Welcome to the thirty-sixth episode of The Gap Minders! Today, we are honored to chat with Christian Wallis, the remarkable CEO of the Grossmont Healthcare District!Listen to “Episode 36 | Christian Wallis, CEO, Grossmont Healthcare District” on Spreaker.
In this excellent episode touching upon the healthcare challenges in delivering services to urban, suburban and rural areas, Nancy and Jose are joined in studio by Christian Wallis, the CEO of the Grossmont Healthcare District, which started in 1952, with Grossmont Hospital having opened in 1955. Christian, the CEO since May 2021, brings a long and deep reservoir of expertise to Grossmont, including 20 years as a Naval Officer. In fact, Christian credits the Navy for much of his leadership and management style. He makes a point of mentioning his “raised by Chiefs” perspective in how he learned the importance of listening to and learning from his Senior and Master Chiefs – an informed and deferential style of leadership which has served him well in leading civilian enterprises. No doubt it is serving the citizens of the Grossmont Healthcare District well, a District covering 500,000 souls and 750 square miles, from urban La Mesa to suburban Alpine to the rural mountain areas of East San Diego County.
It is the diversity of the region served which creates the lens by which Christian sees the challenges, whether it is access to general medicine, childcare, testing kit availability, or more significant healthcare needs requiring citizens to come down the mountain into Grossmont Hospital (now operated by Sharp through a public-private partnership since 1991).
We also learned quite a bit about the strategic mindset driving Christian’s long-term views as he thinks about the pipeline which must get built between the middle schools and high schools and healthcare job opportunities. He points out that we know we need and will always need more respiratory therapists, nurses, certified nurse assistants, and surgical techs, so it is essential that we build the career pathways for students interested in these critical professions.
Quite an excellent episode and conversation on healthcare. Here are some other amazing takeaways from the interview with Christian Wallis:
- The importance of the working relationship between his lean organization and the many community partners in delivering services
- A discussion on the social determinants of health care outcomes
- Excellent leadership advice from his military experience
- The trade-offs being made by many citizens when it comes to accessing and paying for healthcare, whether it is insurance through work, deductible levels, premiums, and various other competing needs
- The answers to the Rapid Fire questions!
A truly informative, educational, and impactful interview from a phenomenal gap minder. Thank you, Christian, for your contributions to helping make 500,000 San Diegans a better community, and for joining us on The Gap Minders.
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