In this year-end recap, Renee DeSilva highlights some of the key topics of The Table throughout 2021 as well as where episodes will focus in 2022. Health equity, the current challenges of health systems, and leadership characteristics were all themes this past year and Renee looks forward to discussing these topics further along with practical steps that health systems can take to make progress in these areas over the coming year. Renee wraps up this episode by sharing her personal and professional answer to the question she asks each guest — who would they invite to their personally curated table for conversation and why.
Renee DeSilva serves as CEO of The Health Management Academy, partnering with top executives from the nation’s 150 largest and most innovative healthcare companies to shape the future of the industry. Under Renee’s leadership, The Academy has launched a broad array of new research programs, strategic partnerships, and leadership initiatives. With more than two decades of experience in the healthcare industry, Renee is a sought-after speaker, moderator, panelist, and host.
Renee DeSilva 0:06
Welcome back to the Academy Table. I’m Renee DeSilva, CEO of The Academy and your host. As 2021 comes to an end, so does this first season of The Table. Throughout the year I had the great honor of speaking with some great leaders and innovators in healthcare, and it was my privilege to share my learnings from those conversations with all of you. To close out the season, I want to revisit the key takeaways and lessons with an eye towards our focus next year.
Renee DeSilva 0:35
First, we spent significant time on health equity, not unlike the industry as a whole. Following the most recent reckoning on race in America, many organizations committed themselves to the meaningful work of uprooting racism and inequity that have been present across the healthcare ecosystem. At The Table, Gene Woods from Atrium Health shared his moonshot vision for health equity ingenuity. Erickajoy Daniels, Advocate Aurora, discussed the importance of supplier diversity and true community investment. Mary Jo Cagle, Carl Amato, Jeawon Ryu, and Sarah Krevans all described health equity initiatives at their organizations. To me, the key component is this — as health equity is now a foundational principle for many health systems, real change will require it to be cemented as a board-level commitment. It needs to be not a thing, but the way in which we do all things. With that lens, next year we intend to dive deeper into board dynamics in the context of health equity and beyond and how high functioning boards can drive meaningful change in the industry.
Renee DeSilva 1:48
Next, we explored workforce challenges facing health systems. We heard from Stephen Jones at Inova Health System about building a culture of well-being and safety and from Sonia Rhodes with the Experience Lab on creating healing spaces and designing for joy amidst two incredibly traumatic years. My honest reflection is that we didn’t spend nearly enough time on this topic, especially relative to how often I hear about it from our members. Several trends are impacting how health systems are planning for the future — a permanent transition to a hybrid workforce, rising burnout rates and low morale, staffing shortages, among others. Underscoring all of this is that as healthcare leaders, there is no topic more important than how we treat our employees. Moving forward into next year, we plan to discuss it more.
Renee DeSilva 2:39
Third, in nearly every episode, we asked our guests about leadership — how they build companies and teams that solve big problems, how they prioritize and spend time, and how they show up as their authentic selves. As simple as it sounds, it’s hard to understate how crucial effective leaders are for an organization’s success, particularly in times of chaos and turmoil. It takes the right person with the right culmination of experiences serving at the right time to navigate the ship. By way of my role at The Academy, I am fortunate to be a student of these successful CEOs, and I look forward to continuing to distill these leadership lessons that endure.
Renee DeSilva 3:17
Finally, the last question in every episode was this — if you could curate your ideal table, what two people would you invite? Some of my guests went into more personal directions while others kept it purely professional. I enjoyed all of the responses and I feel as if it’s only fitting that I answer the question for all of you now. For me, when I think about an ideal table, I go to a personal dimension and then also a professional one. On the personal side, I would say that I lost both my brother and my father in my 20’s and they both died suddenly. There are unfinished conversations there that I would be delighted to have. When I think about where I am now in life, I would say three black women have served as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, only three in history, and those are Roz Brewer, Ursula Burns, and Thasunda Brown Duckett. I would love a conversation with them as I’m on my learning path. If any of you happen to know them, please let them know that we have a warm table open to them and we’d love to have them join us. With that, I wish you a warm and safe holiday season. Thank you so much for tuning in and listening to us across the season. We look forward to welcoming you back in 2022. Talk again soon!