network of processes and individuals that provide quality care, safety, education, empathy, efficiency, value and heart.

5)????? How does your organization leverage the patient experience to gain a competitive advantage?

Sunitha: The focus and efforts associated with elevating patient experience and engagement are aligned with the concepts of value based care. As an institution, we understand the importance of negotiating the best contractual arrangements to support providing the best service, quality care and outcomes for our patients. Elevating our service to match our quality and safety outcomes will attract more individuals to trust us in their care journey.

6)????? What is the most memorable piece of advice you have ever received?

Sunitha: Always lead and always return to the “WHY”. Engaging clinical and non-clinical team members can demonstrate tremendous impact if the team members understand and align with the “WHY” we do what we do. The “WHY” needs to tie back to the central core and mission of the institution. To further this effort, supporting teams with positive reinforcement and practicing appreciative inquiry on what works well continues the proliferation of practices that support the common mission.?

7)????? What is your favorite leadership quote?

Sunitha: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ? Maya Angelou?

8)????? What are your favorite free-time hobbies?

Sunitha: Being completely present and spending quality time with my kids and husband, engaging in the continuous journey of staying healthy mentally and physically through mindfulness and yoga practice.

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