UH’s Cliff Megerian Speaks at VITALS

Lettuce and laundry might seem unlikely topics of discussion for the leaders of two powerhouse health care institutions. But instead of focusing on the areas in which they compete, these Northeast Ohio CEOs recently chose to find areas in which they don’t – like the laundry and food services used by their thousands of employees and patients, or their common need for a bigger health care workforce. And they started talking about turning these non-competitive overlaps into collaborative measures to strengthen their industry and their community. 

Speaking at the latest VITALS (Visionary Health Leadership in Action) speaker series event, University Hospitals’ recently appointed CEO, Cliff Megerian, M.D., told this story to demonstrate how health care leaders need to think strategically. 

Dr. Megerian, a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School, completed a research and clinical fellowship in otology and neurotology at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. His dream early on, he said, was to be a successful surgeon. He achieved that goal, and he co-founded University Hospital’s cochlear implant program, now one of the largest such programs in the U.S. 

It wasn’t until Dr. Megerian was encouraged at his workplace to take a health care management program that he realized his broader potential to bring about positive change – as an administrator and leader. At the March 4 webinar, he spoke about the advantages of scale that a huge enterprise like University Hospitals offers to important areas such as research – including more opportunities to conduct the clinical trials that, when successful, can lead to improved patient care. He also addressed patient concerns about what happens when smaller hospitals are absorbed into big systems.

Between Dr. Megerian’s presentation and the Q&A session led afterward by Monica Robins, the senior health correspondent for WKYC, an hour passed quickly. The CEO finished by urging students in the audience to think beyond specialties and rotations to larger topics: How can they help more people get access to health care? How can they help improve population health?

The next VITALS event will feature Hal Paz, M.D., EVP and Chancellor for Health Affairs at The Ohio State University and CEO of Wexner Medical Center. The webinar will be Thursday, April 1, at 5 p.m.

Listen to the March 4 VITALS webinar with Cliff Megerian, M.D.

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