Pamela L. Popp, MA, JD, DFASHRM, CPHRM, AIM, has long had a fascination with the business of health care. Whether it is physician best practices, hospital operations, or even the intricacies of state malpractice legislation, the health care field provides a new learning opportunity every day, which has helped fuel her passion and guide her career.
After graduating from St. Louis University School of Law with a J.D. in health law, Popp joined SSM Health Care in St. Louis as a corporate claims manager. While she loved the job of claims management, she was often frustrated that her department would resolve one claim and immediately move on to the next. It seemed like a never-ending cycle and Popp knew it could be improved.
"I would see trends--physician practices, clinical issues, policies that needed changing--and yet there was no process in place for us to respond to those trends," Popp said. "I'm a problem solver, so it was quite frustrating to see an issue and not be able to address it. I worked to make that information more visible to senior management and show the value of addressing the underlying risk issues before moving on to the next claim."
Popp also experienced the challenges of being a woman working in a traditionally male-dominated field. But she did not let this deter her. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and the careers of those warrior women have paved the way for future generations," she said. "Navigating a male-dominated field as a woman has made us stronger in our personal lives as well, which in retrospect, we all appreciated."
After her role in claims management, several risk management positions for various firms followed, including claims attorney for Tenet Healthcare, senior director of risk management for Stanford University Medical Center and corporate risk and insurance faculty for Regis University, among others. Currently, Popp serves as executive vice president and chief risk officer for GB Specialty, a division of Gallagher Bassett.
All along, Popp's 30-plus year career has been dedicated to health care risk management as a student, leader, mentor and innovator. Her leadership at the local, state and national level of American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM) elevated both the organization and profession through her guidance on educational and certification programs.
"In Pamela's absence, the health care risk management community would have missed the significant creation of educational content, the adoption of the Certified Professional...