Yvette Doran, MBA, FACMPE

Yvette Doran, MBA, FACMPE

President & CEO

Saint Thomas Medical Partners/Ascension Medical Group - TN


Some people know they want to be in healthcare from the time they are very young. For others, the profession comes as a fortuitous disruption while they are busy making other plans.

"I fell into healthcare by accident over 20 years ago and had absolutely no idea it would turn into a career," said Yvette Doran.

"I entered healthcare at the front desk of a busy primary care physician group, where I intended for it to be a short-term stop. One thing led to another, and I organically learned and grew through every position in the group," she recalled. Doran added with a smile, "Other than being a clinician, I've worked every position. I really cut my teeth on the frontlines and got a great education. I just fell in love with the business of healthcare."

The Tri-Cities native moved to Nashville in 2007 with Community Health Systems and joined Saint Thomas/Ascension in 2015 as chief operating officer for Saint Thomas Medical Partners before moving into the chief executive role at the beginning of 2018. Doran is quick to note the experiences gained and lessons learned early in her career inform her leadership and decisions to this day.

Her passion, she continued, is to be "a difference maker versus just being a decision maker ... approaching each decision with an intentionality to ensure we remain true to our culture of who we say we are and to live by our own professed standards." She added the people who collaborate to find solutions - patients, physicians, practitioners, colleagues and external partners - are her favorite part of working in healthcare. "It's ultimately the relationships that drive outcomes," she noted.

On the flip side, Doran said one of the biggest challenges is trying to manage through constant change and remain nimble enough to react in the face of heavy regulation. She credits getting involved with her local Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) chapter years ago with helping her navigate the ever-changing healthcare landscape. Doran has taken on increasing leadership roles within the organization including being a past president of the Tennessee MGMA and former chair of the Southern Section. Currently, she is wrapping up her term as chair of the national MGMA-ACMPE Board of Directors and entering her fifth year on the association's governing body.

Doran said her willingness to work hard, play hard, enjoy life and embrace new challenges comes from the example set by her parents and grandparents. "One of the greatest pieces of advice I ever received was at a time when I was way too young to understand or appreciate it," she recalled. "When I was about five years old, my great-grandmother said to me, 'get rid of your what-ifs, honey.' What I discovered and have come to appreciate over the years is that was her way of preparing me to always try my hardest, do my best, to not be afraid and to not walk away from anything with regrets."

She continued, "Given that foundation, I was willing to take risks and try new things and be a continual learner ... all of which prepared me to be ready as opportunities presented themselves throughout my career."

Continual learning is embedded in the culture at Ascension. Doran said it's critical to be able to learn from all experiences and cascade that knowledge across the entire system. Two years ago, she added to her lifelong learner credentials by completing her master's degree. "I decided that to be an example, I should set the example," she explained of returning to school.

Another lesson learned over the years is that to effectively care for others, you have to also care for yourself. For Doran, anything creative or that takes her outdoors with husband Dwayne Novak helps refuel her energy. "Whether it's home improvement projects, building homes with Habitat for Humanity, gardening, floral arranging, painting, hiking, biking, scuba diving, or travel ... these are my escapes and where I find opportunity to rejuvenate."

The reality, she noted, is it takes a lot of energy to live and work in a world of perpetual change where decisions have a very real impact on individuals who are often sick and scared. "Be dedicated and determined to make a difference for your patients and your physicians," she counseled. "Don't be deterred by the difficulties you will encounter."