Getting to Know Stuart M. Levine, MD, FACP

Stuart Levine, MD, FACP, President and Chief Medical Officer at MedStar Harbor Hospital

MedStar Harbor Hospital's New President and Chief Medical Officer

As a toddler, his favorite toy was a "Let's Play Doctor" medical kit. As he got older, the television show he looked forward to watching the most was "Emergency." Something about ambulances, sirens, and hospitals always appealed to Stuart Levine, MD, FACP.

So it should shock no one that his career has evolved the way it has. Academic, clinical, and leadership experience all paved the way, leading Dr. Levine directly to the president and chief medical officer's seat at MedStar Harbor Hospital. It's a role for which he says he is extremely honored to have been selected. And, according to his colleagues, it's a role in which he already excels.

Dr. Levine took some time to share his personal and professional experiences, his goals, and how he makes it a priority to ensure every single employee at his hospital feels valued and appreciated, while also ensuring that MedStar Harbor patients receive the highest quality care in a safe environment that meets their service expectations.

What inspired your career path?
I wanted to be a doctor at a very young age, which surprised a lot of people because I come from a family of accountants. I knew that if I went into medicine, I would have the opportunity to do good things, help people feel better, and make a positive difference. I have held a lot of different roles over the years, including the one I am in now. But I always have been, and always will be, a doctor first.

Why did you join MedStar Health and has the organization been a good fit for you?
I was working for an academic medical institution, but wanted to focus more on clinical care. I thought that I could achieve a good balance in a role that was centered on patient care, but also offered leadership opportunities and a chance to be involved in medical education programs.

I found that balance at MedStar Health. I was here for just a short time when I was presented the chance to get involved in truly innovative work that could and would impact the entire MedStar system of care. The leadership team was receptive to my observations and encouraged me to bring new ideas and approaches to the table. They were confident in me, and that gave me confidence in myself.

How did your career experiences prepare you for your new role?
Every job I've had has helped me grow and prepare to lead MedStar Harbor. While each role has been different, all have carried a strong link to the things I am most passionate about: providing excellent patient care and taking every possible step to maximize patient experiences and outcomes; building relationships among the team, because everything is possible with strong collaboration and respect; and problem solving.

Hospitals face numerous challenges every day. Many of the initiatives I have worked on over the years have requires strong scientific and systematic thinking. As a doctor who has also working in various leadership roles, I've been able to offer a unique perspective and solutions for consideration.

Stuart Levine, MD, FACP, consulting with medical team at MedStar Harbor Hospital.

You have a lot of responsibilities. How do you remain focused on what matters most?
In health care, it's essential to always be thinking about the future, and the steps our organization must take to reach our goals. But it's equally important to keep a good focus on where we are now. I'm a believer in the value of being present.

Obviously, I can only be in one place at one time, yet it's key that my influence as president and chief medical officer is felt throughout the hospital, even at times when I am not physically here. I can do this by inspiring people and instilling confidence in them when they do see me. I'm an active player in resolving conflicts, and helping everyone on the team identify the best resources to get our jobs done productively and efficiently.

I make it a priority to be out in the hospital meeting with people in various roles. I want them to know that I am on their team too. And along the way, I want to make sure everyone is having some fun. That's important!

Why do you believe MedStar Harbor is a great place to receive care? 
This is a very friendly place. Many employees here consider their colleagues family. Our people take personal responsibility for ensuring every encounter with a patient or family member is a positive one. That approach goes a long way in our ability to deliver an outstanding patient experience and achieve the best possible outcomes for every person who chooses to come here for care.

Additionally, during the past 18 months, MedStar implemented an "interdisciplinary model of care," or IMOC, as we call it, that aims to improve our internal collaboration and communications, as well as the way we share information with patients and their families. IMOC has had a positive impact at all the MedStar hospitals. MedStar Harbor was one of the earliest adopters of the new model. Our team played an instrumental role in building it, and that speaks volumes about our commitment to providing great care.

What are the biggest challenges you face, especially in light of the constantly changing and evolving healthcare landscape?
Health care is complicated. Period. Our daily work, and one of our biggest challenges, is to try to set the complicated stuff aside and think about the core principals that guided why we went into healthcare careers in the first place. We need to understand the regulatory, political, and financial factors that impact our industry, but we can't allow these things to distract us from what we are here to do. And that is to provide outstanding patient-centered care in alignment with the needs of our community.

We need to constantly evaluate the services we offer and are known for, such as women's care and behavioral health, and keep growing in those areas. We need to develop new expertise, and invest in skilled providers, new technology, and expanded facilities to deliver that expertise in the form of excellent patient care. As we successfully expand our service offerings, we become better equipped to provide a true continuum of care.

What are the three most important things for people to know about MedStar Harbor?
First, this is a hospital you can come to for world-class care, in a warm, friendly, and family-focused environment. Along with that, MedStar Harbor is a great place to turn for a wide range of healthcare services. If your medical needs are more complex, and require a level of care beyond our capabilities, we are still able to help manage your care through our specialty service line partnerships with the MedStar Health system, which offers regionally and nationally recognized clinical programs at MedStar hospitals across the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. corridor. And lastly, in Baltimore City we are a "marquee" healthcare provider. We are a safe place to turn. You have our commitment that we will do everything in our power to take good care of you.

What do you like to do when you are not working?
I love spending time with my family, especially my three daughters, who are ages 16, 13, and 9. I am passionate about music and enjoy playing the guitar. I also like getting outdoors as much as I can, whether it's to go for a run with the dog, or take a day or weekend trip with my family. We love to go skiing, and some of us are adventure enthusiasts. My oldest daughter and I love roller coasters and our personal favorite is the Griffon at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Can you share a fact about yourself that isn't well known?
I'm a naturalized U.S. citizen. I was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Anything else you'd like to share?
I am incredibly humbled and proud to lead this hospital. I'm grateful for the people who choose to come here for care, and for the people who choose to work here, and make this hospital as great as it is. MedStar Harbor Hospital is truly a special place, and I want everyone around us to know it.