Memorial’s Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the Rees Skillern Cancer Center Dr. Rob Headrick has been awarded the Health Policy and Leadership Scholarship from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. Founded in 1964, the not-for-profit organization represents more than 7,200 surgeons, researchers, and allied healthcare professionals worldwide who are dedicated to ensuring the best possible outcomes for surgeries of the heart, lung, and esophagus, as well as other surgical procedures within the chest.
The scholarship allowed Dr. Headrick to spend a week in Boston, Ma. with surgeon leaders from across the country to discuss health care policy and reform. The discussion was facilitated by the Heller Business School at Brandeis University.
“Conversations with health care professionals from across the country showed what many of us are seeing in our own practices," said Dr. Headrick. "Until we change the way healthcare is provided in this country, the outcomes simply won’t change.”
Dr. Headrick will soon be taking this message to political leaders in Washington, D.C. Beginning in 2018, he will serve a three-year term on the STS Workforce on Health Policy, Reform and Advocacy.
"In Hamilton County, the number one killer of individuals is lung cancer; however, if we can catch it in its earliest stages, it can be treated and the patient can live a longer healthier life," said Dr. Headrick. "The cost of a lung screen is very small, but it takes time out of the day to come to my office, fill out paperwork and take the test. If we develop strategies that allow us to go to companies to provide lung screenings, we know our numbers will drop drastically. This is just one example of a change that will save time, money and lives. There are so many others and I look forward to being a part of a national conversation.”
Besides serving as chief of Thoracic Surgery and co-director of the Rees Skillern Cancer Institute at CHI Memorial Hospital, Dr. Headrick also serves as assistant professor of Surgery at the University of Tenessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga.