Courage, Collaboration, and Impact

August 04, 2014


Sunita Mutha, MD FACP
Professor of Clinical Medicine
Director of the Center for the Health Professions
University of California, San Francisco

The accelerating pace of change in health care creates a great urgency to act in order to meet the challenge of delivering accessible, effective, and efficient care. As these changes swirl around us, generated by our actions and organizations, it is important to stay focused on the values guiding our work.  

In the past year, we at the Center have had many conversations about values with our partners, funders, and leadership training participants. There are a few themes that have stood out: courage, collaboration, and impact.

means making tough decisions, taking smart risks, and questioning actions that may be expedient, but are inconsistent with our values. Easier said than done, especially when the stakes are high and the need to act is driven by short-term financial realities. Every day, we hear stories from leaders in the field, many of them graduates of our leadership programs, about the difficult decisions they face in their work. In this month’s leadership profile, new Yolo County Mental Health Director Karen Larsen describes how understaffing, provoked by the economic downturn, may have inadvertently compromised patient safety and public resources—and how her organization sought to turn this situation around. When she says that the Clinic Leadership Institute “gave me the confidence to speak up for those who could not speak up for themselves,” we start to feel the real power of our leadership programs in connecting and empowering health care leaders to make change.

is easy to agree with in principle, not necessarily easy to do. Acting solo feels easier and more efficient. Long-term, however, collaboration often results in better solutions, more meaningful impact, and greater personal and professional satisfaction for those involved. In this month’s newsletter, we highlight a report produced by a partnering organization, the Brookings Institution, which acknowledges the Center’s Innovative Workforce Models in Health Care project. The Innovative Models project, funded by the Hitachi Foundation, has led to new collaborations and refreshed existing connections with researchers around the country, including the Center’s participation in the Washington, DC roundtable that produced this report. Working together, we hope to better understand the growing frontline workforce in health care, and how this workforce can transform health care in a positive way that will improve access and quality of care.

Acting through courage and collaboration, we strive to make a meaningful impact in transforming health care. This transformation requires that everyone performs at the top of their scope and skill set and that learning is shared within and across organizations. The Center’s leadership programs bring together leaders within and across sectors, and within and across disciplines, to learn and grow and address the challenges of today’s changing health care landscape. Our research helps us to understand and measure the dimensions of change, from workforce projections to exploration of new practice models. Our research is informed by our leadership training program participants, and vice versa. Our collaborations bring us together to discuss our options and learn, giving us the courage to make the informed decisions we need to create positive impact. 
These are some of the values that are driving the Center’s work both internally and externally. In the coming month, we will be sharing more information with you about these values and how we strive to achieve our mission and vision.


Of Interest

Each month Sunita Mutha writes an article on a timely and relevant issue. Check back here next month for the latest hot topic.
Want to ask Sunita a question or give her your feedback? Contact her at:
Click here to review the Center's latest project on Scopes of Practice.