In recent weeks, I’ve had several opportunities to speak before groups of St. Luke’s physicians and staff members and several regional and national organizations about the power of transformational leadership, and getting ready for those invitations gave me the chance to reflect on the value of home-grown leaders.
Growing and developing leaders is important everywhere and in all settings, of course, but perhaps no more so than here in our part of the country and in our line of endeavor.
The region’s academic institutions and large employers, St. Luke’s included, have long been focused on questions having to do with training and retaining many different types of potential employees. Concerns around “brain drain,” physician, engineer, and other shortages, and related challenges are very real in our rural, underpopulated area.
St. Luke’s and many other employers hire hundreds of graduates from the region’s excellent schools and collaborate with academic planners to equip those entering the region’s workforce, and yet keeping up with the demand for talented employees and leaders is difficult. The larger employers routinely make significant business decisions based on workforce realities, and I know this from many sobering conversations with my colleagues in health care and in many other lines of work.
All of which is why it’s so important, and so inspiring, to work with the folks from Leadership Boise.
Leadership Boise, like similar programs across the country, is organized under the auspices of the chamber of commerce – in this case, the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce. It’s remarkable – but no coincidence – how many leaders of our community’s long-standing, engaged, and reputable companies and institutions are alumni of this very active civic organization.
Next week, St. Luke’s will host this year’s Leadership Boise class for a day of workshops and orientations to the issues of health care in America and in our region.
The theme for this year’s Leadership Boise class is “Leading Today for Tomorrow,” which has everything to do with making difficult leadership decisions in the present to ensure a stronger, healthier community in the future.
The relevance of this, for health care and for St. Luke’s, is not at all lost on me. Decisions for healthcare providers, administrators, executives, and planners have never been more complex or more significant. Hospitals, health systems, clinics, insurance companies, information technology institutions, all are being reorganized, rearranged, bought and sold and merged and closed, as the result of the evolution – maybe revolution is more apt – that health care is going through.
Many, many people throughout health care and the related fields are finding it rough going. There is burnout, there is unease, and there is the unsettling feeling that it will go on for some time.
As for me, I find this to be an exciting and momentous time to be in health care. The opportunity to make a lasting impact that will improve healthcare delivery for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren has never been greater.
Leadership Boise and like programs help to prepare tomorrow’s leaders for this sort of professional environment. Alumni are actively involved with St. Luke’s and inform our decisions as an organization, and I couldn’t be more impressed with what I see.
St. Luke’s, a community asset and community-governed, functions as well as it does because of the smart choices and sometimes tough decisions made by people at all levels of the organization, all in service to our mission to improve the health of people in our region.
The health of the people is the health of the community, and Leadership Boise is part of the fabric that keeps this community as strong and healthy as possible. I’m so glad to partner with them and to host the upcoming visit.
David C. Pate, M.D., J.D., is president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Pate joined the System in 2009. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.