By Vanessa Orr
Although Marie Sandra Severe, Ph.D., MPH, senior vice president and chief executive officer of Jackson North Medical Center, first considered a career in law, her decision to pursue a master’s degree in public health before taking the LSAT changed. followed, of mind.
“I didn’t know I was going to fall in love with the pitch; after getting my MPH, I dropped the law school plan and went straight to health care,” said Severe, who had been introduced to the field as a high school student in HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America).
After moving to Miami from New Orleans, where she attended Tulane University, Dr. Severe at Miami Children’s Hospital and says she hasn’t looked back since. She joined Jackson Health System eight years ago and now directs one of the system’s four acute care hospitals toward a number of goals.
“I’ve spoken to community members, volunteers and office holders in the area, and many tell me they don’t feel the hospital’s presence in the community,” she said. “I want the hospital to reconnect with the community and increase access to services; I want us to become the preferred provider for the areas we serve.”
A challenge for Dr. Severe is that Jackson North is still dealing with the effects of COVID, including more hospitalizations and staffing problems.
“Many people left the industry during COVID; either for a new career or to travel for more money,” she said. “While some are coming back, we are still dealing with the fiscal impact of the past two and a half years and are figuring out how to support our business given these challenges.”
One of the places where Dr. Severe looking for ideas, as well as support and advice, ACHE is in South Florida, which she joined six years ago.
“I decided to join for the educational and resource aspects; networking is not my forte’, she said. “Yet support is innate within the organization.
“It’s really critical for healthcare executives to share ideas, best practices, and issues they’re experiencing together,” she said. “It also keeps me busy.”
dr. Severe, a professor at Florida Atlantic University, uses ACHE’s resources in her health care surgery course. “I wanted the best supporting material to help students understand certain concepts, so I typed ACHE into a search to see what resources they would recommend,” said Dr. Severe. “Their publishing house had the perfect textbook. What I like most about this ACHE-approved text is that the information is translatable and practical.”
dr. Severe also appreciates the access the membership provides. “It’s phenomenal; you do not only have contact with operations executives; you meet supply chain professionals, performance improvement professionals, healthcare finance experts — there are a plethora of opportunities to get different perspectives on healthcare,” she said.
She adds, “ACHE also empowers members to give back to the field by using their talent, skills and lessons learned to help early career/prospective professionals, and that’s really powerful.”