Ed­u­ca­tor has men­tored roughly 2,000 health­care ex­ecs

Modern Healthcare - - News - —Tara Ban­now

Ken White didn't plan to come out as gay at his in­au­gu­ral meet­ing as a board mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Health­care Ex­ec­u­tives. But nerves got the best of him at that 2004 gath­er­ing and, introducing him­self to the group, he in­ad­ver­tently said “he” while de­scrib­ing his part­ner.

The re­ac­tion wasn't what he ex­pected. Col­leagues praised his courage, and the blun­der ul­ti­mately strength­ened his re­solve to bring change to the or­ga­ni­za­tion from the in­side. Twelve years later, he founded ACHE's LGBT Fo­rum.

“I think they needed to be shaken up a lit­tle bit,” said White, as­so­ciate dean for strate­gic part­ner­ships and in­no­va­tion at the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia's School of Nurs­ing.

The ACHE has be­stowed upon White its 2019 Gold Medal Award for ad­vanc­ing the pro­fes­sion through his lead­er­ship as a re­searcher, au­thor and clin­i­cian.

White views his big­gest con­tri­bu­tion to ACHE as help­ing providers im­prove per­for­mance and qual­ity. He teaches ACHE con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion classes, has served on sev­eral task forces and has men­tored roughly 2,000 peo­ple who now serve in se­nior lead­er­ship roles. White said he works to in­still in health sys­tems a cul­ture of trans­for­ma­tion and re­spon­sive­ness to stake­hold­ers.

“From the house­keeper and the clean­ing per­son all the way up to the med­i­cal staff and the nurse prac­ti­tion­ers, they should all be able to iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties for im­prove­ment,” he said.

He also preaches the im­por­tance of us­ing met­rics to gauge qual­ity and safety and pro­tect­ing front­line care­givers against burnout.

White is cur­rently do­ing re­search fo­cused on pal­lia­tive and end-of-life care.

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