TIME'S NOW for Women Healthcare Leaders: A Guide for the Journey, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

TIME'S NOW for Women Healthcare Leaders

A Guide for the Journey, 1st Edition

By Patricia A. Gabow

Productivity Press

214 pages | 50 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781138365582
pub: 2020-04-20
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 20th April 2020

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The healthcare workforce now represents I out of 7 employees in the US healthcare workforce. Women now comprise most of the healthcare trainees and workforce, but they often hit a glass ceiling. For example, 84% of frontline hospital employees are women, but only 43% are executive, only 11% are CEOs and there is not a single CEO of a Fortune 500 healthcare company. Moreover, while 51% of the medical students are women, only about 16% of the Department Chairs and Deans are women. Clearly, women are facing barriers to achieving their potential and limiting their ability to help solve the issues facing healthcare. As is demonstrated by the readership of Lean In, women are seeking guidance and direction in achieving leadership roles. However, women in healthcare, particularly those in the healthcare professions, want focused advice from women who have walked the walk.

This book would be unique as it will be written by two women who have attained the highest leadership level by different routes, Dr. Gabow via the medical profession and Ms. Marks via the administrative route. This adds breath, robustness and applicability to the book. This is a practical "how to book" that will help women in healthcare to envision their ability to contribute, to aspire to leadership positions in healthcare organizations, health plans, physician groups and to help them achieve that goal. The authors see this as not only as a help to women, but also as a help to healthcare by increasing the leadership talent pool and thus, facilitating the nation’s the ability to address the myriad of problems facing healthcare.


This book is a must-read primer for women seeking leadership.  It is practical, thought provoking and carefully researched addressing why women’s leadership is important and how women can be better leaders. Gabow’s approach capitalizes on interviews with strong women leaders.  She uses the notions she learned from the interviews coupled with research from the literature to create an easy to read, motivating and challenging book for women and men!

Nancy Agee

President and CEO Carilion Clinic

Past Chair American Hospital Association


The timing for this book is perfect. As health care moves from caring predominantly for the sick to the Triple Aim—better care, improved health for our communities and lower costs, we need new perspectives and skills to lead the transformation. This book is the perfect guide to building the leadership and governance systems we’ll need to get there. Gabow’s wonderful definition of what women leaders bring to these challenges is inspirational and practical. She defines the unique approaches used by many women leaders, including seeing across the whole system, building multigenerational and multiprofessional teams, including all parts of the community and more. The book is filled with helpful advice for women in health care and for those who mentor them. A must-read for all in health care leadership today!

Maureen Bisognano

President Emerita and Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

TIME’S NOW for Women Healthcare Leaders is filled with powerful examples of how women have overcome multiple obstacles and prevailed on their leadership journeys.  It is a MUST read for women and men about the obstacles to be overcome; potholes to avoid and the shout outs to be given to women who every minute, every hour, every day are committed to human caring.  It has captured the heart and spirits of women from diverse backgrounds who have and continue to demonstrate their commitment to making society a better place for all!

Linda Burnes Bolton, DrPH, RN, FAAN Senior Vice President and System Chief Equity Officer Cedars Sinai Health System


Patricia Gabow offers a new and unique perspective on leadership for women in health care. As a physician and CEO of a major safety net health system, Dr. Gabow provides a view of leadership that women in health care rarely see. She does this in a way that is extremely approachable, authentic, often humorous, and always practical. Dr. Gabow recognizes the obstacles confronting women who aspire to lead and importantly, remains optimistic. She gives clear examples and guidance for those who are navigating the path towards leadership, those transitioning into leadership roles, and has words of wisdom for senior leaders too.  Chapter 6, entitled, Now You are a Leader, offers a playbook and is essential reading for all as they enter new leadership roles. Dr. Gabow, always inclusive, rounds out her guidance by including and synthesizing the observations of women in health leadership across the US.  The book offers many important insights and lessons and reminds us that as health care leaders we must lead with our values and always place our commitment to the patient first.

Carrie L. Byington, M.D.

Executive Vice President

University of California Health

Past (held concurrently) Jean and Thomas McMullin Professor and Dean of the College of Medicine and Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, Texas A&M University

Vice Chancellor for Health Services


This highly engaging book addresses the relative dearth of women leaders in health care through thoughtful assessment of how leaders’ values and actions can improve health care within health care organizations and systems. Dr. Gabow, an exceptional leader whose relentless passion for excellence for patients served by Denver Health earned her national renown, combines insightful observations from her own path with current statistics about women in medicine, experiences of other successful women leaders and mentoring skills to offer wise counsel to all current and future leaders. The thoughtful distillation of practical wisdom offered here make this book a unique contribution and highly relevant to health care in America today.

