Sherie C. Hickman of Sutter Health System wins North Bay Women in Business award
Sherie C. Hickman of Novato Community Hospital in Novato wins a North Bay Business Journal Women in Business award.
Professional background: Executive leadership roles in health care administration across the continuum of care: acute care hospital operations, ambulatory care practices, post-acute services (i,e., SNF, Home Care, Hospital, etc.), and health plan executive leadership.
Major health systems I have worked for include: Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health, Novant Health and Sutter Health. I have worked in both Northern and Southern California as well as in North Carolina.
Education: Bachelor of Arts the University of Washington, Seattle; master's degree in hospital administration, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Staff: Novato Community Hospital employs 320.
Tell us about yourself and your company: My passion for health care administration started as a child when going to see my doctor and being in the hospital and realizing amazing things happen in this place.
Early experiences as a candy striper confirmed my future profession as a health care leader. I have had a very successful career, quickly rising into executive leadership positions within three major organizations before joining Sutter Health in 2017. Outside of work, my passions are alpine skiing and my husband, who I have been married to for 11 years.
I was born and raised in Seattle, leaving when I went off to Minneapolis, MN for graduate school. Since then, I have lived in Southern California, North Carolina and now Northern California, where I have resided since 2001.
Sutter Health is an integrated health care system that owns and operates physician practices, acute care hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers and post-acute care services as part of its system.
While primarily in Northern California, the system has services in Hawaii, Utah and in Southern California. Sutter Health's mission is that “We enhance the well-being of people in the communities we service through a not-for-profit commitment to compassion and excellence in health care services”.
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?
Novato Community Hospital earned the distinction of becoming only the 6th hospital in California and the only hospital in Marin County to receive Advanced Certification in Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement Procedures from the Joint Commission, the accrediting agency for hospitals.
This distinction reflects outstanding levels of care and service provided by the hospital for patients receiving total joint replacements. The hospital was also rated as a "high performer" in knee replacement procedures by U.S. News and World Reports in its 2017 Best Hospitals report.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?
With the onset of the Napa and Sonoma County fires on Oct. 9, the census of Novato Community Hospital doubled within a matter of hours as the hospital received patients transferred from our Santa Rosa sister facility and from patients coming to the hospital's emergency department. The hospital effectively and efficiently triaged and accommodated these patients with no adverse outcomes and excellent continuity of care. Throughout the next few weeks, Novato Community Hospital worked with physicians and patients displaced from their regular places of care to deliver urgently needed surgical and other medical services.
I was so very proud of our staff and physicians, and the above and beyond care they showed to those in need and to our community at large. Many of our staff were affected by the fires, including three who lost their homes, and their colleagues stepped up to cover for them when needed, donate to their need for housing, clothing and other basic needs, and made sure when they came back they knew the team was here for them.
What is your biggest challenge today?
Recruiting and hiring primary care physicians into our Sutter Health Medical Foundation to provide needed care to our community, and to support the specialists who provide services through the hospital.
What words best describe you?: Tenacious. Direct and clear. Fair. Comfortable with ambiguity and change. Leader. Friend. Companion.
As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?
The biggest obstacle I have faced as a woman is working with men who don't take me seriously, or who don't think this 5' 2” black woman has the experience or leadership skills to be taken seriously. I have consistently overcome by demonstrating my expertise through the significant, positive results I have achieved in each of the leadership positions I have held.