Women Leaders

Paula E. Menkosky, Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Christina Zorn, Mayo Clinic in Florida

Paula E. Menkosky and Christina Zorn

Physician/Administrator Collaboration

Editors’ Note

Paula E. Menkosky was appointed as Chief Administrative Officer for Mayo Clinic in Arizona in 2012. She is responsible for Mayo Clinic operations in Arizona in partnership with Dr. Wyatt Decker, Mayo Clinic Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Mayo Clinic in Arizona and serves as a member of the Mayo Clinic Board of Governors and Board of Trustees. In addition, Menkosky was appointed as a Vice Chair of Administration for Mayo Clinic responsible for external relations. In this role, she oversees Mayo Clinic’s public affairs and development activities enterprise-wide. She began her work at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in 1996 and has held numerous leadership positions at Mayo Clinic including serving as Director of Operations, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of MMSI, a Mayo Health Company. She has also served as the Vice Chair of Managed Care Operations and Business Development and Operations for Mayo Clinic Health Solutions. Menkosky holds a B.A. degree in applied psychology from California State University, Long Beach, an M.A. degree in industrial-organizational psychology from California State University, San Bernardino, and a M.S. degree in healthcare administration from California State University, Long Beach.

Christina Zorn, J.D., began her service as Vice Chair of Administration, Mayo Clinic, and Chief Administrative Officer of Mayo Clinic in Florida in 2015. In addition to her leadership and oversight of Mayo Clinic in Florida, Zorn also provides oversight for information technology, information security, planning services and enterprise analytics across Mayo Clinic’s national enterprise. She began her career at Mayo Clinic in 2002 as a legal counsel and in 2009 she was named Chair of the Florida Division of Mayo Clinic’s Legal Department. Zorn is the secretary of the executive operations team of the Florida campus, and serves on the enterprise management team of Mayo Clinic. In addition to her roles at Mayo Clinic, Zorn is also a member of the American Association of Corporate Counsel, the American Health Lawyers Association, and the Florida Hospital Association. She serves on the Board of Trustees at the Bolles School and on the Board of Allevant Solutions, LLC. Zorn earned her B.S. in zoology from the University of Wisconsin and received her J.D. from Creighton University School of Law.

Institution Brief

Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.org) is a not-for-profit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, and providing expert, comprehensive care to patients with serious and complex illnesses. Mayo Clinic has major campuses in Rochester, Minnesota; Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona; and Jacksonville, Florida. The Mayo Clinic Health System serves more than 60 communities in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Mayo Clinic cares for more than one million people a year.

What have been the keys to the leadership of Mayo Clinic and how do you define the Mayo Clinic difference?

Menkosky: Over the past 150+ years, Mayo Clinic has made tremendous contributions to the art and science of healing by focusing on teams of specialists and integrating practice, research and education.

From a patient care perspective, we are defined by a true team approach, an unhurried exam, a partnership and relationship with local referring physicians, a commitment to the highest quality care built on compassion and trust, as well as a promise of advanced, innovative technologies and techniques.

Zorn: Our difference derives from our mission and values, which focus on serving the needs of the patient and putting the patient at the center of all that we do. This is something that everyone at Mayo Clinic – not just the leadership – knows and infuses into our daily work.

Also, as Paula mentioned, teamwork is one of our values, and our model of care is designed so our physicians and staff work together in a collaborative atmosphere. This enables us to empower staff, to innovate, and to provide hope and healing for patients with even the most serious and complex health issues.

Will you provide an overview of the chief administrator role and how you focus your efforts?

Menkosky: As a physician-led organization, we rely on the physician/administrator partnership, as well as the physician/administrator/nurse manager partnership to form true integration and collaboration.

This is one of the most distinctive aspects of Mayo Clinic – the close collaboration between physician leaders and administrative colleagues, who each bring unique skills to serve patients and advance medical science.

Leadership by our physicians occurs at all levels of the practice. Every committee and every decision includes thorough input from our physicians.

Christina and I, as chief administrative officers in Florida and Arizona, partner with our site CEO, who is always a physician, and we collaborate with our complementary strengths. It’s a great model that makes Mayo Clinic stronger.


“Under the leadership of our CEO, Dr. John Noseworthy, Mayo Clinic has transitioned over the past eight years from a holding company to a single operating company with the same strategic and operating plan, and budget. We are integrating to ensure that our patients have an incredible and consistent experience no matter what Mayo Clinic they receive care at.”


How critical is it that the chief administrative officer role is heavily engaged in business strategy?

Zorn: As we mentioned, one reason Mayo has been so successful is that the executive leadership, as well as every major division department and service line, has a physician leader paired with an administrator.

This started in 1908, when Harry Harwick and Dr. Will Mayo created the model of physician/administrator collaboration. Throughout Mayo Clinic, all physician leaders have an assigned administrative partner.

The physicians lead the clinical practice, research activities, physician education programs, career development of the medical staff and ensure the needs of the patient always come first.

The administrator partners have business and management expertise and a broad understanding of the institution. They lead by managing the business side of the operations, including our non-physician/scientist colleagues, and also ensure the needs of the patient always come first.

Will you provide a description of Mayo Clinic’s Arizona and Florida sites?

