Mark KentMark D. Kent, 2016 Jordan Distinguished LecturerMark D. Kent, FACHE, FACMPE, chief executive officer, Women’s Health Care, P.C., and a Six Sigma Master Black Belt, delivered the 12th annual L.R. (Rush) Jordan Distinguished Lecture on Friday, February 26. The Jordan Lecture is given in Birmingham annually to hospital administrators and UAB School of Health Professions alumni, plus students from across the country and Canada who competed in the annual Case Competition.

Kent told the crowd immediately, "Number one - I'm a failure."

That got everyone's attention and set the tone.

What is Failure?

He explained his dad wanted him to follow his footsteps as a medical doctor yet became a nurse. He was offered a six-figure job at American Express yet turned it down to start his own company.

Speaking directly to the students in the audience, the future leaders of health care, he told them to not worry about failure - to blaze their own trail.

He also said that even though they choose to follow a path unique to them, the true destination of success in health care should not be unique. Everyone should be searching for the best path to better patient outcomes.

"In health care, there are too many silos - somewhere in there is a patient needing care and organizations cannot forget this," said Kent, author of the “WOW Moments: Turning Everyday Experiences Into Extraordinary Events” book and the “WOW Moments” podcast. "True integrated health care delivery places the physician and patient at the center with the rest of the care around them - it is individualized, proactive and connected."

What is Success?

Ferniany KentWilliam Ferniany, Ph.D., CEO, UAB Health System with Mark KentKent continued to encourage everyone to not judge success by others' ideals. He talked about how he sold a company to Humana and was folded into the company to lead a division. His new title at Humana – not vice president, not director, but product manager. But he was in charge of their 2nd most valuable sector worth more than $1.3B.

He ended his talk by sharing his keys to success:

  • Willing to tackle hard issues without focus on position or recognition
  • Focus on team in development and recognition
  • Fundamental philosophy that we can always improve, do more and be better

Prior to being named CEO of Women’s Health Care in Evansville, Indiana, Kent served as regional president of all Humana-owned, Florida-based primary care practices. There he was responsible for expanding CAC-Florida, MetCare and Continuacare. Prior to that, Kent was market vice president of the Ohio and Indiana Senior Products segment of Humana’s East Central Region.

The Jordan Distinguished Lecture is part of the annual Health Administration Case Competition. This is the 10th year in a row the UAB Department of Health Services Administration has hosted the prestigious competition.

Jordan, who served as a UAB professor from 1987 – 2002, had a renowned career as a healthcare executive. Not only did he mentor hundreds of UAB students who are today’s senior healthcare executives, but also his vision and leadership fundamentally changed the healthcare delivery system as we know it today.