Putting the Patient First Remains Dr. Barbara Gold’s True North

Barbara Gold, MD, MHCM, University of Minnesota Physician and Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology joined the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1991, and in the almost 30 years she has been on the faculty, has contributed greatly to the Medical School, UMPhysicians (UMP) and University of Minnesota Health.

“What has kept me here has been the mission and the new opportunities and challenges I receive from the people around me. We have a very committed and dedicated faculty and staff,” said Dr. Gold.

Dr. Gold received her MD from Stanford University School of Medicine. She did her residency at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a research fellowship at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Gold also completed an MS degree from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Of all the opportunities that have arisen in her career, there is always one area that has been at the top of Dr. Gold’s list: refining patient care.

Dr. Gold has served as Senior Vice President of Clinical Quality for UMP and subsequently Vice President of Medical Affairs of the University of Minnesota Medical Center where she was instrumental in launching the Safety Always program. Recently, she was named Chief Clinical Risk Officer for the University of Minnesota Medical School and UMP, and will be in charge of developing consistent practices across the organizations to normalize responses to unanticipated events in a manner that is aligned with the medical mission. Key to this endeavor is to develop comprehensive clinical review panels, risk management education for physicians, residents, and students and a peer support system.

“The most important part of my job is continually striving to provide better care to patients in all its dimensions—whether it’s direct patient care in the operating room or setting out processes that will help medical staff to excel.”

Dr. Gold has helped build, from the ground up, many programs that have helped improve patient care at University of Minnesota Health, including the Preoperative Assessment Center (PAC).

As an anesthesiologist, Dr. Gold loves what she does. “The pace, the dynamism, the opportunity to guide a patient through surgery safely when there’s so much at stake, and to teach our trainees” are among the few aspects that keep her engaged.

As for her care philosophy, Dr. Gold cites her “true north” as always putting the patient at the center of what she does, and that helps her when she’s faced with decisions—big and small.

“Whether it’s related to a moment to moment decision in the operating room, a scheduling issue or an administrative issue, my true north is whatever is in the patient’s best interest.”

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