One advantage for getting that buy-in is the hospital’s mission. People came to work for the hospital in order to help children, so Allen makes sure he ties the direction that management thinks it need to go with that founding mission.
And while sometimes people will underestimate how far Nationwide Children’s can go once it decides to take something on, Allen has a response to that.
“I just point to the recent past,” he says. “I say, OK, let’s look at what we’ve done in the south side, our community, around the hospital. Look what we’ve done with research. Look what we’ve done with tech commercialization. This is a place that makes stuff happen.”
The Allen File:
Name: Dr. Steve Allen
Company: Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Born: Abilene, Texas
Education: M.D., University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; MBA, University of Houston-Clear Lake
What was your first job and what did you learn from it? I was an orderly in an intensive care unit.
From my first memories, I knew I was going to be a physician. I never considered doing anything else — that was part of the reason why I left college after three years and went straight to medical school; I knew what I was going to go do. As a child I had read a lot about medicine and biomedical research. When I became an orderly I had an idea about what disease was about and how people thought about disease, but I didn’t appreciate how patients perceived their disease.
Working as an orderly and taking care of these critically ill patients, it gave me a much greater insight into how people perceive their illness, which I found invaluable and something that I’ve continued to be fascinated with throughout the years that I’ve been in medicine.
What led you to go from being a doctor to getting into management? It was never part of a plan. I was a very typical academic physician. I taught. I took care of patients. I did research.
I got asked to start doing some administrative work part time, and then I started doing more and more of it because I liked it. I found it very stimulating and something where I found I could make a contribution.