ROB BROOKS, 40

Chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer and ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent Er­langer Health Sys­tem

Modern Healthcare - - 2015 UP & COMERS - —Me­lanie Evans

Rob Brooks’ pur­suit of an in­tel­lec­tual chal­lenge and the chance to help oth­ers is the thread that ties to­gether an oth­er­wise di­verse healthcare ca­reer.

Brooks be­gan his ca­reer in healthcare af­ter wit­ness­ing a car ac­ci­dent as a cadet fire­fighter. The ex­pe­ri­ence was for­ma­tive: Brooks went on to be­come an emer­gency med­i­cal tech­ni­cian, crit­i­cal-care nurse and flight nurse.

But he was in­trigued, too, by the chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove oper­a­tions. Brooks veered into man­age­ment and brought with him an abil­ity to work closely with doc­tors and nurses, a valu­able skill that has im­proved am­bu­la­tory and hos­pi­tal oper­a­tions for his em­ploy­ers, in­clud­ing Er­langer.

“He has a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the pa­tient, a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of physi­cians,” said Kevin Spiegel, CEO of Chat­tanooga, Tenn.-based Er­langer. Brooks in­ter­acts well with doc­tors and un­der­stands “what makes their lives eas­ier, what makes their lives more dif­fi­cult.”

Spiegel worked pre­vi­ously with Brooks and re­cruited him to Er­langer, where Brooks aided the de­vel­op­ment of the Er­langer Re­gional Oper­a­tions Cen­ter, which co­or­di­nates am­bu­lance and emer­gency air traf­fic across 11 Ten­nessee and three Ge­or­gia coun­ties, as well as re­fer­rals to Er­langer hos­pi­tals.

Brooks ac­knowl­edges he misses work­ing in clin­i­cal care and the op­por­tu­nity to save lives, but says his work now sup­ports doc­tors and nurses who do life-sav­ing work.

“He has a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the pa­tient, a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of physi­cians.” —Kevin Spiegel, CEO

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