Unique perspective guides Snelgrove in overseeing practice

Business Women Awards 2019 | WOMEN TO WATCH, HEALTH CARE SERVICES 
Kathleen Snelgrove, University Orthopedics Inc.

HAVING BEGUN HER CAREER as an occupational therapist, University Orthopedics Inc. Chief Operating Officer Kathleen Snelgrove finds she has a unique insight about management.

“I have treated patients for a living and I understand the clinical side of things,” she said. “It’s not just business.”

Snelgrove made the transition from hands-on clinician to leadership over the course of 19 years with University Orthopedics. Physicians and managers noticed her successes with creating performance management systems and encouraged her to continue with professional development and new challenges.

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“I’ve always been very lucky to work for great physicians who invest in education for employees and who saw my potential,” she said.

She now leads a team of 15 directors and recently streamlined 350 employees across five states to provide care for more than 1 million visits by patients each year.

The past four years were spent planning, building and opening a new 90,000-square-foot facility in East Providence. The new location has been open for about a year.

Snelgrove was involved in site choice, engineering, building design and the eventual interior design, according to Dr. Julia Katarincic.

“Without her 24/7 effort over those years, the building would have never been built,” Katarincic said. “One of the most impressive parts of this project was not only to design for patient care but to get over 40 surgeons to agree with the design.”

Snelgrove’s background at University Orthopedics helped her guide planners to address specific needs of physicians and staff, as well as deliver the best possible patient experience.

“As a physician, if you don’t have all the tools you need, you can’t provide the best care,” she said. “It was so rewarding. Something completely outside of what I learned in school. To have had that experience, I feel so lucky.”

Snelgrove still has plenty on her plate. She’s played a major part in the practice’s strategic planning for the next five years and is in the midst of earning an MBA. She also participates in OrthoForum, a national physician specialty organization. She has been a volunteer middle school field hockey coach for many years and is involved in Relay for Life and other Susan G. Komen breast cancer fundraising activities.