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INTEGRIS Physician Executive Dr. Tommy Ibrahim In the News

Hearty congratulations are in order for Tommy Ibrahim, M.D., EVP and Chief Physician Executive at INTEGRIS, on his Modern Healthcare nomination of 50 Most Influential Clinical Leaders of 2019.

The nomination by Modern Healthcare is an outstanding achievement. Dr. Ibrahim’s fellow nominees are nationally known luminaries in the medical field. This illustrious list includes Dr. Atul Gawande, who is CEO of Haven (the forthcoming Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase health care venture) as well as a surgeon and bestselling writer; Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, President and CEO of Mayo Clinic; and Dr. Jerome Adams, Surgeon General of the United States. 

This recognition honors physicians working in the health care industry who are deemed by their peers and an expert panel to be the most influential in terms of demonstrating leadership and impact. 

We wish the best to all the nominees, but our vote is for our own remarkable Dr. Ibrahim. Here’s his incredible story. Spoiler alert: he’s young, a bit of an overachiever, and a man on a mission.

“My parents were born and raised in Egypt. They were the first generation to immigrate to the United States,” Dr. Ibrahim says.

The pair came to Jersey City, New Jersey on their honeymoon and never left. His father was a mechanical engineer, his mother had a background in business. The couple had two sons: Dr. Ibrahim, and his younger brother who is now a family practice physician in Chicago.

“Actually, it was through my own personal health care experience that I identified my interest in pursuing a career in health care. I was sixteen and had a significant accident that was eye-opening for me. It was one of those experiences that helps you appreciate life a lot more. I've always had a deep connection to helping others but wasn't quite clear on how I was going to fulfill my passion until I had my own experience as a patient. It was through that that I connected with medicine and decided to pursue that career and go to medical school,” he says.

Dr. Ibrahim’s desire to serve others took root and became a driving passion, which means he found himself in a bit of a hurry. After high school, he attended a five-year, accelerated medical school in Cambridge, England. At 23, he graduated from medical school. He married his wife Marian at 25, and by 26 he’d completed his residency. His son John was born when Dr. Ibrahim was 28, and he achieved his first Chief Medical Officer position at 29. His second CMO position came at 33; his daughter Sophia was born the following year. Two years later, at 36, Dr. Ibrahim came to Oklahoma and INTEGRIS as Chief Medical Officer.

In addition to his Bachelor of Medical Science degree and Doctor of Medicine degree from St. Christopher’s College of Medicine in Cambridge, England, Ibrahim holds a Master of Science degree in Health Administration from Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. He is also a practicing hospitalist and boarded in internal medicine and hospital medicine. Dr. Ibrahim is also a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a Fellow in Hospital Medicine.

His transformational leadership at INTEGRIS is elevating the tenor of the entire system. He is the executive leader of INTEGRIS physician and medical staff leaders and serves as the physician executive in charge of leading the strategic direction for clinical services throughout the health system, including all clinical excellence, quality and patient safety objectives.

Making the switch from working as a practicing physician to an executive position in health care administration was all about helping people on as large a scale as possible. It was a switch that enabled him to make a much greater impact on the health of his community. “As a physician, I saw 16 to 20 patients a day and could make that impact daily. As a chief physician executive, I can have a positive impact on close to 2,000 patients a day. It allows me to increase the impact of my work by ensuring the highest quality and value of care,” Dr. Ibrahim says.

His philosophy was crystalized during his first leadership position, in Springfield, IL, where he was tasked with starting a hospitalist program. After eight months of serving as the sole hospitalist, the program began to grow. Within 18 months, he built up the hospitalist program to 16 physicians. The CEO there then asked him to take on the role of Chief Medical Officer. At only 29 years old.

That CEO, Bob Ritz, is a still close friend and mentor. “He believed in me and encouraged me to do more,” Dr. Ibrahim says. Ritz departed Springfield for Des Moines, and six months later recruited Dr. Ibrahim to join him there. There’s no doubt that Ritz’s mentorship changed the trajectory of Dr. Ibrahim’s career.

When asked what life looks like for him five years from now, he says ultimately he wants to be the CEO of a health system. However, he doesn’t feel an “expiration date” on what he’s currently doing, because he loves it. He says, “I still have a lot to learn, and I’m constantly observing great health care leaders to develop key competencies to reach my goals.”

Another reason Dr. Ibrahim plans to stay around for a while? His medical staff. “When the recruiter called me about this position, I really didn’t want to leave Des Moines, but I fell in love with INTEGRIS. The physicians here are exceptional and ready to do something different. There is a lot of positive potential with our physicians and I will do everything I can to support them. I knew it was a true chance to do something transformational,” he says.

“At INTEGRIS we are in the midst of reinventing ourselves. There’s excitement in the air, new leadership and new ways of doing things. We all feel a renewed sense of energy that we can and will be a preeminent health care system.”

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