In her own words: Dr. Amy Khan, Saint Mary’s Health Plans |

In her own words: Dr. Amy Khan, Saint Mary’s Health Plans

NNBW staff

Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about Saint Mary’s Health Plans and the duties of your position.

Dr. Amy Khan: At Saint Mary’s Health Plans, we offer high-quality, affordable health insurance to employers in Nevada. My role is to make sure our members receive appropriate medical care from skilled clinicians at the right place in a timely manner. In addition to assuring accessibility to valuable health services, I support efforts that help engage our members to optimize their health and wellness.

NNBW: How did you get into this profession?

Khan: Growing up in a small town, I was inspired by our local family doctor. I was further drawn to the field of medicine while in college as it combined my interest in helping people, health and science.

NNBW: What’s the most important thing you have learned in your career?

Khan: What you can accomplish together, especially with a shared vision and the willingness to refine the plan, far exceeds what you can do individually.

NNBW: What are the biggest hurdles your business has overcome in the past few years, and how did you accomplish your goals?

Khan: Staying on top of the rapidly changing landscape of health care; the key to our success has been staying focused on our core business offering valuable health services to our clients. We continue to achieve this by strengthening our alignment with health care providers and the members we serve while keeping our eye on innovative, national trends, evidenced-based best practices and health care reform.

NNBW: What was your first job?

Khan: My first job was as an assistant landscaper in the Midwest; I spent many summers mowing lawns. After that, choosing a career in medicine meant spending many years in school and training. As a newly minted physician, my first real job was as an internal medicine doctor with Kaiser Permanente in northern California.

NNBW: What’s your dream job, and why aren’t you working it?

Khan: I am working it.

NNBW: What’s the most fun you have had on the job?

Khan: Mid-career, I spent two years as an officer in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at CDC in Atlanta, Ga. During my tour, I got to play a Disease Detective investigating outbreaks and recommending health care system interventions to control and prevent disease in domestic and international settings.

NNBW: Do you have any blind spots as a manager? What do you do to overcome them?

Khan: Sure, don’t we all? I always try to remember that there is more than one way to skin a cat valuing alternative approaches and opinions of others help to drive better outcomes.

NNBW: What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes? How do you spend your time away from work?

Khan: Reading, cycling, hiking, cooking and skiing with my family.

NNBW: If you could live your life over again, what one thing would you change?

Khan: Out of the gate, I was pretty focused on getting through school and into my career; doing it over, I would pay more attention to my surroundings knowing that I might not pass that way again.

NNBW: What do you consider to be your biggest professional accomplishment?

Khan: Helping people to remain healthy and productive has been among my greatest accomplishments. For example, seeing how untreated alcohol and drug-use issues erode personal well-being, relationships as well as workplace performance, I worked collaboratively with several employers and a large group health insurer to implement coverage of needed treatment for impacted members as a basic medical benefit.

NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?

Khan: An astronaut.

NNBW: What would bystanders say if they saw you cutting a jig on the dance floor?

Khan: Yikes!

NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?

Khan: No way there is much work ahead to improve the health of our population and to fix health care. Plus, I am having too much fun!

NNBW: Where’s your perfect vacation spot?

Khan: Eden, Utah, in the winter it’s a pristine mountain valley with access to unbelievable powder. Shhhh … don’t tell anybody.

NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like most about working/living here?

Khan: Best place to live in the US friendly and hard-working people, four beautiful seasons and the sensational Sierra Nevada!

The basics:

Name: Dr. Amy J. Khan, chief medical officer, Saint Mary’s Health Plans

How long in this job? Nearly one year

How long in this profession? 26 years

Education: Bachelor of arts in chemistry, medical doctorate and master of public health

Last book read? “Life of Pi” by Martel Yann

Favorite book? “Sacred Hunger” by Barry Unsworth and “Cutting for Stone” by Abrahim Vorghese

Favorite movie? “Shawshank Redemption”

What’s on your iPod? Don’t have one yet…

Spouse, kids or pets? I have an adoring husband, an energetic son, a forgiving dog and two aloof cats.