February 19, 2015
Getting to know our head of clinical operations, Bob Brigham
BY Lindsay Lewis
Last month, MD Anderson gained a new leader for our inpatient and outpatient clinical operations. Bob Brigham, our new senior vice president for Hospital and Clinics, is excited about his new role -- and supporting our mission to end cancer.
We recently spoke with Brigham to learn more about him and his plans for improving our patients' experiences at MD Anderson. Here's what he had to say:
What experience do you bring?
I worked at the Mayo Clinic for 36 years. My career path there afforded me the opportunity to develop a diverse set of health care experiences. After starting as a staff nurse, I moved through a number of roles, including nurse manager, operating room director and nursing director, as well as clinic and hospital administration. I worked with patients and staff in many clinical and administrative areas. From 2005 until I started here, I was chief administrative officer and chair of administration at the Jacksonville, Florida, campus, leading Mayo's patient care and non-patient care operations in the southeast.
What inspired you to enter nursing?
When I was in college, my interests and skills leaned toward careers in health care. I was fortunate to have a radiologist friend who was willing to let me spend a January term with him. I saw firsthand many of the different roles within health care. I particularly resonated with one person who was passionate about life, his family and the work he did every day as a nurse. That career hadn't occurred to me, given the few men in nursing in the 1970s, but the thought of entering the field and doing something different excited me.
What motivates you most about MD Anderson?
The focus on MD Anderson's mission -- everyone has passion for it and is excited about the work they do. It's great to see the entire organization put the patient at the center of everything. It's not hard to want to be a part of that.
What do you plan to do first?
Become part of the team. MD Anderson has a rich history, with an emphasis on service, growth and excellence in our campuses, network, patient operations and advancement of the science to end cancer. There's a lot to learn here, so my first goal is to learn about our patients.
What's been your biggest challenge so far?
Learning my way around the campus and the city! My gosh, Houston and MD Anderson are huge. It'll definitely take me some time to adjust.
What was the best advice you've received about MD Anderson?
If given an opportunity to work there, by all means, take it.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Like many little boys, I wanted to be a firefighter. My first grade field trip was to a fire station, so from early on, that's what I, and many of my buddies, dreamed about doing.
What do you do for fun?
I'm from the Midwest and like the outdoors. I like to hunt, fish, kayak and take photographs. In fact, the belt I'm wearing is the product of a Florida gator hunt. I look forward to new opportunities for experiencing the outdoors in Texas. I like to play golf, but I'm not particularly good at it. On the upside, I enjoy a lower cost per stroke than most of the people I play with.
What's a fun fact about you?
I played football for John Gagliardi at St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. He holds the record as the winningest coach in the history of college football and gave his players as many lessons in life as he did in football.
A longer version of this story originally appeared in Messenger, MD Anderson's bimonthly employee publication.
It's great to see the entire organization put the patient at the center of everything. It's not hard to want to be a part of that.
Sr. Vice President, Hospital & Clinics