Not many women from small Ohio farms train in classical ballet and end up advising health care systems on strategic planning and the employment of analytics to inform strategy. But that is the story of Traci Dodderer Bentley ’00, ’02, FACHE.
It was a serious injury and the ensuing months of physical therapy, imaging studies, medications and orthopedic surgeon visits that quashed her dreams for a career in dance but also introduced her to the complexity of the health care system. Shortly thereafter, while a family member was undergoing cancer treatment, she began noticing lots of opportunities for improved communication, navigation and “frankly, for being seen as a person not a tumor type.”
In search of a new direction for her career, Traci interned for a month with her local fire and EMS department. “I found it such a privilege to be part of a team providing lifesaving medical intervention as well as a source of comfort to individuals and families during a time of crisis,” she recalls. “It was also a lot of fun.”
Motivated by her earlier observations on opportunities for improvement in the health care system and having experienced the satisfaction of helping families in crisis, Traci found her way into the industry. She completed a residency with INTEGRIS Health under Trinity alumnus Stan Hupfeld ’72, FACHE and spent nearly nine years there in a variety of positions both in operations, strategy and business development. At one point, Traci was part of a team that opened a rural hospital. “We built the quality department from scratch and within about four years became one of the top performing hospitals in the system in terms of clinical quality.” Although it occurred early in her career, she considers it one of her proudest accomplishments.
Having discovered a passion for strategy, Traci left INTEGRIS to lead strategic planning at Capital Health, an inner city hospital system in New Jersey. From there, she moved to AMC to rebuild business development functions at Temple Health in Philadelphia.
When an opportunity arose at Sg2 Health Care and Hospital System Consultancy (a firm she had worked with as a client) that married her skills in data and analytics and passion for working with executives, strategy leaders and boards to craft and implement strategy, she joined the company as Director of Client Relations and Analytics. Her role is a bit unique in that she sits on both client relations and strategic analytic teams. Although she brings clients Sg2’s thought leadership and wealth of resources, she also works with select members, specifically around the use of analytics tools, interpretation of data and how best to integrate a variety of inputs into something meaningful that will facilitate well informed decisions. “Ultimately, I hope I challenge their thinking and help them find innovative solutions to our industry’s toughest challenges.”
In addition to her Fellowship in ACHE, Traci is a member of the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development. With two toddlers under 2 1/2, Traci’s free time is limited. Still, she has mentored a number of early careerists or people making the transition from clinical to management positions and is incredibly proud of the work they are doing and the trajectory of their careers.
Of her own career, Traci says, “At the end of the day —especially the challenging ones—I ask myself ‘Have I done something today that will ultimately help my clients provide better care for their communities?’”
By Mary Denny