How Lived Experiences Creates a Servant Leader

October 13, 2023
Brian Urban


The evolution toward patient-centric care in healthcare isn’t merely a trend but a necessity underscored by compelling evidence. This shift, rooted in understanding the patient as a unique individual, has demonstrated significant benefits, including enhanced satisfaction, improved health outcomes, and decreased healthcare utilization​​. Central to this evolution is the emergence of the “servant leader” ethos, where leaders prioritize the needs and well-being of their community, acting as a catalyst for change. Armed with a blend of empathy and strategic foresight, the servant leader navigates the complex healthcare landscape, promoting a culture that values each patient’s unique needs and circumstances.

What makes a servant leader, and how do lived experiences mold such trailblazers in healthcare?

On Healthcare Rethink, a FinThrive Podcast, host Brian Urban spoke with Ellen Duffield, the President & CEO at Highmark Wholecare. Duffield unveiled her journey from personal experiences to professional endeavors in enhancing healthcare engagement.

Urban and Duffield’s conversation includes the following:

  • The significance of community engagement and understanding local healthcare needs
  • Addressing health equity by integrating a nuanced understanding of different communities
  • The transition from traditional healthcare engagement models to more effective community-centric approaches

Ellen Duffield, an alumnus of Temple University, initially aspired to be a lawyer but found her calling in healthcare, driven by personal family health challenges. Over the years, she ascended to a pivotal role at Highmark Wholecare, focusing on aligning healthcare services with community needs for better health outcomes.

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