Dr. Anita Chandrasena may not have intended to work in hospital administration when she began her medical career in 2002, but she is grateful for the mentors who recognized her abilities and invested in her professional growth. “This allowed me to pursue different opportunities, which has led to a career I find so fulfilling and rewarding,” Chandrasena says.
Chandrasena, who currently serves as chief physician executive for Dignity Health’s Northern California division, wholeheartedly embraces the organization’s mission to care for the underserved. Likewise, she deeply connects with the organization’s values, including compassion, inclusion and integrity. However, the value Chandrasena says that resonates with her most is collaboration.
“Throughout the pandemic, our focus has been to bring our teams together, share learnings and ensure a unified and consistent approach in patient care.”
— Dr. Anita Chandrasena
“We are stronger in the community, in our lives and in the care we provide our patients when we do it together,” Chandrasena says. “Throughout the pandemic, we have learned so much. We are still learning and continuing to pivot so that we can provide compassionate, excellent care. We could not have achieved this without collaboration and I am proud of our team for embracing different viewpoints and working together so that we can provide the right care for the communities we serve.”
During the pandemic, Chandrasena was one of the leaders responsible for Dignity Health’s COVID-19 Command Center. This special taskforce was created to identify and share COVID-19 best care practices. “This included sharing resources or medical equipment when they became scarce,” Chandrasena says.
The pandemic has left no industry or community untouched and Chandrasena is candid about the challenges facing the health care industry. “Many health care workers are experiencing burnout and exhaustion,” she says. “If we cannot prioritize their wellbeing, then that affects how we care for our communities.”
But even with the challenges, Chandrasena believes there is no better career than health care. Her advice for those considering a career in medicine? “Go for it,” Chandrasena emphasizes. “I think this career can make your heart sing and every day you get to help make a difference in the world.”