Reshaping the future of healthcare leadership through hands-on lessons

 03-08-2023  Michelle Lopez

It’s no secret that the way companies work is rapidly changing. In a post COVID-19 world, businesses have had to shift their approaches to resolve new and old concerns and meet the needs of both customers and employees.

As the largest private employer in Miami-Dade County, Baptist Health turned to FIU Business to deliver its Baptist Health Leadership Experience Program.

Launched in May 2022 and meeting once a month for eight all-day sessions, 35 seasoned Baptist Health leaders explored some of the most pressing and complex issues facing the healthcare industry.

“Leadership development continues to be a strategic priority for Baptist Health,” said Tatiana Schrader, director, talent management and development at Baptist Health. “Given the current challenges within the healthcare industry, our aim was to partner with FIU to challenge our leaders find solutions to everyday problems and enhance their abilities to lead effectively in a post-pandemic world.”

Reshaping the future of healthcare

From the great resignation to critical topics including digital transformation, innovative leadership, strategic planning, health inequities and, financial management for healthcare organizations, no stone was left unturned.

"The biggest thing that I got out of it was the connectivity that we established as a team,” said Carol Bonacossa, director, physician communications at Baptist Health. “I met people I didn't know, who are A-plus employees who now have become resources in my network.”

On the agenda for the final workshop February 24, 2023, were the importance of crisis leadership, proper training in emergency management and awareness of burnout and the mental health impacts of chronic moral distress experienced during the pandemic.

“Crisis leadership is about bringing people into an uncertain future with hope and confidence. It requires the ability to anticipate what is likely to come next despite ambiguity,” said Attila Hertelendy associate teaching professor of information systems and business analytics at FIU Business.

Reshaping healthcare

As participants reflected on what they learned, it became clear the toll of working during the pandemic was felt by many, even those not directly working the front lines.

“I was not working in a clinical role, I was in supplies,” said Christine Kicker, director, supply chain management at Baptist Health. “While many worried about getting patients out of the hospital, we had to determine if we could even buy oxygen for our patients.”

The room became flooded with emotion, but the experience was a valuable learning lesson.

“We now have set ourselves up so that we can pinpoint where our commodities are and know with certainty how many days we have on hand and how many people need it,” said Kicker. “We have videos now on our training module system, to show people how to step in and take over.”

To close out the program, each team of the participating leaders made final presentations and, while topics varied, the solutions often shared common threads including the importance of open and transparent communication, embracing technology such as AI and supporting the mental health of staff at all levels.

“Leadership development opportunities, such as this program, provide big picture context about our industry and its challenges,” said Ana Lopez-Blazquez, chief strategy and transformation officer at the organization. “The strong connections made through this program and the lessons learned will serve each participant well as they go forward in their careers."

A graduation ceremony was held at FIU Business for the participants following the final presentations.

About the Author:

Michelle Lopez is assistant director of communications at FIU Business and a reporter for BizNews. A media veteran, before joining FIU Business she was media manager at The Children's Trust and earlier in her career worked was an assignment editor and special projects producer at the NBC 6 and Telemundo 51 stations in Miami.

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