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Meet Sarah Wingfield, IU School of Medicine’s new chief of staff


Sarah Wingfield

Sarah Wingfield will join Indiana University School of Medicine August 1 as chief of staff to Dean Jay L. Hess.

Wingfield has 15 years of experience managing complex projects and initiatives in the public and private sectors and most recently served as a program manager for IU Health. As chief of staff, she will assist in the implementation of strategic agendas for IU School of Medicine and University Clinical Affairs and collaborate with everyone from executives to learners.

We asked Wingfield about her background and what makes her excited to join IU School of Medicine.

What made you interested in serving as chief of staff for Indiana University School of Medicine?

First, I connected with the mission and values of innovation and excellence to make Indiana one of the nation’s healthiest states. In working with members of IU School of Medicine, I was also impressed with the way everyone across the organization collaborates to create positive impact. I also saw an opportunity in the chief of staff role to leverage my background in process improvement and project management to help the organization achieve its goals by supporting the dean and his executive leaders.

You were a program manager for IU Health from January 2017 to August 2018. What did that role entail and how did you collaborate with the School of Medicine?

My role at IU Health involved leading large system projects to completion. I delivered the project visions of senior leaders at IU Health, the School of Medicine, and IU Health Physicians by facilitating strategic conversations, coordinating communication, and organizing project plans. When I started at IU Health I joined the funds flow project, which was a collaborative initiative to align funding for our tripartite mission to better achieve our goal of leading the transformation of health care through quality, innovation, and education, making Indiana one of the nation’s healthiest states. The new funds flow model– implemented in January 2018– provides transparency and simplicity, aligns the objectives of all involved parties, and defines funding for specific education and research activities.

The main focus of my role most recently involved working with executives at IU Health, IU Health Physicians, and IU School of Medicine on the initiative to redesign physician clinical compensation. By creating a clinical compensation model to allow physicians to meet each aspect of our mission (clinical care, research, and education), we will strengthen all three organizations while preparing for any potential changes in the health care marketplace.

You previously worked in a number of roles with the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Indiana Finance Authority, and have been involved with several significant projects, including the Indiana Toll Road lease. Can you share a little about what you learned from that experience that will be an asset in your new position?

In my time with the state, I learned the value of knowing my constituents and ensuring the work I did provided value to them every day. Identifying stakeholders early on, and fostering an atmosphere of collaboration and communication often is the “secret ingredient” that takes a project from ordinary to extraordinary. Understanding the varying needs of multiple constituents, and working to ensure alignment and achievement of all stakeholder goals are skills I use on a daily basis. I look forward to deploying those skills at the school to enhance the excellent work the dean and his executive associate deans already produce on a daily basis. I am also eager to meet the many members of the IU School of Medicine community and develop relationships that make us all more successful.

What excites you most about the IU School of Medicine mission?

I connect with the goal of excellence in education, research and patient care. I strive to be my best to make a positive impact on people’s lives each day, and by working with the school to achieve its goals, the impact is compounded. Achieving excellence at the school also means that we’re making a tangible difference in the health of Hoosiers, by excelling in our training of new physicians, developing innovative treatments and providing the best clinical care. Those are all objectives I am honored to support in the role of chief of staff.

What are your interests outside of work?

My husband and I stay busy with our two elementary school-aged girls. I love to read (and am always looking for book recommendations!), and I participate in a philanthropic organization assisting women in obtaining their educational goals through scholarships, grants, awards and loans.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Karen Spataro

Director of Strategic Communications

Karen Spataro served as director of the Indiana University School of Medicine Office of Strategic Communications from 2018-2020. She is now the Chief Communications Officer at Riley Children's Foundation.