Being Transparent While Inspiring Hope

Dallas Health Czar Dr. Kelvin Baggett discusses building coalitions while leading a city through a pandemic

September 25, 2020

Dr. Kelvin Baggett, MBA '06, can point to many accomplishments he has achieved and titles he has assumed. As a nationally recognized health care leader, senior management executive and chief medical officer, he can now add the moniker of Dallas’ COVID-19 Czar.

“It never entered my mind as a kid growing up in Fayetteville, NC. I get more questions pertaining to, ‘How did you come to get that title?’ But it does get a reaction, provoke a question and then typically gets a response,” said Baggett.

In his conversation with Dean Bill Boulding for the Distinguished Speaker Series, Baggett discussed the challenges facing our health care systems, the economy and even a strategy for how to safely protest during the pandemic.

“I put together a 10 step guide. It wasn’t just for protestors, it was also for the rest of the community and also for law enforcement – for how they might respond appropriately to those who were protesting peacefully,” said Baggett.

The hour-long discussion spanned a variety of topics including how to improve care and quality in the health sector. Baggett also touched upon the inaugural difficulty and the eventual personal fulfillment of transitioning into the private equity space.

“I can take these experiences and help to drive innovation. It helps me to impact these communities and it also helps to address the intellectual curiosity I have of looking across the spectrum and thinking about what change may look like and where opportunity and need exist.”

The full video can be viewed above. Shorter snippets from the talk are below, including the challenges of bringing people together at a time when it’s easy to lose sight of common purpose.

“We wanted to reduce harm and suffering in the Dallas community. Then we aligned around what metrics we had to attach to that. We also acknowledged that including various entities in the conversation would be beneficial. Some of those people were outside of the room and I wanted to bring them inside.”

Baggett knows well the importance of bringing various groups and stakeholders to the table in a united objective. He stressed the significance of being candid regarding the severity of COVID-19 and the impact it has had on society.

“We have to maintain some degree of hope. But we also have to be very practical. I’m not telling you things are just going to get better. I’m taking very discreet actions to demonstrate our concern, our passion and our commitment to helping you to manage and navigate in the current environment.”

On forming a staff as the Healthcare Czar of Dallas
On balancing health concerns and protests
On transitioning into the private equity space
On bringing people together with common purpose
On being transparent while inspiring hope

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