Washington State Healthcare Executives Forum Mobile - December 2018

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WSHEF Fellow Spotlight

Dr. Gary Smith, PhD, FACHE, began his career in 1968 to serve in the US Army Medical Service Corp for the Administrative Branch. His service in the State and Vietnam not only provided him with abundance of experience in administration, but also broadened his vision for Healthcare and set him strong to move forward in his initial goal of pursuing Physical Therapy. Dr. Smith obtained his Certificate of Physical Therapy from the Mayo Foundation School of Physical Therapy. After all his hard-work and from the plentiful experience gained by working in Hospital and long-term settings, he served as a Director for a larger Hospital. Eventually, he returned to school and successfully received a Master’s degree in Health Service Administration. By developing many of his privately owned Physical Therapy clinics across the region, Dr. Gary Smith has had enormous management, as well as clinical experience. This has all helped him structure the Physical Therapy Department at Eastern Washington University, after which the University stimulated him to pursue his PhD. He later went on to become the Chair of the Physical Therapy Department at the University. 

He continued his work for almost 30 years, after which he sold his clinical facilities and buildings to move on to the next stage of his life. For almost 10 years after that, he honored the Administrator position at the region’s largest rehabilitation facility, which for him was “extremely rewarding and fulfilling.” He is now, after his retirement, teaching three courses at Washington State University for the Masters in Health Policy and Administration (MHPA) program.

With a focus on life-long learning, Dr. Gary Smith now earns a Fellow position not only at ACHE, but also in the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapist. He holds quality server as an utmost important factor for attempting to achieve success in both his profession, as well as business. For him, “leadership, vision, and dedication are the hallmarks of motivating one to lead.” His formula for being a successful leader is to be a good listener and respect everyone because everyone is important, to be honest and fair to all individuals, having a vision and being dedicated. With the inspiring demonstration of healthcare leadership and management that he has portrayed in his career, Dr. Smith’s message for aspiring healthcare leaders is to “always learn, respect all points of view, listen with intent, and respect all people.” 

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