What inspired you to enter the health care industry?
When I was in the fifth grade, one very important teacher, Mrs. Pat Heyer, shaped the course of my life. Back then, I was going through some issues at home. I started causing trouble in class because of boredom and frustration. Mrs. Heyer gave me extra classroom responsibilities that helped me focus on others. She also started a problem-solving program that gave me an outlet for my energy and a positive way to get attention. At the end of the school year, after seeing my growth, she asked me a challenging question: “With the gifts you’ve been given and the unique way your mind works, how are you going to use your gifts to serve others and not just yourself?” I pondered this. My previous career plan to be a movie stuntman didn’t seem to meet her challenge. The TV show, M*A*S*H*, was popular at the time and “Hawkeye” Pierce made an impression on me: the character was funny, everyone liked him and he helped people. So I decided to be a doctor. Strangely, a poor kid from rural Iowa with no health care workers in his family went on to college and medical school and became a doctor.
Why did you come to URAC?
After years of practicing medicine, leading multiple groups and working on innovations in care, I wanted to find a place where I could have a positive impact on more people. You can only reach so many people with your own stethoscope. URAC’s 30-year history and integrity as an organization provided me with a chance to share my unique background with the entire country, and now the world, with our international work. URAC’s ability to highlight quality in so many areas of health care and guide innovation provides a unique chance to serve others. Taking my first CEO job also took me out of my comfort zone. I knew I would learn to be a better leader when I didn’t have someone else I could blame for any decisions I didn’t agree with.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
It’s incredibly rewarding to help create new programs, strengthen and simplify our existing programs, and influence policy as it is developed here in Washington, DC. I also enjoy helping our people develop their skills so they grow to their potential.
What motivates you to do your best at work every day?
Our great team and the caring people we work with. They are the best motivators for doing meaningful work. I also want to protect the URAC legacy and take care of our employees.