Leadership, Beginning to End

Leadership, Beginning to End

By Patricia M. Davidson

Cambia Health Solutions CEO Mark Ganz is a machine, a tireless advocate of health care that is relentlessly human, particularly when it comes to palliative care and the end-of-life experience.

However, too many of us on the East Coast might have been unaware of his tremendous leadership through an organization in the Pacific Northwest. Gladly, that is changing—largely by the force of Mark’s will, commitment to person-centered care, and persuasive arguments. And health care will be the better for it.

Set to address our 2018 School of Nursing graduates, their families, friends, and supporters this week, Mark has been speaking nurses’ language for some time now. He is a staunch advocate of health care practices that recognize and utilize our amazing technological advances while keeping human interaction—patients, families, and providers—always in the driver’s seat in palliative care. It’s not simply “what can be done for the patient?”

What does the patient want? What does the patient fear? What needs have been unspoken?

“No matter how much technology you have, it’s always human interaction that will matter most,” he insists. So true.

As head of Cambia Health Solutions, Mark has fought to make health care more empathetic, transparent, and economically sustainable. Since 2007, the Cambia Health Foundation has invested more than $58 million to advance person-focused and family-oriented care.

Our family at Johns Hopkins has been touched by this generosity. Assistant Professor Valerie Cotter of the School of Nursing, an expert in guiding patients and families through a dementia diagnosis, is a Cambia Scholar, as colleagues at the School of Medicine have been in the past.

So it is a thrill to have Mark among us this week, to see where our perspectives meet and where we might learn from each other.

Leadership is one of our greatest resources as nurses, and we treasure it in others. It is no longer news that the nation’s older population is growing, or that palliative care’s importance has increased alongside that. And it is also richly rewarding to provide excellent, human-centered care at the palliative and end-of-life stages.

How wonderful to have someone like Mark Ganz leading the cheers.


trish_blog-shotPatricia M. Davidson, PhD, MEd, RN, is dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and a fellow of the Australian College of Nursing, the American Heart Association, the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, and the American Academy of Nursing. She is counsel general of the International Council on Women’s Health Issues and actively involved in the international activities of Sigma Theta Tau International. Follow her on Twitter (@nursingdean).

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