Of mis­sion and val­ues

Barker helped guide merger cre­at­ing In­di­ana sys­tem, backed fo­cus on ethics

Modern Healthcare - - Special Feature -

Judge Sarah Evans Barker’s life is about faith and fair­ness. She has worked stead­fastly to in­fuse those val­ues into her roles as a hos­pi­tal trustee and a judge for the U.S. District Court in In­di­anapo­lis, a po­si­tion she has held since 1984.

Barker, 67, joined the board of Methodist Hos­pi­tal, In­di­anapo­lis, in 1988. She then served on a task force that ne­go­ti­ated a merger be­tween Methodist and In­di­ana Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal Sys­tem in 1997. Since then, she has been a board mem­ber of the merged sys­tem, which was called Clar­ian Health un­til Jan­uary when the In­di­anapo­lis-based sys­tem changed its name to In­di­ana Univer­sity Health.

Why health­care? “I just thought it would give me a broader sense of how the world works,” Barker says, aid­ing her ju­di­cial de­ci­sion­mak­ing. In ad­di­tion, Barker says she also be­lieved it was “in­cum­bent” on her as a faith­ful Methodist to ac­cept the church’s re­quest that she serve on the hos­pi­tal board.

For her ac­com­plish­ments, Barker has been se­lected as the 2011 Trustee of the Year rep­re­sent­ing not-for-profit health­care sys­tems.

Dur­ing the merger ne­go­ti­a­tions that led to what is now In­di­ana Univer­sity Health, Barker in­sisted that the new sys­tem’s board of direc­tors not only in­clude a Val­ues, Ethics, So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity and Pas­toral Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, but that it be on “equal foot­ing” with other board com­mit­tees.

“I was fre­quent spokesper­son for the view that we have to be do­ing this (a merger) for good rea­sons—not just eco­nomic rea­sons. It has to be broader than that; deeper than that,” Barker re­calls. The com­mit­tee, which Barker has chaired since its in­cep­tion, over­sees hu­man re­sources, com­mu­nity outreach, eth­i­cal is­sues in clin­i­cal prac­tice and pas­toral ser­vices.

In ad­di­tion to the com­mit­tee, In­di­ana Univer­sity Health also has a se­nior vice pres­i­dent for val­ues, ethics, so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity and pas­toral

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