August 9, 2002
Ann E. Bradley Honored by St. Louis Business Journal
ST. LOUIS -- Attorney, researcher, nurse … Ann E. Bradley has worn many professional hats during her lifetime, and has made an impact at every new stage of her career. Now she can add "business woman" to that list of accomplishments.
Bradley, associate general counsel for Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center and SLUCare, recently was named by the St. Louis Business Journal one of the 25 most influential business women in the city. The issue hits newsstands Friday, Aug. 9.
According to the Business Journal, the Most Influential Business Women Awards recognize "25 remarkable women who excel in careers in the business arena. [W]inners illustrate the breadth of talent and achievement among St. Louis-area women."
Bradley, a former nurse who never has thought of herself as a business woman per se, said she was pleasantly surprised - and honored - by the accolade.
"I was not expecting this," she said. However, she conceded Saint Louis University is a non-profit business that plays a major role in the city of St. Louis and beyond. "Saint Louis University is a major player in the region, and one of the oldest and finest institutions in the city. It gives back so much to midtown. And SLUCare is a primary healthcare provider for the city of St. Louis."
Her colleagues said Bradley's intelligence, ambition and humor mark her as a natural for the award.
"She is indeed an 'influential woman,'" said Robert Heaney, M.D., associate dean of graduate medical education at SLU School of Medicine. "Her contributions in educating faculty, staff and students at all levels about medicine and the law have proved invaluable for the medical school," he said.
Said Michael J. Meyer, chief operating officer of SLUCare, "She is quite sensitive to and attuned to the business demands and challenges facing academic health centers in general and SLUCare specifically. Her spirit of collegiality and demonstrated leadership ability has established her as a recognized advocate for the University Medical Group."
Bradley began her career as a nurse, first at the burn and cardiac rehabilitation center at St. John Mercy Medical Center -where she also worked as both a staff and patient educator-and later at Saint Louis University as a cardiac catheterization specialist. At 34, Bradley decided to become a lawyer. She worked in the University's cardiac catheterization laboratory and vaccine research center while attending law school and raising three young children. After receiving her degree, she worked in professional liability litigation at Armstrong Teasdale L.L.P before taking her current post in November 2000.
She said that becoming associate general counsel for the Health Sciences Center and physician's group was a logical next step for her.
"Having the medical background is invaluable, because it allows me to talk to physicians on their level," Bradley said. She joked, "I can speak medicalese and legalese."
Dr. Heaney and Meyer agreed Bradley's background as a nurse has made her a natural fit for her job. However, just as important have been her natural people skills and analytical abilities, they said.
"Ann seems to love thorny problems," Dr. Heaney said. "One of her talents is being able to quickly grasp complex issues, then, with humor and candor, bring people together for resolutions."
In fact, people skills and good communication are two of the virtues Bradley preaches constantly as associate general counsel.
Soon after taking her post, she began an ambitious risk-management campaign, instituting regular education sessions and routine departmental audits. She also developed a 15-minute risk management curriculum and developed an online risk management educational tool for physicians.
Risk-management strategies can be as simple as "just being human," Bradley said.
"There's a link between good communication techniques and good patient care," she said. "Sometimes it's as simple as being able to say 'I'm sorry.'"
Bradley, who currently serves as president of the St. Louis Association of Healthcare Risk Managers, said risk management will continue to be a top priority for her.
"Along with insurance rates, the cost of going to court has significantly increased," she said. "It says something about our society. We've become immune to what the dollar amounts granted as verdicts mean."
While her first goal is to prevent lawsuits by being proactive, Bradley says she feels confident when she does have to represent her clients in courts.
"Saint Louis University and SLUCare are respected in the community without a doubt," she concluded. "I'd walk into a courtroom with our name and our doctors any day."