Women in Healthcare Q&A: Dr. Rhonda Medows, EVP Population Health at PSJH

We had a chance to sit down with Dr. Medows, who is the EVP of Population Health at Providence St. Joseph Health, to learn more about her career path, and the advice she has for women working in the healthcare industry.

As another great resource for advice, Dr. Medows also gave a presentation at Providence, where she recapped her career and shared the lessons she learned along the way:

What excites you about this industry?

The combination of tremendous opportunity to be better and the responsibility to positively impact so many lives

Who have been your biggest influences? How did they affect the work you do today? How did they shape your career path?

- My mother and grandmother who both started with little in life and then successfully built careers and strong families with grace

- The nurses who provided health care and support for me and my family when I was a child

- My high school Spanish teacher who researched ways to help me get into Cornell University early at age 16 and supported my dream.

If you had one piece of advice for women in the workforce today, what would it be?

Do not limit yourself to one piece of advice or strategy, we are multidimensional beings working in a complex, changing world.

Here are the “top 10 lessons” I have learned. I hope they are helpful to you:

1. WHAT IS YOUR PASSION? Think about “what do you want to do” versus

“what do you want to be when you grow up?”

2. Know what you know and what you don’t.

3. Learn what you NEED to know and make time to Explore what you WANT to know.

4. “You Do You”: But first know yourself — this is an ongoing adventure:

Self-reflect, meditate, review your resume, LinkedIn, social media (does it reflect who you are?).

5. Meet people — understand your style/personality, find the opportunities and go!

This means both people who are like you and people who seem different

6. Say “Yes”…to new opportunities, challenges, teams and organizations. Step out of your comfort zone.

7. “Time Share Leadership:” Understand that sometimes you lead and sometimes you follow.

8. Choose your battles. Decide what’s really important. Double check your perception before doubling down. For those things you believe in and prioritized, be brave — Stand up & Speak up

9. Don’t let others define you

10. DREAM Big & Often

What’s your greatest success story?

Positively influencing public policy and ensuring with my team successes in health care — especially for the poor and vulnerable. This includes advocacy, safeguarding funding for Medicaid programs, developing new health and social services programs, and introducing new innovations improve health care delivery and health improvement, as well as watching people I have mentored become very successful in life and business.

What about your greatest failure or struggle? How has that changed or shaped you?

Struggle: Making changes takes an enormous amount of time and patience working with people who have a variety of goals and agendas.

Over time this reality has helped me learn:

- To see and plan for the long term and celebrate incremental wins.

- To start each day reenergized — “tomorrow is another day”

- To be more inclusive and seek out new people, ideas, solutions that will help us achieve our ultimate goals.

- How to use a combination of information, knowledge, experience with humor and storytelling to strengthen relationships with stakeholders.

- How to balance the important things we can change or impact now and continuing to work on others.

What strengths can women bring into this industry?

The same we can bring to anything we choose to do:

* Strength

* Knowledge

* Experience

* Innovation

* Strategic Thinking

*Tenacity

  • Execution and Outcomes: We get things done

As another great resource for advice, Dr. Medows also gave a presentation at Providence, where she recapped her career shared the lessons she learned along the way:

click here to watch Dr. Medows’ presentation