Nick Puleo Interviews Chris Schuster, President & CEO at Emerson Health System

Ms. Schuster has over 25 years of health care experience. Prior to joining Emerson Health as president and CEO in 2005, she served as president and CEO of Quincy Medical Center and previously Athol Memorial Hospital. She also served as COO of the Tenet Saint Vincent Healthcare System, Extended Care Division. Ms. Schuster worked as a health care consultant with PriceWaterHouseCoopers early in her career.

She serves as chair of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association (MHA), chair of the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals, and chair of the Massachusetts Value Alliance, a leading supply purchasing consortium. She was appointed to the Clinical Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, and advisory boards for the Suffolk University MHA Program and Riverside Partners, a private equity firm. She is a Middlesex Bank corporator. She currently serves on the MHA Finance, Governance, and Executive Committee.

Ms. Schuster was named to the Boston Globe/Women’s Edge List of Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts from 2017 to 2022. She received the 2017 Middlesex West Chamber of Commerce Excellent Nonprofit Leadership Award, the 2011 Concord Chamber of Commerce Businessperson of the Year Award, and the 2008 Maynard Elks Distinguished Citizenship Award. She received the Prescription for Excellence Award from the Mass Medical Health Law Report. She is a four-time recipient of the American Hospital Association Grassroots Champion Award. She was recognized by Modern Healthcare Magazine and Witt Kieffer Associates as an Up and Comer Award recipients. Ms. Schuster received her MBA, with honors, from the University of Chicago Booth Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Boston University.

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Nick Puleo, President and Founder of COMSINT, is a communications strategist and Emmy Award winning storyteller focused on helping brands protect and enhance their reputations and respond to challenges that arise in the public policy arena and through the course of conducting business. He has counseled senior leaders in government, business and nonprofits at organizations such as Harvard Business School, MIT, Bank of America and Lloyd’s of London. Prior to founding Comsint, Nick worked as a Senior Vice President for corporate communications and issues management at Weber Shandwick, where he managed high-profile client assignments, including the Boston Marathon bombings and a corporate restructuring at one of the world’s leading life science brands. Nick has extensive public affairs experience and has served as an elected and appointed government official.

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Interview questions:

Q1: What makes Emerson Health unique?

Q2: You noted previously that you have held every job in a hospital from the kitchen to the corner office. How do those personal experiences shape your perspective as a leader?

Q3: Boston is a crowded healthcare market with globally recognized brands. How do you maintain an independent hospital in this environment?

Q4: Over the past few years, healthcare has faced a tremendous amount of challenges – both during the COVID pandemic with a string of challenges like staffing. What strategies should healthcare leaders employ in navigating these issues?

Q5: Staffing is something that everyone in healthcare is talking about. Why is it a problem and how do we fix it?

Q6: Looking ahead, we hear a lot about AI and precision medicine in healthcare. What will the impacts of new technology be and what will the industry look like in 5-10 years?

Emerson Health provides advanced medical services to more than 300,000 people in 25 towns. Our core mission is to deliver exceptional patient-centered care that is highly reliable, safe, compassionate, equitable, efficient, and coordinated. We make high-quality healthcare more accessible to those who live and work in our community at Emerson Hospital in Concord, health centers in BedfordWestfordGrotonSudbury and Concord, as well as urgent care centers in Hudson, Maynard and Littleton. Emerson is well known for its outstanding nursing care and patient-centered specialty facilities, including the Mass General Cancer Center at Emerson Hospital – Bethke, the Dr. Robert C. Cantu Concussion Center, the Clough Surgical Center and the Clough Birthing Center, home to the area’s only special care level 2 nursery for moderately ill newborns.

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