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2009 Women to Watch: Sarah Pacini

Advocate Health Care Network

Sarah Pacini

Vp-Risk Management and Insurance
Advocate Health Care Network
Oak Brook, Ill.


Sarah Pacini was promoted in July 2009 to vp-risk management and insurance at Advocate Health Care Network, the largest health care system in the Chicago area, serving nearly 1 million patients annually. She is responsible for Advocate's organizational risk management and insurance programs, leading a 25-person department that administers programs that protect Advocate's patients, as well as its 28,000 employees, 7,000 nurses, 5,000 affiliated physicians, and the many hospital and health care facilities it operates. Ms. Pacini also is a registered nurse and a lawyer. Before joining the risk management department, she served as Advocate's risk and captive administrator with responsibility for the health care system's captive insurance programs through Advocate's Cayman Islands-based segregated portfolio company.


Your professional role model: My father. He showed me that hard work, dedication and attention to detail will deliver the results you're looking for. He always held two jobs. He set the bar really high.


Best professional advice you've received: Never turn down an opportunity to improve yourself. Opportunities present themselves in many ways. New projects help me to grow professionally, teach new skills, and create strong networks.


Advice for women entering the field: A good friend once told me there's only one place where success comes before work, and that's in the dictionary. It was and continues to be excellent advice. Hard work is an essential component, but it really needs to be accompanied by courage, ambition, initiative and enough self-confidence to achieve your goals.


Accomplishment you are most proud of: I am most proud of my contribution to Advocate Health Care Network's success. Our professional liability expenses for health care institutions in Cook County have been disproportionate to other venues. Our risk management department has been engaged for the last several years in controlling medical malpractice expenses and has obtained significant reductions in all of those expenses for all Advocate hospitals over the last two years. These savings can be invested in medical equipment and to employ personnel to improve health outcomes.


What you wanted to be professionally while growing up: I wanted to be a teacher. I believe education is essential to transferring the accumulated knowledge, skills and values to from one generation to the next.


The best book you've read recently: "Outliers: The Story of Success" by Malcolm Gladwell. It's an analysis of the circumstances that contribute to an individual's success.


Phone or e-mail and why: It depends on the situation. I find e-mail preferable when detailed information needs to be shared in a concise format. I prefer the telephone for more comprehensive discussions. But an in-person meeting still trumps both.

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