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Elaine Couture 

In Their Words

You started out as a nurse. What part of your patient care experience do you bring to this job?

What’s important for me is I never forget what it was like to be at the bedside. I saw so many different people’s eyes. It gets into your soul — the pain and the suffering that people go through, how frightened they become.

We’re used to hearing bad news about health care — money woes, doctor shortages and not enough bang for our buck. What makes you excited about your new post?

The transformation of health care, I think, is absolutely exciting. We’re going to provide care closest to home, giving people high quality with great satisfaction and at the lowest possible cost, by looking at different venues where care can be provided. Our IT is going to be absolutely instrumental in that. It’s going to transform the way people interact with their providers. And with all [Providence] hospitals being on the same IT platform, we’re going to have one of the largest research databases available.

What’s the best piece of health advice you’ve gotten?

To always make sure I’m taking care of myself. You can’t change your gender, you can’t change your family genetics, but those things that you can control are the things you have to do. I think that in America we got away from understanding the impact of wellness and prevention in terms of our overall health. We’re swinging back into that now, and there’s a lot of discussion about people taking personal accountability for that. Nobody can force you to eat your fruits and vegetables, to exercise and all those kinds of things. Only you can take accountability for that.

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