Emergency physician William H. Adams, M.D., serves as President of the Lancaster General Hospital Medical & Dental Staff. We asked Dr. Adams about his priorities as president, his approach to managing stress, and how he stays connected to his wife and 12 children.
What is your background?
I grew up in West Chester. My mom was director of communications for a hospital. In high school, I enjoyed science and working with people. Medicine combines those two interests. I attended Bucknell University and the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, and completed my residency at Geisinger Medical Center. I joined Lancaster Emergency Associates in 1992. My wife and I wanted to be close to family, and I wanted to practice at a hospital with a trauma center. We felt that Lancaster would be the best place to raise our family.
Why did you choose emergency medicine? How has it changed over your career?
I like making decisions and doing procedures, and I thought emergency medicine was a niche I would enjoy. It works for our family too. While I have to work nights and weekends, I have a fixed schedule. I’m not on call. In general, compared to when I started, we see more acuity and complex patients today. Our patients are sicker by the time they get here because there are so many other resources available.
Dr. Bill Adams and his family
How do you manage the stress of your work?
I now spend about half of my time practicing emergency medicine. It’s still what I love to do, even though it’s stressful. Time off is critical. I think you have to get away from it. For me, it’s time with family and friends, and at church. We all need to rejuvenate. I’ve also taken several short-term mission trips. While I go to serve other people, I come back energized myself after practicing medicine in a different setting, where people are so appreciative of the care we give them.
How did you get into a leadership role?
I’ve served in many leadership roles during my career, both with LEA and the Med Staff, including Department Chair. I’ve learned a lot about the interactions within the hospital and how our leadership functions. I began my three-year term as Med Staff President in September, after three years as President Elect. As part of that role, I also now serve on the LGH Board of Trustees. I’m at the point in my career where I am concerned about our legacy for the next generation. Some of my kids are now starting their own careers. What legacy are we leaving for them?
What are your goals as Med Staff President?
One of my major goals is determining how we can improve the practice of medicine here at Lancaster General and make it more efficient for providers. We are currently working on revising our code of conduct. Now that we have revised our Med Staff bylaws, we are updating the rules and regulations for all departments and divisions, to give members a clear idea of expectations. We will also continue improving our new provider onboarding process. Finally, at some point, I would like to look at making the electronic medical record more efficient for providers. My motivation for all of this is a little bit selfish. The next patient we see might be one of my children, or my wife. How would I want them to be treated?
What other ways can leadership help support members of the Med Staff?
Now that LG Health is part of Penn Medicine, our leadership will work to smoothly and successfully implement health system policies and processes here. We also will pursue additional resources needed to manage our continued volume and growth, including more providers in certain specialties. And we will work very hard to understand and mitigate factors that may be causing stress for our providers.
It’s my job to serve you as president. I am always open to suggestions and encourage you to volunteer for projects that will improve the care we provide.
What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
My wife and I have 12 children, ages 31 to 13. Our oldest four are biological, and we adopted our youngest eight from Asia. We also have two grandchildren and one on the way. We’re blessed with great kids. As part of a large family, we all work together to make it work. Everyone has responsibilities and helps the others. We have six teenagers at home now, including four high-school juniors. We joke that we’ll be empty nesters at some point. We take care of a lot of land. I like to do things like mow grass and cut down firewood. My wife and I also ride bikes together. We try to get our whole family together once a month. Otherwise it’s too easy to drift apart.