On any given year, healthcare executives must work out how to overcome many diverse and complex challenges to improve the health of patients and the population. 2020 brought its own set of challenges that required this industry to rise and meet the increased demand, as well as answer the complex question of how to effectively fight the fast-spreading transmission of coronavirus.
The path towards executive positions in healthcare is one of the most difficult for women to navigate. While they make up nearly 65% of the healthcare workforce, only an average of 30% of C-suite positions are held by women. This kind of industry leadership requires skills specific to the health care environment, and this is the perfect time to showcase the expertise, skill and confidence women can bring to the table.
Judy Rich, President and CEO of TMC Healthcare, started her career by receiving an undergraduate degree in nursing from New York’s Roberts Wesleyan College and a graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Since then, she has held roles that range from staff nurse to management positions at St. Mary’s Hospital in Palm Beach, Florida, for 15 years and served as chief operating officer at Wellmont Health System, in Kingsport, Tennessee, before moving to Tucson in 2003.
She was chief operating officer for Tucson Medical Center until 2005 and joined The Bard Group in Boston as a senior consultant, with a focus on physician engagement in large academic medical centers. Upon returning to Tucson Medical Center in June 2007, Rich led the hospital in a financial turnaround and was officially named president and CEO in 2009.
This combination of nursing experience and proven leadership make Judy an ideal problem-solver in healthcare and we aren’t the only ones who think so. Last month Rich was named 2020 Woman of the Year by Greater Tucson Leadership.
“It's true that she is the president and chief executive of one of Southern Arizona's largest private employers. But at her core, she is a nurse. While Judy is still extremely invested in what happens at the bedside, she is also extremely invested in the health of the community she calls home. Judy still wants to help others heal, to ease their suffering, to honor each person's uniqueness in what may be a vulnerable time. But now, that compassion goes beyond the hospital walls and deep into our community."
Her community involvement is just as extensive as her career. She has served on the boards of the American Hospital Association, Vizient West Coast and the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, and is past chair of the Arizona Hospital & Healthcare Association. She is also past chair of the United Way Campaign for Tucson and Southern Arizona, and she previously served on the boards of VHA National, EMERGE! Center Against Domestic Abuse and the executive advisory council of United Healthcare. Additionally, Rich is a member of the Chairman's Circle of Sun Corridor Inc.
“She just has this compassion for the mission of the field in taking care of people. It sounds silly, but sometimes we lose that in the business aspect of health care. She really lives and breathes that.” – Greg Vigdor, the president and CEO of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association
Judy has always been passionate about the patients and the community she serves, and she makes sure TMC’s programs reflect that. For example, the hospital has on-site Spanish interpreters to better serve Spanish-speaking patients - a group which has been disproportionately impacted by the virus.
Besides the statistics we mentioned above highlighting most health care workers as women, women are generally the family caretakers and make most of the health care decisions for families. Women may also have unique advantages as leaders, such as humility, relationship-building skills, thirst for challenge, ability to collaborate, and a strong desire to improve the health care system. Judy Rich’s impact on the healthcare and local Tucson community is a strong example of those skills, and that is exactly why we need more women leaders in healthcare.
Thank you, Judy, for your hard work and #LeadHership during this challenging time.