Podcast Episode

The Recovering Doctor: Robert Lamberts, MD

Dr. Rob Lamberts is a primary care physician in Augusta GA, where he has practiced since 1994. He practiced “traditional” fee-for-service medicine until 2012, when he left his old practice and started, Dr. Rob Lamberts, LLC, a direct primary care practice. Since that time he has grown the practice to over 800 patients and has recently allied with three other providers locally to build a network of direct primary care (Welcome Health Network) to market services to local businesses.

Dr. Rob has always been interested in practice innovations, first focusing on the use of computer technology to improve care. This resulted in his practice receiving the Davies Award for Primary Care from the Health Information Systems Society (HIMSS) in 2003. The culmination of his interest in practice innovation came in 2013, when he opened his current practice using the direct primary care model. This model freed him from the constraints of the insurance payment system and allowed innovation with a high focus on care quality.

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The Businessman: Hetal Thakore, MD, MBA

Dr. Hetal Thakore is a pioneer in hospital medicine having taken on the role of hospitalist administrator at the Medical College of Georgia immediately after finishing his internal medicine training at that institution. And over the next 17 years, he refined and expanded that role. Today, he Medical Director of Burn Medicine and the Associate Medical Director of Acute Rehabilitation for Doctor’s Hospital of Agusta, he also owns and operates Minaxi, medical consulting company based in Augusta, Georgia.

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The Replacement: Niran Al-Agba, MD

Niran S. Al-Agba, MD is a third-generation primary care physician practicing for 20 years in her hometown. She began working in her father’s medical office on Saturdays when she was 9 and has done every job in a medical office that there is including receptionist, medical assistant, janitor, and all the way to physician owner. After graduating from Michigan State University with a BS in Lyman Briggs Physiology and History of Health and Humanities, she attended University of Washington School of Medicine, graduating in 1999. She completed internship and residency at Denver Childrens Hospital/University of Colorado SOM and returned home to work in her father’s practice in 2001 for a few months and then permanently in 2002.

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The Boss: Giovanni Piedimonte, MD, FAAP, FCCP

Dr. Piedimonte has more than 25 years of experience in the leadership and management of complex healthcare systems. He is currently the Vice President for Research and Institutional Official of Tulane University, a university-wide post responsible for overseeing all aspects of research across the institution. He also holds the academic appointment of Professor with Tenure in the Departments of Pediatrics, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology of Tulane School of Medicine. Previously, he held the Steven and Nancy Calabrese Endowed Chair for Excellence in Pediatric Care, Research and Education, and served in multiple leadership roles at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio, including Institute Chair of the Pediatric Institute, Physician-in-Chief of the Children’s Hospital, President of the Children’s Hospital for Rehabilitation, Professor & Chair of Pediatrics at the Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, Chief of Global Pediatric Research Operations, and Director of the Center for Pediatric Research. Before that, he served for more than 6 years as the first Wyeth Research Scholar, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at West Virginia University School of Medicine, and Physician-in-Chief of the WVU Children’s Hospital in Morgantown, WV.

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The Big Picture Leader: Ginger Renkiewicz, RN, BSN, MSBA

Ginger Renkiewicz is the Executive Vice President, Hospital Operations and Chief Operating Officer for UnityPoint Health-Trinity which consists of four full-service hospitals in Illinois and Iowa. She is an accomplished and respected organizational leader with experience in the delivery of quality patient-focused care. Able to combine industry-leading operations and nursing expertise with innovative and visionary leadership skills to deliver first-class results, she is a recognized problem solver and change agent capable of driving organizational level transformation. She is a talented communicator who is able to relay complex and highly technical information in a clear and concise manner. Her expertise encompasses Executive Leadership; Project Management; Hospital Operations; Financial Analysis; and Transformational Change.

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The Mindful Doc: Dael Waxman, MD

Dael Waxman, M.D. is a Professor of Family Medicine at Atrium Health in Charlotte, NC. Previously Interim Chair and Vice-Chair of the Department of Family Medicine, he continues on the faculty there as well as serves as the Medical Director of Physician Well-being for Medical Education for Atrium Health and Medical Director of Patient-Centered Programming at Atrium CMC-Mercy. In addition to his medical background, he has received training in and has been integrating family therapy, clinical hypnosis, mind/body medicine, mindfulness, and leadership coaching into teaching, practice, and faculty development for over 25 years. He has taught regionally, nationally, and internationally on: physician burnout and well-being, mindfulness in medicine, developing a patient and family-centered culture, family influences on health, physician-patient communication, and collaboration between mental health and primary care.

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The Disrupter: Leah Houston, MD

Dr. Leah Houston is the founder of HPEC, and a board-certified Emergency Physician. While practicing emergency medicine across the US for nearly 10 years she recognized a common problem: uncompensated administrative burdens related to physician employment and credentialing are a leading cause of administrative waste and physician burnout. She also realized that distributed ledger technology could solve the obstructive regulatory problems in healthcare by creating a decentralized community of physicians. So, she began working on the project and named it HPEC – the Humanitarian Physicians Empowerment Community.

HPEC is building a platform that will give every physician a self-sovereign digital identity attached to their credentials in order to create a democratic digital physicians guild. HPEC will streamline the current antiquated and laborious process of credentialing, reduce administrative waste, improve access to care and give physicians sovereign ownership of their data and employment rights. The organization will also create an opportunity for physicians to communicate more efficiently about policy, and practice in order to improve patient care.

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The Publisher: Marlene Wüst-Smith, MD, FAAP

Dr. Marlene Wüst-Smith is the founder and publisher of Physician Outlook Magazine, a print and online magazine that hopes to change the division between the once sacred physician and patient relationship. The magazine has a dual audience: its target reader is BOTH the physician and the patient, and it effectively humanizes and simplifies issues important to patients of all ages, demographics and political persuasions. She believes in supporting those who have been traditionally underserved. The Physician Outlook Magazine recently launched a job board where it hopes to promote opportunities for physicians at healthcare organizations that still believe in patients over profits while creating confidentiality and autonomy for the physician candidate.

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The Writer: Paul Pender, MD

Dr. Paul Pender is the author of Rebuilding Trust in Healthcare: A Doctor’s Prescription for a Post-Pandemic America. Drawing on his near 40-year career in clinical ophthalmology and his role as advisor to Vxtra Health, Dr. Pender offers an insider’s look at how trust develops between doctors and their patients. That trust has been eroded by internal and external factors, even before coronavirus, which has undermined that trust even further. His prescription for reform begins with the fundamental building block of healthcare: the patient-physician relationship. Rebuilding Trust uses a case presentation style to illustrate that by working from the bottom up, we can find solutions for better healthcare for patients, physicians and policy makers. His book is a message of hope in a time of uncertainty and will be released on September 20, 2020.

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The Storyteller: David Armstrong, DPM, MD, PhD

Dr. David Armstrong is Professor of Surgery at the University of Southern California. He holds a Masters of Science in Tissue Repair and Wound Healing from the University of Wales College of Medicine and a PhD from the University of Manchester College of Medicine, where he was appointed Visiting Professor of Medicine. He is founder and co-Director of the Southwestern Academic Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA) and has produced more than 520 peer-reviewed research papers in dozens of scholarly medical journals as well as over 90 books or book chapters. He is the co-Editor of the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Clinical Care of the Diabetic Foot, now in its third edition. Serving as the Deputy Director of Arizona’s Center for Accelerated Biomedical Innovation (ACABI), he is the co-founder of its “augmented human” initiative, which places him at the nexus of the merger of consumer electronics, wearables, and medical devices.

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