Carolyn Clancy, M.D.

Past Director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality


This insightful book is full of personal stories, honest reflections and data-driven guidance from and about women leaders. It serves as a wonderful resource for those motivated to advance diverse and inclusive organizations.

Karen DeSalvo, M.D., MPH

Chief Health Officer, Google Health

Past Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, US HHS

National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, US HHS


Leadership, especially for women, starts with taking the next right action.  Dr. Patricia Gabow’s insightful and well-written book will inspire any leader, and especially women leaders to do those things that matter:  for their own personal growth, their organizations, and healthcare nationally.  Whether you’re aspiring to be a physician leader, a corporate leader, or want to chart your own course as an entrepreneur, TIME’S NOW for Women Healthcare Leaders will give you the confidence and wisdom to help you achieve the success you want.

Halee Fischer-Wright, M.D. MMM, FAAP, FACMPE

President & CEO of Medical Group Management Association


I wish I had TIME’S NOW for Women Healthcare Leaders early in my career.  Dr. Gabow is masterful at laying out why more women are needed in healthcare leadership and breaking down how women can make it happen - including the critical path to be successful once in a leadership role.  Her use of Thought Exercises challenge each of us to not just read but to take action no matter where we are on our individual journey. 

Evon Holladay, MBA

Past Vice president at Catholic Health Initiatives


TIME’S NOW for Women Health Care Leaders successfully navigates many topics pertinent to women leaders, starting from developing a vision and values all the way to managing a board.

We all know that the characteristics of women being more collaborative and better communicators are factors that support an organization’s success, including financially. TIMES NOW helps individual women, as well as organizations, understand how to leverage these characteristics into a winning effort. TIME’S NOW provides the reader with an understanding of the critical skills women need that can make them successful leaders as well as the weaknesses that can hold them back. What I enjoyed the most in TIME’S NOW is when Dr. Gabow, in particular, and the other women leaders, shared real life examples of their successes and failures. Dr. Gabow is a pioneer in leading large health care organizations.  In this book, she paints an "end to end" experience for aspiring women leaders: from knowing "who’s your boss" to "making the trains run on time"  to spelling out many of the early steps a woman needs to pursue before she moves into senior leadership.  I wish I had this book before I started on my leadership journey.

Donna Lynne, DrPH

ColumbiaDoctors and COO

Columbia University Medical Center

Past, Lt Governor of the State of Colorado

VP Kaiser Foundation Health Plans


In its opening pages, the book, TIME’S NOW for Women Healthcare Leaders, eloquently describes the imperative for transformational change in the US healthcare system and the compelling need for women’s leadership skills and voices to help drive the necessary change. The book is more than an anthem for female empowerment. It is a carefully researched and powerfully constructed business case for why women need to be at the leadership table. It is, therefore, worthwhile reading for both women and men interested in improving healthcare in America. The author, Dr. Patricia Gabow, is a nationally recognized healthcare leader. She acknowledges that the glass ceiling still exists but "there are stairways to the top even if some of them seem hidden or hazardous." Dr. Gabow then proceeds to identify and clarify the important skills and steps of a woman’s professional journey to leadership, influence, and impact. Along the way, she engages the reader in a series of thought exercises designed to encourage the reader to reflect more deeply on how the issues discussed define their personal and institutional perspectives and reality.


TIME’S NOW is filled with practical and philosophical insights and advice for both aspiring and experienced women leaders. It is worth reading not only once, but again to absorb the complex and nuanced observations offered by Dr. Gabow and further enriched by the perspectives and wisdom of a dozen successful women healthcare leaders who were interviewed. All of these women were unified in the belief that successful leadership is not about the acquisition of power and title but the ability to use one’s power and influence to make a difference and have a positive impact on the health and lives of others.

Lilly Marks 

Vice President for Health Affairs

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

TIME’S NOW is an important addition to our growing literature on leadership. Patricia Ann Gabow MD is an American academic physician, researcher, consultant, and for two decades, the highly successful Chief Executive Officer of Denver Health, transforming it into a model of financially secure community service. This eminently readable book is aimed at a particularly underserved niche – women leaders in health care – but the lessons described apply to all organizations interested in doing well by doing good. Dr. Gabow’s conversational style coupled with her wisdom and humility, allow the reader to readily imagine successfully using the tools and techniques she discusses in other arenas. Her real world vignettes bring home the realization that every physician must lead. She doesn’t shy away from the difficult issues of managing sexual harassment and outdated management practices that stifle women. The use of personal stories and comments from other prominent women in health care, and the distillation of the pertinent points into self-help questions, is particularly effective. TIME’S NOW should be required reading for all women in health care leadership– as well as all the men who work with women.

