Eastside CEO looks to future
By Carole Townsend
Snellville – Trent Lind, Eastside Medical Center’s new CEO, and his family are settling in to their new home and community nicely. The Birmingham native, his wife and their two little girls (ages 3 and 6) moved to Gwinnett County just 3 months ago from Houston, Texas, where Lind served as CEO of Texas Orthopedic Hospital for four years.
Before that, he was COO of Swedish Medical Center in Denver. He brings solid experience and an optimistic attitude to his new position at Eastside.
Lind earned his undergraduate degree at Wake Forest, and his graduate work was completed at University of Alabama – Birmingham. The coasters on his conference room table gave that last away. “People either smile and say ‘roll tide,’ or they turn them over when they walk in here,” he joked.
But Lind is all business when he talks about his new duties at Eastside. “We want to create a best-in-class environment for patients, physician and employees,” he said, mindful of the fact that there is a shortage of top-notch healthcare workers nationwide. Demand is up; therefore, supply is down. There is keen competition to attract and keep the best healthcare professionals. To do that, he is taking a hands-on approach to the task.
Pointing to an African violet on his desk and the thank-you note beside it, he said that the gift was from a patient whom he visited during a recent stay at Eastside. “I am going around and talking to patients, asking them about their experience during their stay,” he said, adding that he is doing the same with employees and physicians. “It’s the best way I know to gauge what’s going on.” Other Eastside executives are doing the same thing.
Another means of keeping his finger on the community’s pulse is doing patient “de-briefings,” talking with patients who have had an Eastside experience in the past. ‘This is a great way to learn where we excel, and where we can get stronger,” said Lind.
What he sees so far is a dedicated staff, people who are committed to making Eastside the community’s go-to hospital for healthcare, no matter what the need. “Of course we need to compete, and there is some strong competition in both Gwinnett County and in Atlanta. But we work very well with Gwinnett Medical Center, and competition is good. It makes us all better.” The vision that Lind has for Eastside is to maintain that hometown feel, while still providing top-notch care to patients.
The young, gregarious new CEO recognizes that Eastside has some work to do, too. “We have to do a better job of letting the community know what we have here on this wonderful campus. For instance, we have two 3-D mammography machines. I’m not sure the community is aware of that. We also have an imaging center in Loganville.”
In order to start getting the word out, Lind has met with Mayor Tom Witts and members of city council. Eastside will partner with organizers of Run the Reagan, a race that features a Half Marathon, 10K, 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run. The hospital will also partner with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, March of Dimes, and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Tom Morris, the Atlanta Market Administrator for HCA Physician Services Group, is also a member of Snellville Tourism and Trade (STAT). Morris’ relationship can also lend a hand to Lind’s mission to bring Eastside closer together with the community.
Lind is also proud of the hospital’s commitment to serving an aging population. Gwinnett County attracted young families in the 1980s and 90s, with its strong school system and plethora of new homes. Many of those families have stayed. Their children have gone off to college, and some of those have returned, but their parents are now in their 50s, 60s and beyond. They are experiencing all that comes with aging, including joint aches and pains. Answering that need, Eastside has created the Joint Destinations Program, a private 17-bed inpatient unit dedicated to joint replacement, health and recovery. “We want to listen to the community, and let their needs drive healthcare here at Eastside,” Lind said.
Trent Lind understands both the challenges and strengths of Eastside Medical Center, and he is ready to roll up his sleeves to make the hospital, in his words, a best-in-class facility. He is proud of the strong medical team that is already in place, and confident about his ability to add to that team. “I’m confident about where Eastside is today, and optimistic about our future,” Lind said, smiling.