Pacific Lutheran University announcement.
When Mark Mariani ’98 was a student at PLU his singular goal was to become a medical doctor. A member of the football team and a biology major, Mariani loved his science courses, but he also found he was interested in a range of disciplines from economics to the humanities. He achieved his goal a few years later, earning a M.D. at the University of Washington. And while working with patients was just as rewarding as he’d hoped, his broad, multi-disciplinary interests remained, and ultimately led him into executive leadership.
Mariani serves as the chief medical officer and vice president for retail health for MultiCare Health System. He oversees the 34 Indigo Urgent Care clinics MultiCare operates across Washington. Urgent care clinics meet a public need for convenient access to unscheduled medical treatment for minor illnesses and injuries that don’t warrant a visit to an emergency room.
“First and foremost, we pride ourselves in delivering exceptional customer care that is safe and highly effective,” Mariani says. “There’s also the business side of it, being as innovative as possible, and embracing and integrating technology into what we do.”
Mariani has worked at MultiCare for 16 years. For the first decade, his role was largely as a medical doctor specializing in sports medicine. During that time he also began stepping into leadership, serving as MultiCare’s service chief for sports medicine and then as the medical director of the musculoskeletal division.
“I didn’t plan to go into the business side of things,” Mariani says. “I love seeing patients as a sports medicine physician, but I kept finding myself in leadership roles. I was curious and I wanted to learn, so I asked a lot of questions about why things operated the way they did and about how decisions were being made.”
In 2016, Mariani transitioned to a full-time leadership role, serving as the physician executive for occupational health and wellness. Then, after a two-year stint as the physician executive for retail health and strategic partnerships — and after earning a Leadership Executive MBA — he was promoted to his current position.
Mariani is constantly thinking about challenges and opportunities related to the business of the Indigo Urgent Care clinics and the delivery of quality care. It sounds exhausting, but Mariani insists it’s a ton of fun. “I love that pace and challenge of it all,” he says. “I trained as a physician, but then earned my MBA, and I’m literally using all of that every day.”
Mariani may have spent his undergraduate years with medical school front-of-mind, but he still thinks of his PLU education as informing the executive work he does today. “PLU was the foundation for me,” he says. “I learned how to understand the viewpoints and perspectives of other people.”
“PLU really has a great way of teaching that. And, if you can embrace that, you’ll be in great shape.”
Lute Powered is a new series highlighting PLU alumni at some of the most well-known organizations in the Puget Sound region. Mark Mariani ’98 is the second of three Lutes that will be featured from Multicare Health System. The series begin with a profile of Terri Card ’83, COO of outpatient operations for MultiCare Behavioral Health.