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Last May, St. Vincent Healthcare announced a new partnership with Primary Children’s Hospital and the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City. The arrangement aims to improve the types of care available for pediatric patients in Billings, and it provides easier transfers for Montana patients who require the specialized care available in Salt Lake City.

Dustin Strandell, director of neuroscience, pediatric, and surgery service lines at St. Vincent, has been closely involved with the partnership.

“I get to work with everybody who touches the patient and participates in that program,” Strandell said.

Under the partnership, Children’s Hospital’s specialists are providing services in Billings, either in person or through the use of telemedicine, a video link which allows doctors to interact with patients from a remote site.

“It will probably be a mixture of that. There will be an onsite presence with their specialists, and telemedicine will play an essential part of it,” Strandell said. “Telemedicine is on the verge of being a major player in health care.”

“They’re a large organization in a free-standing children’s hospital. It gives us that expertise and insight on what we can adopt and implement,” Strandell said. “We should see some good progress.”

Before he became a health care administrator, Strandell worked directly with patients, but initially studied engineering in college, “I knew I wanted something different and visited the radiology program in Great Falls and enjoyed the patient interaction and the science and technology behind it. From there I completed two years of radiology training and took my first health care job in Shelby.

“I was immediately exposed to leadership, and that is when I feel like I found my passion,” Strandell said. “I held a couple different leadership positions in radiology before I was offered the opportunity at St. Vincent to move into the role of director of the Neuroscience Service Line,” he said. “I have been very fortunate that I have been offered other opportunities since then and I am able to continue to grow as a leader with the organization and to expand my knowledge.”

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job? Healthcare is changing on a daily basis and the greatest challenge we face is keeping up with the change and trying to predict where we will be as an industry in 1, 3, or 5 years. A big part of my job involves strategy and business development which means I am involved in a lot of planning for the service lines I work with and because of all the changes we are going through as an industry, it makes our tasks that much more difficult.

What’s the best business advice you have received? Don’t be afraid to think big.

Who gave you that advice? My Parents.

Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: Be involved as much as I can through volunteering, support local nonprofits and businesses, and enjoy the great community we live in. We are fortunate to have what we have in Billings and we all need to support that.

Outside of work, my biggest passion is:

My family; spending as much time with my son and wife as possible.

Which living person do you most admire?

My father; he is my best friend and someone I have always looked up to for advice.

Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the impact we have on patients and their families. We are very fortunate to have the medical care we have in Billings and although I am not part of the bedside experience for these patients, being involved in the background and seeing the care patients at St. Vincent Healthcare receive continues to amaze me and is the best measure of success in my job.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My family is by far my greatest achievement. Professionally, opening the St. Vincent Regional Neuroscience Center for Brain and Spine stands out. I was able to work with a great team to open the center in 2012. Since then the center continues to thrive and offer the best neurological care to the region.

I’m happiest when I’m…

Outdoors with my wife and son, I enjoy everything outdoors and lately have been spending most of my time camping and golfing when I can.