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MHA Alum Brianna Clare Attributes Empathy, Innovation to Early Career Rise

Brianna Clare (MHA 2018) is Population Health Director for Oak Street Health, a  network of nationwide value-based primary care centers for adults on Medicare. 

At Clare’s leadership in the Phoenix, Arizona network of Oak Street Health facilities, the focus is placed on quality of care over volume of services and assumes the full financial risk of its patients. Previously, Clare led departments that helped optimize access for patients during a 3-year rise through the administrative ranks of Cleveland Clinic, where she began her post-graduate career as an administrative fellow.

Brianna Clare, MHA 2018
Brianna Clare, MHA 2018.

For Clare, gaining the most well-rounded career experiences throughout healthcare has been the best way to grow and learn. 

While working on opposite ends of the healthcare spectrum from specialty care to value-based care, Clare has learned not only how to adapt, but how to understand the patients, providers, and fellow administrators.

Clare explained being comfortable with the unknown and that as a leader you don’t always have the answers. 

“You just have to be nimble and adaptable,” she said. “Being adaptable because you’re working in such an ambiguous environment is key.”

Being a leader in the healthcare administration space also means for Clare that the lessons never stop because every organization has different minds that offer an unlimited potential for collaboration and innovation.

Clare’s focus on empathy toward each other and for the situation, allows for a more comfortable learning environment.

Working through the ambiguity of healthcare systems and displaying empathy is something Clare stresses as a core competency for MHA students or early-career professionals in a similar space.

“You truly have to be empathetic because you’re working with people whose day-to-day lives are very different (from) yours and you have to understand that.”

Clare stressed the importance of ‘emotional intelligence’ as it relates to having analytical skills, coming to conclusions, providing thoughtful feedback and making sure there is space for learning. 

In a managerial role, or administrative role, Clare notes that “managing people is complex,” and when presenting data and solutions to keep in mind the experiences that the providers have lived through, as it relates to the data.

“It empowers them, it shows them that I respect what they do every day and it gives them the opportunity to provide feedback,” she said.

While at Saint Louis University, Clare was able to put to practice these ideas through case competitions and other learning experiences.

Clare explained that, specifically, the NAHSE Case Competition during her time at SLU helped her focus on the ideas around social determinants of health and innovation.

“We have to be innovative,” she said. “Even though we focus on health care we have to figure out how to incorporate social determinants of health and that’s what we’re doing now in my current role and I love it.”

College for Public Health and Social Justice

The Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice is the only academic unit of its kind, studying social, environmental and physical influences that together determine the health and well-being of people and communities. It also is the only accredited school or college of public health among nearly 250 Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States. Guided by a mission of social justice and focus on finding innovative and collaborative solutions for complex health problems, the college offers nationally recognized programs in public health and health administration.