• Paul DeChant MD, MBA

Kellie Stecher, MD – Passionate Advocate for Change

Kellie Stecher, MD, one of many amazing people it is pleasure to get to know in my work, is a fearless advocate for healthcare rights and an Obstetrician-Gynecologist who is leading a pre-conference workshop panel on January 24th titled “Overcoming the Trust Gap in Healthcare” at the upcoming Healthcare Burnout Symposium in San Francisco.


Dr. Stecher is busy. She:

  • maintains a full time ob/gyn practice, being named a Top Doctor Rising Star three years in a row by Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine

  • is co-founder and president of Patient Care Heroes, an organization that provides a safe haven for members of the medical community who need support resources and advocates for legislative change regarding physician licensing, mental health, diverse populations, and women in medicine

  • is governor of her local American Medical Women’s Association focusing on Gender Equity, Policy, and Wellness

  • is the Chief Medical Officer of Linked Inclusion,

  • is a board member and/or advisor to multiple other professional organizations, and

  • Recently published her second book, “Delivering”, that addresses multiple issues for women in healthcare.

Leading change is risky


As the famous Italian statesman and philosopher, Nicolo Machiavelli, said, “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”. He explains that the reformer has enemies in all who benefit from the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in those who benefit from the change.


Clinical Challenges


Dr. Stecher has taken on these challenges at many levels. In her own clinical office, where she sees 24 to 30 patients a day and has a waiting list for new patients, she has seen a majority of her colleagues retire or seriously consider it in the past year, as the challenges of physician burnout have been exacerbated by the pandemic. She’s seen the local leadership team struggle with fixing the underlying dysfunction driving burnout with her teammates.


Advocating for Systemic Change


Advocating for more comprehensive and active change in her healthcare system, she’s offered help to support physicians who are burning out, and ultimately became frustrated by an insufficient response to the point where she has decided to invest her energies at the state and national levels.


Dr. Stecher has redirected some of her energy to working to change the state licensing application requirements for mental health disclosures. These are a source of significant stress and stigma for many physicians and have been directly linked to a number of physician suicides. Despite early resistance, she garnered national support from the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes Foundation, persisted in her efforts, and succeeded in changing the process.


Overcoming the Trust Gap in Healthcare


Through it all, Dr. Stecher has focused on addressing inequity by building trust among diverse stakeholders.


If you are at a point where you are looking for some inspiration to pursue equity, to continue to serve your patients, and to help your community, all while facing the challenges of organizational resistance to change in the course of a relentless pandemic, you won’t want to miss this panel presentation on January 24th at 8:30am at the Healthcare Burnout Symposium.


If you have questions, or simply would like to learn more about the conference, in addition to the website, you can email me directly at paul@pauldechantmd.com

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