Advocate Health Physician Selected as 2024 Presidential Leadership Scholar

Dr. David Callaway

Dr. David Callaway, chief of crisis operations and sustainability at Advocate Health, based in Charlotte, N.C., is one of 60 scholars who will form the ninth class of Presidential Leadership Scholars (PLS).

The Presidential Leadership Scholars program is a partnership among the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Lyndon B. Johnson. For nearly a decade, PLS has served as a catalyst for a diverse network of leaders brought together to collaborate and create meaningful change in the United States and around the world as they learn about leadership through the lens of the presidential experiences of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Lyndon B. Johnson, and their respective administrations.

The class was selected after a rigorous application and review process. Scholars were chosen based on their leadership growth potential and the strength of their personal leadership projects aimed at improving civic engagement or social good by addressing a problem or need in their community, the country or the world.

“In the United States, over half of a health system’s carbon footprint is from the material we use for patient care and the manner in which we use it,” said Callaway. “It is time for major health systems to partner with medical technology and medical device companies to unleash innovation and create a more sustainable, high-tech health care future.”

It has been estimated the health care sector creates 8.5 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

During the six-month program, Callaway will develop his initiative focused on building the Advocate Health Sustainable Healthcare Catalyst located in “The Pearl” innovation district in Charlotte. The goal of the program is to spark and scale innovation that ultimately improves the health of the planet and its people. Already, the centerpiece of The Pearl, The Howard R. Levine Center for Education — which will house Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s new second campus in Charlotte — is being constructed to a carbon-zero and LEED Gold standard, while also achieving a WELL Building Standard.

“Since ancient times, we have known that human health — our health — is tied to the health of the environment in which we live, said Callaway. “At Advocate Health, we embrace this concept and will embody it in all we do.”

Advocate Health, which was created with the combination of Advocate Aurora Health and Atrium Health to form the nation’s third-largest nonprofit health care system, has publicly stated commitments to generating positive social impact. It aims to advance population health, enable career advancement, bring medical innovations to patients more quickly, address the root causes of health inequities and achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

Callaway, who is also a professor of emergency medicine at Atrium Health in Charlotte, served three years as an expeditionary physician supporting the United States Marine Corps in combat and crisis zones around the globe before returning to his training at the Harvard Affiliated Emergency Medicine Residency, where he served as chief resident. At Advocate Health, Callaway leads a team of senior, cross-disciplinary, executive leaders who are working to transform and decarbonize health care.

Over the course of the program, scholars will travel to each participating presidential center to learn from key former administration officials, business and civic leaders and leading academics. They will study and put into practice varying approaches to leadership and exchange ideas to help strengthen their impact in the communities they serve.

Scholars have consistently reported remarkable growth in skills, responsibilities and opportunities for impact since the program began in 2015. For example, 91 percent of scholars said their confidence in how they lead social change has improved as a result of the PLS program.

The 2024 program kicked off on Jan. 24 in Washington, D.C.

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