Barbara L. McAneny M.D., FASCO, MACP

Past President, American Medical Association

Patty Gabow is a giant among health care, public health and community leaders. She has inspired many to take on the challenging role of leadership and has brought inspiration and guidance for many of us who have followed in her footsteps. Now she has taken time to put down in writing much of her personal philosophy and experience. This book combines the topics of women’s advancement and leadership in an individualized approach that allows thoughtful preparation and helpful guidance for those in leadership. If you know Dr. Gabow, read this book, if you don’t know Dr. Gabow read this book and learn from a master.

Janis M Orlowski, MD MACP

Chief Health Care Officer, AAMC


TIME’S NOW for Women Healthcare Leaders could not have arrived at a more urgent and yet promising time in the pursuit of gender equity in healthcare. Patricia Gabow’s book not only lays out the ethical, business and performance cases for gender equity in healthcare leadership, but also provides insight into the barriers women face, first-hand accounts of the challenges and successes of women leaders, and steps that women can take in pursuit of leadership roles in healthcare. This is a must-read for all who seek the best outcomes for our American healthcare system.

Nancy Spector, M.D.

Professor of Pediatrics

Executive Director, Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine

Associate Dean of Faculty Development

Drexel University College of Medicine   


Dr. Gabow has written another valuable book, this one with a timely focus on what women bring to executive roles in healthcare and how we could use more of that! Using direct quotes from women leaders, national data on current trends, and her own voice of experience, she covers the personal to the political. I strongly recommend this book to women who now lead or who aspire to healthcare leadership.

Nanette Santoro, M.D.

Professor and E Stewart Taylor Chair of Obstetrics & Gynecology

University of Colorado School of Medicine

Table of Contents

Foreword. Acknowledgements. About the Author. Introduction. Chapter 1: Why Should Women Lead. Chapter 2: Lay of the Land. Chapter 3: Obstacles and Opportunities. Chapter 4: First Things First. Chapter 5: You Can’t Parachute into Leadership. Chapter 6: Now You Are a Leader. Chapter 7: Even Leaders Have a Boss. Chapter 8: Making the Trains Run on Time and Laying New Tracks. Chapter 9: Sharing and Receiving Lessons Learned. Chapter 10: Remember the Obvious. Chapter 11: Reflections of Other Women. References.

About the Author

Patricia A. Gabow, MD, MACP, retired, is formerly the CEO of Denver Health. Her career has had four distinct components. The first two components, which overlapped temporally, were as an academic practitioner and researcher in the area of renal disease with emphasis initially on disorders of body fluid and electrolyte balance and subsequently on autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease. She was Principal Investigator on the largest clinical NIH Program Project Grant in Polycystic Kidney Disease for 15 years, which produced seminal observations on the systemic nature of the disease, the disease in children, the disease progression and modulators and the genetics of the disorder.

The third component of her career was as physician leader. This phase began with the role of Director of the Medical Services (Chair), Medical Director of a health care system (Chief Medical Officer), and finally as the CEO of a large integrated public system. During her leadership, she led a system transformation changing a struggling public hospital system into a model integrated, high quality, fiscally stable system. This was accomplished in a series of initiatives: managing finances to put the system in the black where it remained for her 20 years of leadership despite providing $4.7 billion of uninsured care; moving the entire integrated delivery system from a city government department which it had been for 135 years to an independent governmental entity, enabling flexibility and innovation while maintaining public accountability; investing over $300 million dollars in the physical plant which created state-of-the-art facilities for vulnerable populations; investing over $400 in information technology to provide robust data and tools to improve quality, accountability, and efficiency; and creating and adopting innovations such as advice nurse lines, school-based clinics, standardized computer order sets, and Toyota Production/Lean to improve the accessibility, quality, and cost of care by adapting tools from other industries.

The final component of her career has been as a national leader in health care and health care policy. This is reflected in her appointments during her career to the Commonwealth Commission on a High Performing Health System, the federal Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC, 17 members), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Board, The Lown Institute Board, the National Governors’ Association Health Advisory Committee, the Aspen Group, and as a Senior Advisor to Simpler Consulting (part of IBM Wastson Health). She has tried to share what she’s learned in each phase of her career through writing (over 170 publications), lectures and board service.

Lilly Marks is currently the Executive Vice Chancellor and Vice President for Health Affairs at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus. She is a successful leader with broad experience managing and leading large and complex academic and healthcare organizations. Experience includes full range of leadership, financial management and operational issues; strategic planning; enterprise risk management; philanthropy; advocacy’ regulatory compliance; and talent recruitment. Her experience also includes significant governance roles serving on and chairing multiple boards of directors including nonprofits, as well as, publicly traded companies.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Production & Operations Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Women in Business
MEDICAL / Hospital Administration & Care