Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Welcome to The Medicine Mentors interview series. Our mission is to create a platform for top physician mentors to share key insights, traits and best practices based on their experiences to guide medical students and residents.

To learn more please visit us at

Apr 21, 2021

Patricia Conolly‌ MD‌ is the former ‌Executive‌‌ Vice‌ ‌President‌ ‌of‌ ‌Information‌ ‌Technology‌ ‌& Associate‌ ‌Executive‌ ‌Director‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌National‌ ‌Kaiser‌ ‌Permanente‌ ‌Leadership‌ ‌Team.‌ ‌She is currently practicing as an internist and teaching‌ ‌at‌ ‌UCSF‌ ‌and‌ ‌Alameda‌ ‌Health‌ ‌Systems‌ ‌in‌ ‌Oakland‌ ‌California.‌ ‌Dr.‌ ‌Conolly‌ ‌completed‌ ‌her medical‌ ‌school‌ ‌from‌ ‌UCLA‌ ‌and ‌‌residency‌ ‌from‌ ‌Kaiser‌ ‌Permanente‌ ‌Medical‌ ‌Center‌ ‌in‌ ‌Oakland.‌ ‌She‌ ‌‌previously‌ ‌served‌ ‌as‌ ‌Director‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Internal‌ ‌Medicine‌ ‌Residency‌ ‌Program‌ ‌&‌ ‌Chief‌ ‌of‌ ‌Medicine‌ ‌at‌ ‌Kaiser‌ ‌Oakland.‌ ‌Dr.‌‌ Conolly‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌fellow‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌American‌ ‌College‌ ‌of‌ ‌Physicians‌ ‌and‌ ‌has‌ ‌served‌ ‌as‌ ‌chair‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌board‌ ‌of‌ ‌directors‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌American‌ ‌Board‌ ‌of‌ ‌Internal‌ ‌Medicine.‌ ‌ 

Imagine working as an internist (or remember it) when the EMR was being rolled out at your hospital for the very first time. You see the potential to collect huge amounts of data through this technology, which would benefit patients, but you also recognize the myriad of challenges that it would bring. You voice your concerns and find yourself invited to help solve the problems as part of the leadership team. This was the situation Dr. Patricia Conolly found herself in. Years later as the Executive Vice President of Information Technology on the National Kaiser Permanente Leadership team, Dr. Conolly shares that “some of the same skills that help us be a good doctor are skills that help us be a good leader.” In fact, the key lies in listening, says Dr. Conolly. “As a leader, you often engage with people you disagree with. If you only try to convince them you’re right, you don’t hear what they’re right about.”

Pearls of Wisdom:

1. There are enormous opportunities available in medicine. Find where you want to fit in, where your soul lies, and where you want to make an impact, and run after it.
2. Voicing areas for improvement isn’t enough. You have to get engaged in solving the problem. That’s where we start to make a difference.
3. A lot of the skills we need as a doctor are the same skills we need as a leader: listen to people who don’t agree with you. Then, focus on the shared end goal.
4. Great mentees are intellectually curious, persistent, and creative. This is what mentors are looking for in the people they take time to invest in.