February 8, 2024

MHA Member Spotlight: Mohan Suntha, MD

Mohan Suntha  MHA Member Spotlight

MHA: Why did you pursue a career in health care?

MS: My career in health care leadership is rooted in my passion for medicine. Early on, I made the decision to become a physician, driven by the desire to impact the health and wellness of people. During my medical school experience, I fell in love with the psychology and the science of caring for cancer patients, ultimately leading me to radiation oncology. Both the science and the privilege of caring for people with significant disease attracted me to this field. As an academic health system, we have the responsibility to prepare for the cures of tomorrow while delivering the care of today—all of these reasons led me to pursue a career in academic medicine—whether as a member of the faculty or in healthcare administration.

MHA: What are you most proud of in your career?

MS: In both my career as a physician and also in my administrative roles, I’m particularly proud of the impact the University of Maryland Medical System has had on our patients. Despite my administrative role, I still fundamentally identify myself as a physician. I transitioned into health care administration as it allowed me to further impact medicine and care on a broad scale. As a health care administrator, I am able to leverage opportunities and impact our communities on a significant scale through UMMS.

MHA: What does mission mean to you, and how does UMMS contribute to making an impact?

MS: When we talk about the mission of our academic health system, we focus on four galvanizing themes. These include being relentless in our focus in delivering the highest quality patient and family centered care to all of the communities that we are blessed to serve across the state of Maryland – owning the responsibility associated with being anchor institutions within all of these communities and that really means being vibrant members of a community – leveraging the size and scale of our health system by waking up every day thinking about Maryland and their health we get to impact the nation and at times the world when it comes to health care delivery – and addressing the health care needs of Marylanders on a daily basis. The mission is about making a difference in health care delivery and being vibrant members of the communities we serve.

MHA: What is most enjoyable about what you do?

MS: Engaging with our team members on a daily basis and witnessing firsthand the impact of how we show up in our communities is the most enjoyable aspect of my role. Seeing the positive outcomes and contributions to the well-being of individuals and our communities is truly the most fulfilling part of my job.

Mohan Family PhotoMHA: If you weren’t in health care, what would you do?

MS: Being a sports enthusiast, I love sports, and no matter what, if not in health care, I would be drawn to a position of leadership, perhaps running a professional sports team. The lessons that I have learned through sports have been invaluable to me, like teamwork and perseverance.

MHA: Is there a program at UMMS that has significantly enriched the community that you’re particularly proud of?

MS: I’m incredibly proud of the purposeful work the medical system has done since the summer of 2020 in addressing equity and social justice issues. The system has created a purposeful roadmap for evolving and shaping the culture toward equity and social justice. Given the mission of health care, our focus on health equity has been quite purposeful, but the commitment to social justice speaks to our objective demonstration of our anchor institution responsibilities. This includes initiatives like grant-making, placed-based investing, and partnering with organizations and companies that historically found it hard to navigate opportunities within large economic engines like health systems are a source of tremendous pride.

Mohan Family Photo

MHA: When you aren’t working, where might we find you?

MS: Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and two daughters, ages 23 and 21. I have a passion for golf, even though I don’t get to play as much as I’d like. We are foodies and enjoy time together at restaurants, and we have a vacation home on the Jersey shore, where we love spending quality time.

MHA: What have you been reading or watching lately?

MS: I recently finished reading “Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell,” a book about a Columbia University football coach who became a whisperer to leaders like Steve Jobs. He made a real impact on Google, Apple, and many more tech companies and the entrepreneurs who run them. The book shares valuable leadership lessons, and it resonated with me.

MHA: What do you find valuable about being part of MHA?

MS: Being part of MHA is exciting due to the Association’s evolution and the opportunity it provides to having our voice heard in shaping the future of health care delivery. I’m excited on behalf of our system given our size and scale and impact to be part of that conversation to drive the evolution of the Association. And I’m ecstatic to work with the new president and CEO of MHA, Melony G. Griffith.