05 02 lundergan our path forward header v2
Jen Rosio, University of Utah Health
Our Path Forward
In this first of three articles, University of Utah Health’s Chief Executive Officer Dan Lundergan shares how the same core values and beliefs that carried us through the pandemic will continue to successfully carry us into the future.

leaders, its important to be vulnerable and share what matters to us. We spend so much of our lives at work, away from our families, and it can be easy to lose sight of why we do what we do. What matters to me is that we talk frequently about our values, and that we're grounded in those values. These core beliefs - service, teamwork, and shared purpose - have shaped why you’re here.

Our shared purpose is what makes us a family - a deep commitment amongst all of us to serve and to be there for each other and our community. We have a belief system of trust, love, and support that guided us during the pandemic and will continue to guide us as we think about economic pressure, capacity, and growth. In this first article, I highlight how our commitment to service will shape our path forward.

We serve our community–compassionate care without compromise. 

We are a community taking care of our larger community and a big region – 10% of the continental United States. How we care for and care about the community makes a difference every day in the lives of thousands of people.

I recently received a letter from a patient with a complex health history who needed a brain MRI. She was filled with anxiety leading up to it, worrying about being alone and left in the machine, so much so that she delayed getting the care she needed. When she finally was here in the machine, she reached out to get a sense of the space. One of our radiology technologists held her hand and said “I am here for you.” She felt this amazing reassurance that someone was there to care.

This patient wanted me to know that the simple action of attentiveness and kindness made a difference. We’re a state-of-the-art academic organization with incredible resources, and what was important in that moment was holding a hand and being reassured that it was going to be ok. Our teams - nurses, medical assistants, health care assistants, environmental services, clinicians, the list goes on - are connected with patients and families every day.

Its this commitment to compassion that has led to more demand. We meet this demand by understanding the needs of our population. Every three years, we complete a community health needs assessment. Our Director of Community Engagement RyLee Curtis and her team led a deep dive into what our community needs from us and how we will respond to those needs. This year, we've aligned community priorities with our strategic planning, and leverage community organizations to hear from community groups at all levels of the organization. Listening to community isn't just one report - it means building long-term pathways for engagement.

We know we have to listen, reflect, and align with the communities we serve, and we’ll do that by partnering and learning from each other. 

Responding to our community also means growing. We are committed to looking at every opportunity to expand because growth is imperative. It means growing our capacity, staffing, and resources. But we need to grow in a responsible and measured way. We can’t lose the connection to our core belief system as we grow. We must continue to focus on serving our community by prioritizing what is important. 

We also need to think differently about our capacity to serve. Associate Executive Director Ischa Jensen and Manager Cassandra Taft have led development of a capacity action plan, dedicated to using a systems approach to grow capacity both now and in the future. What's different about this plan is that we're growing together, as opposed to thinking of growth in one part of our system that creates challenges upsteam or downstream. One way of meeting our capacity needs is to look at partnerships in our valley and region to amplify our reach and provide greater access to our services.

Our new hospital and clinic in West Valley is another example of our deep commitment to our community. We’ve been designing the new services and facility differently than any other expansion in the past. Through partnerships and co-design, we aim to make societal and economic impact for our entire community and region. 

Its you - our teams - who make this all possible. Its our shared commitment to service that is the foundation of who we are.


Dan Lundergan

Chief Executive Officer, University of Utah Health

Subscribe to our newsletter

Receive the latest insights in health care impact, improvement, leadership, resilience, and more.