Meet the Collective is our series highlighting the great people who make up Collective Health. Today, we’re sitting down with Dr. Linda Grais, a seasoned physician and biopharma entrepreneur and CEO, who recently joined our Board of Directors. Read more about her appointment here.
Where are you from?
I am a native Californian. I was born in San Jose and moved to Los Gatos with my family when I was 10 years old. However, I often feel like I’m from Minnesota, because that’s where my parents were originally from. I spent much of my childhood going to Minneapolis for family events, so I consider that to be my other hometown!
What happened in your career that led you to Collective Health?
I trained in internal medicine and critical care and worked in an academic medical center for several years in San Francisco. I eventually focused on developing new treatments for diseases, including drugs for liver disease, heart disease, pulmonary disease, and different types of cancer.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen many of my friends and family members experience health problems and observed how difficult it can be to navigate the healthcare system, even for those who are well-informed. I was really excited when the opportunity came along to join the board of Collective Health, which is working to improve how people can access healthcare and navigate the healthcare system.
Why are you passionate about joining Collective Health?
Everyone has such a strong personal connection to health—whether it’s their own health, or that of their family members—it’s the one thing in life you can’t do without. We all need to have our health to the best extent possible and need to be able to access care for it.
I really connect to Collective Health’s mission of improving access to healthcare. After working on developing new treatments for diseases, I realized that unless people can access those new treatments, it doesn’t do much good to come up with them. It was also clear when I spoke with Ali Diab and the rest of the senior leadership team at Collective Health that they are all deeply committed to the same mission. That sense of dedication is something I’ve observed throughout the company. The work of the Member Advocates, for example, and how they help members navigate the healthcare system is incredibly inspiring.
What excites you most about where Collective Health is going?
Collective Health is in an exciting position to expand its impact across more clients and more members by using technology to make navigating the healthcare system easier.
How would you say technology can work better in healthcare?
Technology can make healthcare more intuitive to use, more user-friendly, and more human. What I really appreciate about Collective Health is that it’s a tech-enabled platform that maintains the human contact—it isn’t taking away the human contact—which is essential to healthcare.
What’s one of the most important lessons you’ve learned in your career?
It’s all about the people! There are so many interesting areas to work in, but I’ve always found that the quality of my experiences comes down to the people I’m working with. It’s essential to surround yourself with those whom you can learn from. They also often turn out to open up your next opportunity.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
My husband and I have three little grandchildren, and we love spending time with them. I also really enjoy hiking with my dog and playing tennis with my friends.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that informed what you do today?
I’ve always wanted to do something where I could help people. I went through different phases of determining the best way to do that, but in the end, it just felt like medicine and healthcare were areas where I could make the greatest impact personally.
What’s your favorite quote?
“The greatest glory in living is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall,” by Nelson Mandela. I’ve always found that quote very inspiring.
Any hidden talents or fun facts about yourself?
Some may not think this is a “fun” fact, but I worked one summer during college as a ranch hand on a cattle ranch in Nevada. I spent some of that time participating in the roundups, which involved branding and castrating the young calves. When I watch the television show Yellowstone and see the roundup scenes, I can’t quite believe I once did that!