The Key to Driving Change with Dr. Starr Steinhilber
18 min

Starr Steinhilber, MD, is the Medical Director of the Compliant Documentation Management Program, and the Co-Director of Patient Safety and Quality Improvement at Tinsley Harrison Internal Medicine Residency Program at the University of Alabama Birmingham. Dr. Steinhilber grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, and completed her medical school and internal medicine residency at University of Alabama—Birmingham. After a year as chief resident, she joined the UAB faculty in the department of general internal medicine where she has been a leader in increasing focus on patient safety and quality improvement. Dr. Steinhilber was recently awarded the Southern Society of General Internal Medicine's Clinician Educator of the Year Award, and the Dean's Excellence Teaching Award at UAB.

As physicians, it’s part of our nature to want to make an impact on the world. And part of our mission to see that through. Today, Dr. Starr Steinhilber believes that when it comes to making a difference, start small. When we make a small difference, we earn trust. Then, we’re given a longer leash to make a bigger change, earning even more trust. Dr. Steinhilber also explains the difference between a manager and a leader: We must manage before we lead. Her best advice for us is this: Do the work first, help others do the work, and then inspire the world from there. As for mentorship, Dr. Steinhilber recommends finding someone you want to emulate in your future, and observe the qualities they possess. And when it comes to sponsorship, the most successful mentees are the ones who say ‘Pick Me!’.

Pearls of Wisdom:

1. We all want to drive change. The key to change is starting small. Don’t try to win over the whole hospital on day one. Make a small difference, earn respect, make a bigger difference, earn more respect, and so forth. 2. Rather than trying to be a leader inspiring change, start as a manager: Start by knowing the work, doing the work, and then inspiring the work. 3. Find a mentor by observing someone you want to be like in the future, and then making the connection. 4. The qualities of excellent mentees are following through, and being enthusiastic about as many opportunities as possible.

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