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Building Transformative Teams

Surgeon sees department-wide benefits from MMHC

Gaelyn Garrett
Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Otolaryngology, Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt MM Health Care 2015

As she puts it, Dr. Gaelyn Garrett wears several hats at Vanderbilt. As Senior Executive Medical Director of the Vanderbilt Voice Center, she oversees five physicians and five voice speech-language pathologists and directs a fellowship training program. Within Vanderbilt University Medical Center, she’s Medical Director of the Ambulatory Surgery POD, which encompasses much of otolaryngology, ophthalmology and plastic and reconstructive surgery. She’s also a Medical Director with the Medical Economics and Outcomes Committee within Supply Chain Operations. And, on top of everything else, she served last year as President of the American Laryngological Association.

While she says that her career focus as an academic physician and surgeon is extremely rewarding, Dr. Garrett wanted to pursue more formal education in health care management and she has found the MMHC program both “intensive” and “refreshing.”

Along with the business knowledge she gained, Dr. Garrett values the program’s emphasis on “team problem solving.” Medicine, she explains, “is mostly practiced individually. Those of us interested in helping shape the future of health care delivery must have teamwork skills, and the MMHC fosters development and application of these skills.

As the fourth physician from her department to enroll in the program, Dr. Garrett has seen what she regards as a transformation. “I have witnessed the growth of my colleagues, who were already outstanding clinicians,” she says. “And I have seen our department broaden our educational focus to include team building and growth in leadership and management skills for our resident physicians and faculty.”

Dr. Garrett also believes that, because of the program, her future opportunities will increase. “But whether or not my degree changes my career path within medicine,” she says, “I have no doubt that it will make what I currently do significantly better.”