Alumni profile

From Campus to Healthcare

Will Callicoat poses in front of hospital room, with window and bed

Alumnus turned hospital president shares insights on leading transformation.

Will Callicoat '03
Business Administration

“I credit Saint Martin’s for setting me up for success in healthcare,” shared alumnus Will Callicoat ’03, president of Capital Medical Center and Thurston County market leader for MultiCare Health System. “The team-based learning at Saint Martin’s created a solid education in the moment and foundation for continuous learning into the future.”

Callicoat described himself as a non-traditional student at Saint Martin’s University, where he juggled his already-established career as an optician and family life, all while pursuing his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus in finance. His original intent was to work in finance for an investment firm, but his path was fortuitously altered in 2003 while attending a career fair at Saint Martin's. It was there, at the age of 28, he unexpectedly discovered and pursued a financial analyst position, at Capital Medical Center, launching his current career in healthcare.

When thinking about how his leadership style has evolved during his career, Callicoat shared, “When I started as a financial analyst, I relied too heavily on data and spreadsheets. I am embarrassed to admit it took me too many years to realize that what occurs ‘at the bedside’ presents a very different view than a judgment made from looking at a spreadsheet."

The mission of MultiCare is “partnering for healing and a healthy future.” This approach is at the core of Callicoat’s decision-making process. From collaborating with Providence St. Peter Hospital and the Thurston County Department of Health throughout the coronavirus pandemic to now working to ensure there are enough healthcare providers to meet the needs of the growing population, he believes it works best with partners.

Since 2021, during Callicoat’s tenure, MultiCare has opened a state-of-the-art neighborhood emergency department in Lacey and a new women’s primary care center in Olympia; expanded urology, uro/gynecology, obstetrics, midwifery, gynecology, neurology, and hospice services; and added two dozen additional primary care providers. MultiCare has also invested in and implemented new health care technologies that negate the need to travel to Tacoma or Seattle for care. He credits his team and the engaged medical staff for making these advancements.

Looking ahead, Callicoat noted that hospitals typically are the most expensive cost setting in the world with healthcare costs rising faster than inflation. “One benefit of being part of a health system is that we can design high-quality care pathways at the system level and deploy them at each care location,” he said. “Doing so will reduce the length of time patients stay in the hospital, which reduces the cost of care.” An example he shared was that MultiCare providers and nurses have adopted a new model of care that reduces the time a patient is on a ventilator, thereby shortening their hospital stay. Another example Callicoat cited happened during the opening day of a new urology clinic when a gentleman called into the clinic in extreme pain. Urologist Dr. Murray then asked the patient to come into the clinic's procedure room, eliminating the need for an emergency room visit. Ten minutes later, the patient was on his way home, feeling much better.

When asked what advice he would give to aspiring future healthcare leaders, Callicoat shared that a career in healthcare is rewarding because it helps a community so worthy and in need of our care and attention. Hospitals are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year, so healthcare administration requires many hours. While admitting the hours are challenging, he goes on to encourage that a career in healthcare is “rewarding in the sense that you assemble teams and resources together. If you do it right, new clinics will emerge, new physicians and providers will join, new technologies and procedures will be available, new staff will want to join the team, and your family, neighbors and community will benefit.”

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