Menkosky: Size wise, our entire organization is comprised of three distinct campuses and a robust health system that encompass one Mayo Clinic. As an international organization, last year Mayo Clinic provided care for 1.3 million people from across the globe, including 137 countries. Our largest campus is based in Rochester, Minnesota, right where the Mayo family resided 150 years ago. This campus is considered America’s first destination medical center.

In Arizona, Mayo Clinic employs more than 650 physicians and 6,800 allied health staff and provided care for more than 600,000 patient visits last year. Mayo Clinic Hospital in Arizona has been named #1 in Arizona in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospital report for six consecutive years.

Zorn: Mayo Clinic in Florida is based in Jacksonville, Florida, and is also ranked #1 in Florida in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospital report. We have more than 6,400 physicians, scientists and staff with expertise in nearly every specialty, and treated about 119,000 patients from all 50 states and 83 countries in 2017.

How close is the coordination between Mayor Clinic’s sites in order to provide seamless and consistent service?

Zorn: Under the leadership of our CEO, Dr. John Noseworthy, Mayo Clinic has transitioned over the past eight years from a holding company to a single operating company with the same strategic and operating plan, and budget. We are integrating to ensure that our patients have an incredible and consistent experience no matter what Mayo Clinic they receive care at.

Menkosky: I would add that, as a unified organization with multiple locations, integration helps patients have the same experience and know that they have access to all of Mayo Clinic’s resources wherever they are seen. Our organizational priorities are aimed at ensuring that our patient focus permeates the entire organization, in every department at every location.

Would you describe the strength of the workforce at Mayo Clinic?

Zorn: We undoubtedly have the most committed and talented staff at Mayo Clinic who are enrolled in our mission and values. At all levels, we have both servant leaders and change agents who put service first. They employ curiosity and have a willingness to try new things while remaining constantly focused on improving quality and the patient experience.

Menkosky: We understand the importance of our workforce in all that we do. Dr. Will Mayo said, “The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered, and in order that the sick may have the benefit of advancing knowledge, union of forces is necessary.”

Our unique workforce focuses on what we do best: delivering integrated care to patients with serious and complex medical conditions. We hire and train top talent to bring their best to Mayo Clinic and dedicate teams of experts who tailor their collective medical knowledge to each individual patient.

We innovate and apply research to our clinical practice and create an experience that others cannot replicate.

We educate the workforce of the future through our numerous health related programs in the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences.

We help patients to stay close to home. If care at a destination practice is needed, the transition between local and destination care will be seamless.

Our staff’s relentless focus on patient safety, service and quality has been recognized by numerous external agencies.

How critical is it for Mayo Clinic to build a diverse and inclusive workforce and will you highlight your efforts in this regard?

Menkosky: Diversity and inclusion are integral to Mayo Clinic’s mission. To optimally meet the needs of our increasingly diverse patients, we work diligently to provide excellent, culturally relevant care in an environment that is welcoming to people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

A unique aspect of diversity and inclusion at Mayo Clinic is our Mayo Employee Resource Groups or MERGs. These are employee-organized groups that form around a common dimension of diversity. MERGs may focus on traditional diversity dimensions such as ethnicity, age or gender. They may also include such groups as veterans, single/working parents, or the disabled.

In 2018, DiversityInc named Mayo Clinic to its Top Hospitals and Health Systems list for the seventh straight year.

Zorn: I would add that, even as a world-class healthcare institution, we must continually assess our efforts and embrace opportunities to improve. It is important that our views do not remain stagnant and that we hold ourselves accountable for providing a welcoming and inclusive environment to all who come through our doors.

We are also focusing on hiring and retaining people with diverse backgrounds to bring their best to Mayo Clinic. Within our teams and departments, we must continue to encourage participation from all employees. This includes increasing the proportion of women and minority students, faculty and staff in areas where they are underrepresented. Through these efforts, we ensure our continued success and innovation.

What do you see as Mayo Clinic’s responsibility to the communities where it operates and how deeply ingrained is social responsibility in the culture of the organization?

Menkosky: Mayo Clinic is committed to working collaboratively with local partners to regularly assess and address the health needs within its local communities, as well as to advance population health locally and globally through integrated clinical practice, education and research. We work with hundreds of community partners on collective efforts to improve the quality of life, health and well-being of all in our communities.

In Arizona, this begins with the Mayo Clinic-built Community Advisory Board, comprising communities of faith, government, free clinics, federally qualified health centers, nonprofits and other local organizations. The board helps Mayo Clinic understand the needs of the community and helps identify ways to reduce health disparities across underserved, vulnerable populations.

Across Mayo, our commitment is larger than just within our local communities – in fact, we have 70 regional Mayo Clinic Health System sites and more than 40 Mayo Clinic Care Network locations globally, so our reach is worldwide.

Zorn: Mayo Clinic gives back to our community through environmental stewardship, health outreach and social services in many ways. For example, in Florida, we are leading an initiative to train more than 10,000 people in Mental Health First Aid, teaching signs of mental illness and fostering discussions that help people seek treatment.

Also, we serve people and deliver fresh food and vegetables through WellnessRx, a Mayo program that delivers health education, screenings and other activities in a Jacksonville community classified as a food desert and which has significant health disparities.

We also provide medical expertise and volunteers for free clinics and shelters that serve the most vulnerable residents in our region.

Mayo Clinic cannot be successful without the strong support of our community including not-for-profit organizations, the faith community, and our business partners. They are an essential part of our continued story.