What has been your career path?
I dual majored in Economics and Business as an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh, and I did not really know what I wanted to do. I had several part-time jobs at UPMC including one as a medical records abstractor. I really enjoyed learning a lot about medical terminology, and I got to associate with a lot of physicians and their staff. I then obtained my Master of Health Administration at the University of Pittsburgh and took on an administrative fellowship position at the University of Wisconsin. I spent three years in Madison before returning to UPMC, getting a position as a director of Operations in General Internal Medicine. I was able to work my way up to my last position as senior director, Clinical Operations, Department of Medicine, where I oversaw 55 clinics and about 450 staff. Ten of those clinics were based in our Pittsburgh hospitals.
What are some of your responsibilities as the vice president of Operations for UPMC Horizon and UPMC Jameson?
My core focus is on the day-to-day operations of our hospitals. This includes oversight of the Operating Rooms, PACU [Post Anesthesia Care Unit], Outpatient Clinics, Environmental Services, Food and Nutrition, Facilities, and Imaging. I have a strong relationship with the UPMC Hillman Cancer Centers, Centers for Rehab Services, HVI [the Heart and Vascular Institute], Emergency Medical Services, and Security. I’m also involved with our hospital foundations. I am still learning as things come my way, while meeting people and getting a full grasp of our facilities. We have an impressive array of services for small community hospitals.
What are some of your goals?
The first priority for me is focusing on the people. Staff development, engagement, and retention are critical to delivering great patient care. It’s important to continue to hire good staff while making sure they are engaged and creating career paths for them so they want to stay. I also want to be able to promote staff from within. My other major goal is patient access which is an important aspect in helping patients get the care they need. Telemedicine is a great example, as it’s hard to get a full-time neurologist or pulmonologist, for example, in Mercer and Lawrence counties. We need to virtually leverage our subspecialty services in Pittsburgh to help us with this. We are beginning to hire nurse practitioners to see patients for these certain specialties, with physicians available in Pittsburgh via telemedicine. For the more complex cases the physicians will periodically come to Horizon or Jameson to see patients in person. There are strategic ways to give access to specialty services without having full-time physicians here.
Growing up in Hermitage, what does it mean to you to come back to the area?
That was important for me in taking this position. It was a combination of perfect timing and circumstance. Vice President of Operations was the logical next step for me, and where better to do it than in the area where I grew up? I had great experiences here, and it means I have the opportunity to give back to the community. I still have family in the area, so the ability to directly contribute and bring valuable services and access to care for the community is a driving force for me. There is a real community feel here, and you can tell our staff are really invested in their community.
Do you have any vacation plans this summer, and what is your dream vacation?
I’m a very active person and I hate sitting still. I play soccer and I co-own a boat with a friend. A substantial vacation I have planned is to go to Belize for my mother’s 60th birthday, and I am looking forward to that. As far as a dream vacation, I would I like to go to an exotic place like Bora Bora or the Maldives. One of those places that takes you 18 hours to get to, and a place you would only want to or be able to go once in your life.
What are your favorite activities outside of work?
I am a big Pittsburgh sports fan, and I try to go to all the Steelers home games. I am always on the go, and I enjoy wake boarding, soccer, and boxing. I also like to volunteer, and I am on the board of an organization called Off the Floor Pittsburgh. I am not yet involved in any local organizations, but I want to give back my time to help make the community better.
What is your favorite type of music and your favorite band?
I like almost all types of music, although country is not my favorite. Growing up, my dad was a big hair metal guy, and my first concert was Van Halen with Sammy Haggar as the singer. That was a really cool experience, so they’ve always been a favorite for me.
Is there anything people would be surprised to know about you?
I am a licensed wedding officiant, and I have married a couple of my close friends. I worked to get the license when a really good friend asked if I could marry him, and I must have done a good job as another friend asked me as well. So, I am apparently open for business.
“republished with permission of UPMC Horizon and Jameson hospitals”