Every step along the way has just been unexpected. I feel like I was meant to be here. I’ve been at the right place at the right time. It feels really good to love the job you’re doing.
Korry Dow ’07 has worked in healthcare for more than a dozen years but has never seen anything like the COVID-19 pandemic. President of Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, Dow said community hospitals like hers will be feeling the ramifications of the pandemic for years.
“It’s going to change us dramatically,” she said, explaining the challenges created by the downturn in elective procedures during the pandemic. “We’re planning on, ‘What’s it going to look like when we open up for elective cases, and the amount of personal protective equipment we’re going to need. I can see us forever wearing masks, potentially. If it’s not this strain of COVID, it’s going to be the next one.”
Operationally, the hospital has been adapting through technology, and Dow thinks that is the way of the future. “It’s our new way of life,” she said. “I’m always on a conference call instead of being in a boardroom. I think that’s going to stick. I think telemedicine within our primary care offices is going to change, and we will be able to reach out to a population of people we couldn’t before because of demographics and geography. This could potentially help us.”
Dow’s journey to her leadership role came about with a combination of opportunity and readiness. She began her MBA after the birth of her daughter and finished her last class just before the birth of her son. “I fit that MBA in. It was something I just wanted to do,” Dow said. “Now that I’m where I am, it was very necessary that I had that background.” With her credentials, Dow was working as manager of accounting at Nashoba Valley in 2008. When her boss retired, Dow found herself facing an opportunity and became the hospital’s chief financial officer. Eventually she was the hospital’s interim president, and assumed full responsibilities in March 2019.
“Every step along the way has just been unexpected,” she said. “I feel like I was meant to be here. I’ve been at the right place at the right time. It feels really good to love the job you’re doing.”
This story was first published in the Summer 2020 edition of Contact, the university's alumni magazine.