Rich Ostlund brings years of experience in business, governance and championing community health care to his role as Chair on the Board of Directors at Fairview Health Services.
Ostlund has spent decades supporting community health initiatives in multiple charities and organizations, often pursuing and accepting leadership positions to help steer the course of health care in Minnesota. He has served as Director and Chair of the Board of the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, Director of the University of Minnesota Pediatrics Foundation, and Trustee of the Minnesota Medical Foundation and University of Minnesota Foundation.
“Twenty years ago, my wife Mary and I began supporting pediatric medical research and care as a way to give back and say thank you for being blessed with three healthy children,” Ostlund says.
Ostlund and his wife have also established the Summer’s Wish Pediatric Cardiology Innovators Fund, which supports pediatric cardiac care research and innovation at the University of Minnesota.
FROM MEMBER TO CHAIR
Ostlund’s commitment to supporting quality community health care caught the eyes of local leaders, who asked him to join the Fairview Health Services Board in 2013. Ostlund accepted the offer and has dedicated himself to making an impact as a member ever since.
“To serve our community in a time of great change across local health care was a compelling and inspiring opportunity,” Ostlund says.
Ostlund has served in multiple roles as a board member, including Chair of the Fairview Governance Task Force, which examined national health system best practices for possible use within Fairview Health Services. He also served as Chair of the Fairview Governance Committee and First Vice-Chair of the Board. In addition, he has been a member of the Fairview Finance and Executive Committees, and with a number of other Fairview leaders, was involved in the hiring of James Hereford as President and CEO of Fairview Health Services.
Alongside Hereford, Ostlund then helped renegotiate the partnership between Fairview Health Services, the University of Minnesota and University of Minnesota Physicians. He considers this his greatest contribution during his tenure on the board.
“I believe this exciting agreement and renewed partnership will positively change the future of quality healthcare delivery and medical education across our state,” Ostlund says.
Ostlund was also instrumental in guiding Fairview Health Services in a new direction in 2015, as chair of the Goverance Task Force
“Our goal was to reshape our overall system of governance and to recruit a Board of Directors with the cross-section of life and professional experience to best oversee and guide a complex, multibillion dollar healthcare, senior living, insurance and specialty pharmacy enterprise,” Ostlund says. “As Chair of the Board of Directors, I will continue to work with my collegues to be a leader of positive change to meet today’s healthcare challenges.”
A ROLE OF PERSONAL IMPORTANCE
Ostlund has experienced the benefit of having accessible, high-level specialists who are able to handle complex medical challenges firsthand.
“We are all just a phone call away from someone we love needing world-class health care,” Ostlund says. “In the fall of 2013, our family received that call.”
That year, Ostlund’s granddaughter, Summer, the inspiration for the Summer’s Wish Pediatric Cardiology Innovators Fund, was diagnosed with a rare heart condition. She was sent to the emergency department at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital after her pediatrician discovered she had a severely enlarged heart. Summer underwent multiple open-heart surgeries over the next several months while she waited for a heart transplant.
“Our granddaughter’s life was saved because just minutes away, our community had access to the leading pediatric ventricular assist device specialists in America,” Ostlund says. “They were able to sustain the life of a 3-month-old baby until she became the 800th heart transplant recipient in the history of M Health Fairview.”
Ostlund is grateful for the care Summer received and works diligently to give back to his community and the healthcare system that saved her life.
“The most rewarding role in my life now is being ‘Bumpa’ Rich to seven young grandchildren — seeing the future through their eyes makes me appreciate that it is such a privilege to have served the community as an M Health Fairview Director,” Ostlund says. “To become Chair on the fifth anniversary of Summer’s transplant is a special feeling, but most importantly, it’s a reminder of just how crucial it is that, each day, I do my best to support our over 34,000 employees help other deserving families.”
Reprinted with permission from MD News magazine. Josh Garcia