Meet Elizabeth Ransom, M.D., FACS, Providence Oregon’s new CMO

Author: Kevin Olson, M.D., chief executive, Clinical Programs, Providence Oregon

Elizabeth Ransom, M.D., FACS, became Oregon’s new chief medical officer March 14, 2022. Her health care leadership background includes a focus on clinical excellence through quality improvement, physician engagement and patient experience. She most recently served as chief physician executive of Baptist Health Jacksonville. Prior to that she served as executive vice president and clinical leader for the north zone of Texas Health Resources, a large, integrated health system in North Texas.

Dr. Ransom is an otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon. She received her training at:

  • McGill University, Montreal, Canada: Bachelor of Science in microbiology and immunology

  • Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan

  • Henry Ford Health System: internship in general surgery, residency in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery

Harvard University: certificate, Program for Clinical Excellence

Questions and answers:

Dr. Kevin Olson and Dr. Elizabeth Ransom

Kevin: How are you settling into being a new Oregonian?

Elizabeth: So far so good! We moved into our home in the South Waterfront area in Portland. We love that area, especially how walkable it is.

Kevin: Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

Elizabeth: I grew up on Long Island, I’m married (Scott Ransom, M.D., an ob-gyn and health care consultant), and we have three grown children. I love spending time with my family, wherever that might be. I’m a runner and climber, and what I really love about Oregon is all the hiking and how close it all is.

Kevin: Why did you choose to come to Providence?

Elizabeth: I knew about Providence’s national reputation for quality and excellence, and I kept hearing about the culture here. When I came here for the interviews, it was palpable. Everyone I’ve met is so collegial, caring and committed to their work and each other. I’m thrilled to be here.

Kevin: What are your top priorities in your new role as CMO?

Elizabeth: (1) I’d like to continue integrating as a region and create strong connectivity between the CMOs at the different ministries; (2) create opportunities for best-in-class sharing and best practices; (3) collaborate with our nursing colleagues to get the best outcomes possible; and (4) partner with our providers to remove barriers so that their work is easier and more enjoyable.

Kevin: I know quality is a major area of emphasis in your career as a health care leader. Can you tell us about that?

Elizabeth: Quality definitely is a major priority for me. I co-edited The Healthcare Quality Book: Vision, Strategies and Tools, and the fifth edition is coming out in July. That textbook is used in all top 20 Master of Health Administration programs in the country. Quality and safety are at the core of everything we do as health care leaders. We need to have an unwavering commitment to that. Here at Providence, I’m excited to help reinvigorate our commitment to being a high reliability organization.

Kevin: How do you plan to help Providence address provider burnout and stress?

Elizabeth: Providers have been under tremendous stress, especially the last two years. It really takes a toll. I plan to be heavily focused on provider wellness. Right now, we’re in the process of developing a regional strategic plan to improve provider wellness. We need to give all providers and caregivers the resources they require to be successful. The resources need to be interactive and bidirectional – so providers aren’t the ones always having to reach out for support. We already have some good provider wellness initiatives and programs, and now is a good time to leverage and organize those to benefit as many providers as possible. We want physicians to have a fulfilling, enjoyable, joyful place to work where they feel rewarded every day.

Kevin: What do you see as the main challenges for providers and health care today?

Elizabeth: Providers continue to be under extreme duress and pressure because of the pandemic, and they’re having to find new ways to practice in that environment. Our challenge and our calling are to find new approaches to how we function as physicians and as a health care system.

Kevin: What has been an especially satisfying experience in your health care career?

Elizabeth: When I was working in Texas, I helped start a medical mission in Tanzania. Several of us traveled there to set up a clinic in a small village. There was no electricity or running water. I got to see the new clinic’s first patient, a woman in labor who had stopped feeling her baby move. My husband was on the trip and is an ob-gyn, so we called him in. I was the labor coach. The baby was delivered but wasn’t doing well. But we happened to have a neonatologist on the trip as well! He resuscitated the baby, and she screamed and pinked up. After that, I was the lactation coach. The mom asked me my name, and they named the baby Elizabeth. The ob-gyn and neonate docs deserved all the credit, but they were both men – so the baby was named after me. It was pretty cool.

About the Author

The Pulse content team focuses on bringing you the latest in clinical news from our world-class medical providers and physician leaders.

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