Primary Care Exec Combines Business and Medical Expertise
Metro Health – University of Michigan Health is reinforcing its commitment to primary care access with the promotion of a proven leader who combines corporate experience with a background in hands-on clinical care of patients.
As Vice President of Primary Care, Cristine Rodriguez, RN, MBA, will oversee operations of all Metro Health neighborhood outpatient centers across the region.
Dr. Rakesh Pai, Chief Population Health Officer, said Rodriguez brings a multifaceted perspective to the role, with extensive experience in business management – and as a nurse who has practiced in emergency rooms and specialty offices.
“By combining business acumen with clinical expertise and human compassion, she is able to approach every challenge with tremendous creativity,” Pai said. “It’s not surprising she has risen quickly through the leadership ranks. I look forward to what she can accomplish with our strategies to ensure all patients can have the best primary care experience.”
Rodriguez pursued a nursing degree following a corporate finance career in the automotive and technology industries. She wears a bracelet to commemorate that professional change that says, “Take the risk.”
After earning her nursing degree, she chose to launch her clinical career in the toughest arena she could find: the emergency room. She gained increasing levels of responsibility at several health organizations, including helping to establish and refine specialty service lines. At Metro Health, she has been Director of Operations, Gastroenterology and Endoscopy since 2017.
Rodriguez said she looks forward to the new role, because she understands the emphasis Metro Health has placed on making sure West Michigan patients can access the primary care they need, when they need it. And while her business training has given her a sharp eye for efficiency, she notes that will never come at the expense of patient care.
“I am first and foremost a patient advocate,” she said. “When we are doing our jobs right, with the right systems in place, that work should appear almost effortless to the patient. It’s a matter of going the extra mile to do the things that matter to the patient and their family.”
Rodriguez earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Ferris State University, along with a master of business administration and bachelor of science in business accounting degrees from the University of Phoenix.