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Essentia Health welcomes new chief transformation officer

Essentia Health is enhancing the way it provides care by hiring Dr. Karyn Baum as the system’s inaugural chief transformation officer (CTO).

“It is my goal to support and lead care-delivery innovation across Essentia,” said Dr. Baum. “My role is to identify opportunities for meaningful change in how we provide care and operationalize large-scale improvements.”

That will include an effective transition into our new hospital in Duluth, which is currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2023, and to work as one Essentia systemwide to ensure the highest quality care for all patients in the communities we are privileged to serve.

Dr. Baum is a hospitalist by trade and will continue in that role while also serving as the CTO.

“Continuing to provide bedside care to my patients is the best way to stay grounded in my work, be a member of the team and gain a deep understanding of the system and what improvements I think we can make,” said Dr. Baum.

Dr. Baum earned her medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. She has more than 15 years of administrative experience and held several leadership roles at multiple health care organizations in Minnesota.

Dr. Baum has also directed the Minnesota Critical Care Coordination Center (C4), a patient-placement program that evolved out of high demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, this program has placed more than 1,000 patients needing inpatient care statewide.

“I’m looking forward to helping build new processes and structures at Essentia so our highly skilled doctors, nurses and other health care providers can deliver care more easily and effectively,” said Baum. “There are already so many amazing things underway here, and I feel honored to be part of this team.”

At the national level, Dr. Baum served as the senior consultant with the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington D.C., working on its “Educating for Quality” initiatives nationwide from 2015-17.

“I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to become Essentia’s first CTO,” said Dr. Baum. “This position will allow me to be innovative in our care delivery across the system, while also still practicing medicine. I love patient care and am lucky to find an organization that allows me to do both leadership and maintain my role as a physician”

Published in Essentia

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