Dr. Lisa Harris leads Eskenazi Health, one of the nation’s essential health care systems that also serves as a training ground for the Indiana University School of Medicine. She’s been engaged in patient care, research and teaching for 40 years at Eskenazi Health, which the Lown Institute Hospitals Index has ranked as one of the nation’s top 100 health systems for social responsibility, and Becker’s Hospital Review has ranked Eskenazi Health as one of its 150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare. Harris, who has been CEO of the health system since 2003, serves on the boards of the American Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis, Martin University, Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, United Way of Central Indiana, the Regenstrief Institute and the Phoenix Theatre.
My first job was as a counselor at Girl Scout Camp Na-Wa-Kwa. Convincing the kids who drew the unfortunate 8:30 a.m. swim slot that the water was “fine!” taught me a lot about persuasion. I also learned that the more time I can spend in the woods, the better.
Having spent the majority of my career addressing the impact of long-standing inequities in the opportunities for good health and having had the opportunity to work with a number of lawyers who are doing effective and meaningful work focused on social justice, I can imagine that work being very rewarding.
Favorite thing about being a leader
I am grateful to be in a position every day to be able to do something about the things that bother me, to have the good fortune of work that expresses my values, and to be able to do that work alongside like-minded individuals within our organization and across our community. In particular, I love working with my mutually reinforcing team, each individual having qualities I try to emulate and knowledge I work to incorporate in the interest of becoming a more effective leader and a better person.
Something to change about Indiana
I wish we were more generally inclusive and tolerant. I wish we better understood that diminishing some diminishes all.
Favorite civic contribution
I am proud that the Lown Institute Hospitals Index has ranked Eskenazi Health as one of the nation’s top 100 health systems for social responsibility and the top health system in Indiana for both social responsibility and community benefit. I am grateful for the affirmation that we’re doing our job.
In a long parade of “very best dog(s) ever,” Jack, a coonhound/shepherd/cattle dog/lab mix, is my current beloved companion. The most exuberant “sit!”ter on the planet, the only thing I enjoy more than our morning runs and evening walks is watching him fly into the water after a stick.•