Nonprofit Christus Health appoints new leaders
Becker’s Hospital Review
reports that Christus Health, an international Catholic, faith-based, nonprofit health system, has restructured its leadership team to help position itself for future growth.
The Irving, Texas-based organization’s executive council now includes the following members:
- Ernie Sadau, who became president and chief executive officer March 1;
- Gene Woods as executive vice president and chief operating officer;
- Jeff Puckett as senior VP and chief strategy, business development and performance integration officer;
- Linda McClung as SVP and chief administrative officer; and
- Mary Lynch as SVP and chief governance, sponsorship and mission officer.
Christus Health is composed of almost 350 services and facilities, including more than 50 hospitals and long-term care facilities; 175 clinics and outpatient centers; and dozens of other ventures and health ministries.
The nonprofit’s services are found in more than 60 cities in Texas, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Georgia and Mexico.
Speaking with DailyVista Abby Lowe, director of communications and public affairs, discussed how these executive shifts will help position Christus Health
as a “lead changer.”
DailyVista: What does the future of Christus Health look like with its new executive council in place?
Abby Lowe: Well, it’s an exciting time just to be in healthcare. We see many opportunities to continue improving the care we provide and find new delivery models for that care. We’re moving forward to focus on keeping people healthy both in and outside our facilities, and it’s a great time to be in such a dynamic industry.
Change is coming for all of us in the healthcare industry, and we have the ability to become a “lead changer.” Ernie Sadau, our new CEO, likes to remind us that in tough races like the Tour de France, the lead changes in the uphill stages. Healthcare as a whole is in one of those stages.
It’s Ernie’s job to prepare Christus to become that “lead changer,” and he is very focused on simplicity as one way to accomplish that – something that, admittedly, the healthcare industry has not typically been good at. We’re looking forward to the future and creating new ways to serve our patients, residents, consumers, associates, physicians and community members more effectively and provide the high-quality, compassionate care we are known for to as many people as possible.
DailyVista: What are Christus's short- and long-term growth goals?
Abby Lowe: In the short term, our new executive council will focus on making our strategies for the future simpler and easier to understand. They will also be charged with transitioning smoothly into their new positions, and building a new culture and a new structure that will allow us to better serve our customers and position us well to maintain and enhance our position of strength and continue fulfilling our mission.
In the long term, we will focus on fulfilling our organization’s vision, which is to be “leaders, partners and advocates in creating health and wellness solutions that improve the lives of individuals and communities so that all may experience God’s healing presence and love.”
This means we will have to focus on providing care across a full continuum – from the hospital to the home – and we may need to lead that process or partner with others to ensure our communities continue to have access to seamless care services. We will also have to change our ideas about how care is delivered, and become innovators not just in the sickness business, but in providing wellness solutions. And we will have to focus on something we call our five key strategic drivers.
DailyVista: What are these five key strategic drivers?
Abby Lowe: When Christus was formed 12 years ago, our leaders quickly formed a Futures Task Force that looked ahead 10 years to predict what our organization, the healthcare industry and the world would look like. That resulted in some strategies and plans that prepared us well for shifts in all those areas.
In 2007, Christus again embarked on another Futures Task Force that delivered five key strategic drivers that will guide us in the future:
- Align our portfolio;
- Focus on the “core of the pyramid;”
- Aggregate services;
- Harness the new power of technology to further our vision; and
- Strengthen our international ministries (Christus Muguerza in Mexico operates in six Mexican states).
We know that while they may need to be tweaked and fine-tuned as our markets grow and change and as healthcare reform continues to take shape, we believe they will help ensure our success in the future.
DailyVista: How will the changes within the executive council affect Christus’s marketing efforts?
Abby Lowe: These appointments do not affect our marketing efforts. Linda McClung, who continues to lead marketing and communications, retained leadership of those areas. Our new CEO, Ernie, does have very strong beliefs about the value of communicating to influence and not just to inform.
We have been working with him at the system level and also out in our regions (Christus has 12 regions across the country that have their own leadership structure) to refine our communication and focus on the most critical messages. We’re helping our regional leaders and marketers focus as well on simplifying their communications and getting to the core of what they need to communicate.
DailyVista: What are the primary marketing channels that Christus uses to get its message out?
Abby Lowe: I feel the need to draw a distinction here between Christus Health at the system level and the regional level. Each of our regions is empowered to invest in the marketing channels and media that are important and effective in their specific community, and they run the gamut. We’re in markets as diverse as Lake Charles, Louisiana; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Monterrey, Mexico, so the marketing in each of those regions is, of course, going to be different.
At the system level of Christus Health, we invest in media that help us reach international stakeholders, whether they are legislators, regulators, Church leaders or leaders of national healthcare associations. That includes participation at key conferences as well as investing in social and traditional media.
DailyVista: Are social media and other online initiatives playing an increasingly important role in Christus's strategy?
Abby Lowe: Absolutely. We’re very interested in investing in tools that allow us to engage members of our community and work with them on living healthier, fuller lives.
DailyVista: Does Christus have certain audiences that it tries to reach?
Abby Lowe: As previously mentioned, our local leaders and marketers define the right marketing and communication strategies that are best suited to achieve their individual business goals and objectives, always keeping our customers' needs at the heart of our efforts.
DailyVista: Does Christus Health try to attract sponsors within each of its different regions?
Abby Lowe: We are always interested in speaking with and investigating relationships with others who share our vision and can align with our mission.
DailyVista: Does Christus Health work with any marketing agencies?
Abby Lowe: At the system level, Christus Health works with various agencies depending on the project and timeline. Our regions contract with different agencies.
DailyVista: Is Christus Health open to approaches from additional agencies?
Abby Lowe: No, we do not need additional support. We have long-term relationships with agencies that understand and align with our mission and values.
The List database was unable to identify which agencies Christus currently works with at the corporate and regional levels.
The Nielsen Company reported that the nonprofit allocated $1.8 million towards measured media in 2010. About $440,000 went towards outdoor ads, about $430,000 went towards spot television ads and about $390,000 went towards local magazine ads.
6363 North Highway 161
Irving, TX 75038
President & Chief Executive Officer
Senior Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer
System Director, Marketing & Communications
Senior Vice President & Chief Governance, Sponsorship & Mission Officer