Culture and Values
When he started the Palo Alto Medical Clinic, Dr. Russel Lee said, "I was the only one that had any money, and I owned most of the buildings and equipment. That made it look like it was just going to be the Lee Clinic, like the Mayo Clinic and the Ochsner Clinic, which was not what I wanted. I wanted a true partnership that would take care of the whole town. I definitely wanted to identify it with the town and not with me personally. So we really initiated the idea of building a clinic to take care of the needs of the town. Any time the town needed a new specialist or a new instrument, we bought it. We weren't after referrals. We were after giving the town everything it needed."
Providing "community benefit" was always an ingrained part of the Clinic's culture, one of its most important values. Over the years, other principles held by the founding partners – an eager embrace of innovative ideas, collegial relationships between doctors and a constant striving for the highest quality of care – also insinuated themselves so completely into the organization that they became routine expectations for physicians and patients.
Over the decades, the Palo Alto Medical Clinic has grown steadily and evolved constantly to keep up with developments in medicine. But the organization's underlying culture has remained remarkably unchanged. Asked to define the Clinic's philosophy today, even new doctors cite collegiality, innovation, quality and community benefit as hallmarks, just as their predecessors would have done 75 years ago.
Read more about Culture & Values:
The Clinic in the Community
Dr. Harry Hartzell on Esther Clark
A Moral Dispute Over Murals
Collegiality: Sharing Responsibility and Friendships
Innovation: A Pioneer on Many Fronts
Early Experiments with Managed Care
'You're Not Being Fair to Your Family'
Dr. Myron Gananian
Dr. Lenore (Lassie) Sheridan