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Draft: Sutter Q&A

Shoshana Ungerleider, Tim Hickman, and Chris Waugh are leaders at Sutter Health and the sponsors for this challenge. We talked about their experiences, the issues they see at the end of life, and the changes they hope to see flow from this community. Their empathy and passion for this challenge really jumped out at me, and it reminded me that our sponsors are, more than anything else, co-conspirators and fellow community members. Listen to them share their thoughts, in their own words, and you can hear that passion come through.

Meet our Sponsors

Jim Hickman is the CEO of Better Health East Bay, one of the philanthropic fundraising foundations within the Sutter Health system. Better Health East Bay focuses on raising funds to change the way healthcare is delivered at the community level.

Shoshana Ungerleider is a physician specializing in internal medicine at Sutter Health’s California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. She is a member of the board of trustees for the CMPB Foundation and started a comprehensive palliative care education program for the resident physicians at CPMC. 

Chris Waugh is the the Chief Innovation Officer at Sutter Health. His team looks at opportunities across Sutter Health, the 8th largest health system in the United States. They also think about the future of healthcare, how it will be delivered over time, and the role Sutter Health can have in demonstrating new approaches.

You are engaged with the end of life experience in your day to day work. What are some of the biggest challenges you see that we need to think about?

Chris: If we are not having a conversation about the end of life earlier then too many things are crammed into the clinical context...

Jim: Patients can be more concerned about being at the right hospital than being with the right people at the end of their life...

Shoshana: Healthcare providers are not taught in a coordinated fashion how to talk to patients...


Why work with the OpenIDEO community? Of all the ways you could tackle these challenges, why did you choose this approach?

Shoshana: We're not quite sure what the end product will be, but that’s the really exciting part...

Chris: It invites everybody in no matter what your walk of life or your profession or where you live...

Jim: This was such a unique way to help a bunch of people who were trying to heal or honor a loved one, to really elevate that conversation...


What do you hope to do after the challenge with the inspiration and ideas? What do you see as the potential from this challenge?

Jim: It is individuals who have often led the way. I hope that we can catch fire as an organization and demonstrate inspired leadership after this very compelling conversation...

Shoshana: My hope is for Sutter Health to become a leader in end of life patient care and serve as a national model for how we can do this better...

Chris: I hope that people meet on this platform to conspire to bring things to life. There is a universal truth just looking through the inspiration right now that binds us in our humanity, and that alone is fantastic…


Why is this conversation about end of life so important to have? 

Shoshana, Chris, and Jim all talked about the value of engaging with the end of life experience. Jim shared a personal story, as a father and as someone whose mother died when he was young, that really captures "how important it is to get this conversation started early to release the humanity that we all have."