With healthcare ever-evolving, it’s imperative to stay on top of the latest information and to reach out for peer-to-peer support. This is one reason why it’s so important to belong to organizations that connect healthcare professionals with each other and with up-to-date, industry-specific knowledge.
Lincoln Mendez, CEO of South Miami Hospital, part of Baptist Health South Florida, believes strongly in the benefit of these types of memberships. “When I first started transitioning into an administrative role back in 1991, I was coming from a lab; as a clinician, I didn’t have a business background,” he explained. “By getting involved in healthcare associations, I was able to get the exposure I needed to the business aspect of the profession by attending seminars and educational programs. And I was able to meet people in the field who were willing to provide support and mentorship along the way.”
As a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), Mendez took advantage of opportunities for professional growth, and he advises the younger generation of healthcare professionals to do the same, both on a local and national level.
“The benefit of joining organizations such as the South Florida Healthcare Executive Forum (SFHEF), a chapter of ACHE, is that it provides an incredible networking opportunity,” he explained. “It is invaluable as a way to meet colleagues from various healthcare industries, and to gain a better understanding of the challenges involved in healthcare today.
“The SFHEF does an excellent job of coordinating services, presentations and networking events for its members, providing the opportunity for young professionals interested in healthcare management to learn first-hand from those who have already walked down that road,” he added.
Mendez gives the example of presentations by Frank Sacco, former president and CEO of Memorial Healthcare System, and Jerry Fedele, CEO of Boca Raton Regional Hospital, who spoke at recent SFHEF annual dinners.
“Members of SFHEF were able to hear from these two industry leaders about the growth of their careers, and how they were subsequently able to become heads of such incredible organizations,” said Mendez. “They talked about the challenges that they’d faced, and how they and their teams were able to build these health systems into two of the premier healthcare providers in South Florida.”
As past chairman and long-time board member of the South Florida Hospital & Healthcare Association (SFHHA), Mendez believes that it is also important for those who have progressed in their careers to give back.
“As established healthcare leaders, we have a responsibility to make sure that we pass on our knowledge and experience to others, regardless of which organizations they belong to,” he explained. “Ultimately, it is all about taking care of the healthcare needs of the community.”