As a child, AHA board member Marna Borgstrom, CEO of Yale New Haven Health and Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, went on house calls with her father, a community-based physician, and her siblings, both of whom now work in health care.
“There’s a long commitment in my family to health care and to being part of communities and community service,” Borgstrom said. “And the work we do in health care leadership sort of combines the two.”
Borgstrom brings to the AHA board more than 40 years of experience in health care – most at New Haven Hospital, where she began working in 1979. She joined the AHA Board of Trustees this year and serves on many other boards, including those of the Connecticut Hospital Association and Vizient.
In addition, she chairs the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care, which includes a broad-based group of hospitals, businesses and national, state and local hospital associations dedicated to educating the public about threats to hospital funding and their impact on patients and families.
Improving the quality of care and value for patients has been Borgstrom’s top priority at Yale New Haven Health, which includes five hospitals and a physician foundation – Northeast Medical Group. Yale New Haven Hospital last year received the Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service for its exceptional efforts to build programs that promote community engagement, job growth and access to quality health care.
“For the last several years, we’ve had one strategy for our entire health care system, and that is to provide unparalleled value to the people we are privileged to serve,” said Borgstrom.
Borgstrom hopes to bring that focus to the AHA board to help move toward a system that prioritizes value.
“If you can’t tell yourself that the work you are doing is improving value, then why are you doing it?” Borgstrom asks. Too often in health care, she said “we don’t stop doing things we’ve always done; we just keep adding to our plate.”
For example, Borgstrom said that, by slowing down to examine processes and outcomes and focusing on what really adds value, clinicians might experience less burnout, a problem she witnesses too often in the field. The AHA last year launched the AHA Physician Alliance, which shares a variety of tools and resources, including ones on clinician resilience, to support physician leaders in improving care for their patients and communities.
At Yale New Haven Health, Borgstrom credits her success and the positive impact the health system has made on the community to her colleagues.
“The holy grail is in execution,” she said. “Everybody’s got the same strategy, but to execute well, you have to have a fabulous team of leaders who trust one another and are committed to the same health care values. I’m privileged to say I have that at Yale New Haven Health.”
Borgstrom also is excited to serve on the AHA board with likeminded individuals who share her values.
“I like being part of a great team of people who do great work and who also know how to have fun,” she said.