Focus on Physician Leadership: Get to Know Kelli Kennedy, MD

September 4, 2018

What made you choose a career in Pediatric Care? And why have you stayed with this profession and specialty?

I’ve always enjoyed working with children. During my training years, I quickly saw how resilient children were, and the ways they dealt with illness was truly inspiring. Being able to help a child become or stay healthy is very rewarding. Now in private practice, it’s truly a privilege to watch the families grow and to partner with the parents to keep them healthy and safe.

Are there any physicians or leaders you have looked up to throughout your career?

There are such great physician role models all around us. I completed my residency at Tufts Tufts Children's Hospital, where I was able to train with some of the best; Cody Meissner, MD, Lochie Milner, MD, and Lynne Karlson, MD are a just a few that I greatly admire. I have great respect for our LCO Medical Director Steve Golden, MD, who works tirelessly for his patients and serves as a strong voice and leader in both Healthcare South and NEQCA.

Have you seen social media change how pediatricians are connecting with their patients? Have these advances affected your work directly? Is it a concern?

The reality is, today’s world communicates through social media; it’s the first place many people go for information, recommendations and advice. It can be a very effective tool to communicate with patients. In our practice, we’ve started to use social media as a communication tool for hot topics in the media, office hour changes and advertising. It’s a concern to ensure that social media never becomes a source of personal medical advice because it leaves too much risk of medical error or misdiagnosis.

You were one of 31 cohort members to complete the NEQCA Leadership Academy pilot program in 2018. Why did you want to be involved in that? And what skills did you develop or strengthen that you felt were most beneficial to you?

I wanted to strengthen my skills in medical management, financial intelligence, and negotiation. These are things I use every day in my practice as well as in my roles as a NEQCA Trustee and LCO Medical Director. I found the workshops on communication techniques and negotiation really useful to help build these skills. Whether it’s dealing with employees or fellow physicians, having difficult conversations effectively is a skill that can always be improved upon. The session on financial intelligence was excellent in aiding me to become more comfortable with reading our monthly financial statements and analyzing the overall financial well-being of my practice. Overall, attending these sessions has increased my confidence as a physician leader and motivated me to continue to serve NEQCA and my LCO to help us move forward in this difficult medical environment while continuing to provide top quality patient care.

You are also a member of the Pediatric Advisory Committee and NEQCA’s Board of Trustees. How did you prepare for these leadership roles?

Healthcare South is a physician led and owned organization. This is something that was important to me when choosing a practice. Becoming a partner and serving on the Executive Board and Board of Directors of HCS helped introduce me to the business side of medicine. It’s true that we do not get enough training in this area, and so for many physicians it is a “learn as you go” approach. Stepping into leadership roles with NEQCA was a natural progression from these positions because I believe that as physicians, we have to steer our own ship and have a seat at the table where decisions are being made.

Aside from being a dedicated pediatrician, what makes you, you? What are your hobbies or interests outside of the office?

My time outside of the office is occupied by my family. I am married with three children, Colin 15, Ryan 12, and Camryn, 8. We spend a lot of time at their activities, but we also like to travel to fun places and love to swim and snorkel. We enjoy visiting and relaxing at Lake Winnipesauke in the summer. My favorite hobby is my morning work-out; it keeps me sane before the crazy day begins!


Kelli Kennedy Family 1   Kelli Kennedy Family 2


Read other Focus on Physician Leadership interviews in this series:

Get to Know Eric Silverman, MD (December 2018)

Get to Know Ted Herwig, MD (June 2018)

Get to Know Pratiksha Patel, MD (March 2018)

Get to Know Dan Driscoll, MD (November 2017)