Top 25 Emerging Leaders
Brian Davidson, 40
CEO, St. Mary's Hospital
Dr. Brian Davidson's medical career began at the ripe age of 12. His father had been a U.S. Navy corpsman who flew medical rescue missions during the Vietnam War before returning home to Colorado to teach classes for fire department first responders. When he asked his pre-teen son if he wanted to take one, it opened a door.
"From that point on I didn't want to do anything else," Davidson said. "I didn't even want to be a fireman; I wanted to be a doctor."
"I didn't even want to be a fireman; I wanted to be a doctor."
He did his general surgery internship at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver and his residency in anesthesiology and fellowship in healthcare administration at University of Colorado Hospital. Immediately after his residency, Davidson petitioned the American Board of Anesthesiology to let him take his board exam a day early so he could start his MBA program the very next day.
"I was really interested in learning something different after going through all this clinical training," he said. "Sitting there with all these other students, I really felt like a kid in a candy store, learning about all the policy and administrative things going on around me. If you can handle the clinical and the administrative side of things, then your world becomes a lot bigger."
He currently serves as one of only three physician/CEOs in Colorado. St. Mary's Medical Center, in Grand Junction, is a Level 2 trauma center and the largest hospital between Denver and Salt Lake City.
The hospital is exceeding budgeted operating margin performance by more than 10% in a market where the economy is still struggling and net patient revenue is growing less than 2%.
During his tenure, which began in 2014, he has helped achieve formidable reductions in lengths of stay, especially via newly developed partnerships with local critical-access hospitals for long-term acute-care-eligible patients.
"I always knew what I wanted to do, but looking back on it, I guess it was pretty unique that I did a nonmedical fellowship in hospital administration," he said. "That has made all the difference."--Valerie Lapointe