Fostering Female Leadership In Healthcare

By Sandhya D’Mello
Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Alisha Moopen, a healthcare executive in Dubai is taking serious efforts to promote women in the healthcare sector. Her company (Aster DM Healthcare) recently introduced a program exclusively for women called ‘Tahseen’, which selects high-performing fast trackers and gives them accelerated exposure to different functions and business challenges. The goal is to allow these women to take on bigger roles quicker and groom them to be leaders of tomorrow.


Narrowing gender disparity is not only a global theme this year but is also clearly reflected in the UAE as women take big strides in the cabinet and board rooms of large corporations.

Alisha Moopen, executive director and CEO of hospitals and clinics, GCC, at Aster DM Healthcare, is taking serious efforts to ensure that women get their due share by encouraging female employees in her office and the healthcare sector.

“In healthcare, we have a large proportion of women workforce. There is a real need for a lot of women in leadership rolse as women are the primary decision makers when it comes to healthcare. They are also the main providers at health care facilities — so it makes complete sense that women occupy leadership positions in such industries where their role is absolutely pivotal,” Moopen told Khaleej Times.

The company claims to have a lot of women in senior leadership roles — chief of information, chief of quality and several other operational heads.

“Seeing women hold roles in leadership and titles are very inspirational and encouraging for the whole workforce,” said Moopen.

The brand recently introduced a program exclusively for women called ‘Tahseen’, which selects high-performing fast trackers and gives them accelerated exposure to different functions and business challenges to allow them to take on bigger roles quicker and groom them to be leaders of tomorrow.

“We work as a close knit group selecting and developing initiatives and business ideas that will sustain us for generations to come. The most important mantra is to have a vision for globalization and the shrinking world and leveraging the learnings and best practices from elsewhere and incorporating the ones that makes sense for us,” she said.

Moopen started her career at UAE-based Aster when the demise of a senior executive director led her to unexpectedly take on that role.

“It was a huge learning curve for me to suddenly have to look after and be responsible for a large business comprising Aster hospital and clinics in the UAE. This led to deeper interactions with all teams from doctors to patients, HR, marketing, finance, IT, quality and helped me learn the delicate skill, art and effort required to weave it all together for a calibrated well-oiled engine,” said the daughter of Dr Azad Moopen, chairman and managing director, Aster DM Healthcare.

Moopen, who is responsible for the profit and loss of six hospitals and 80 clinics, aspires to make Aster DM Healthcare a global leader in health care by 2025.

“My dream is to see a future where everyone has access to quality health care.
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It is heartbreaking that the costs are so prohibitive that a significant majority of the world have no access to health care. I dream of a world where every person has a right to quality health care. I hope that with advances in technology, we will be able to address these issues and work towards the fundamental need for better living through healthier beings.

“We are a home-grown brand in the UAE. The vision of the rulers of this country gave the confidence and the courage to my father to dream to build this institution, which can bring quality healthcare to the people of UAE. The opportunity to serve the people and to enable them to lead a better quality and healthier life is the single driving force behind us. Aster, Medcare and Access promises to be your trusted partners in healthcare; from clinical excellence to compassionate care to most advanced technological solutions in healthcare to give our patients the best hope for healing and transforming their lives.”
Innovating in healthcare

Aster is currently focused on innovating in the healthcare space. The brand is moving away from the traditional reactive intervention to more population health management plans. “This will be the need of the future, to assess where we are at present, to see where things are going and to effectively build a plan around how to look at major diseases and actions to address them.”

Moopen is closely looking at expansion plans in terms of selection of geographies and the ones that makes natural sense for the brand to extend to, in what mode, with what investment, what kind of capital. “We plan to build our network and go to areas that will help the brand to succeed; and are good choices and a strategic fit for us.

“Mobilizing teams and leading market-entry plans such as we did for Bahrain and the Philippines recently have been some big moves for us,” she said.

“We listened to stories of staff, which demonstrated repeatedly key themes within the institution and used this to formalize the biggest and strongest foundation for us — our values, DNA and culture that set us apart from the rest. This is what will remain forever. Upon this, we will keep building on this health care institution that aims to serve the health care needs of the people in their communities to help them lead a healthier and thus happier life.”

The CEO, who dons many hats, said that change is always a challenge. Resistance to change is natural. “But luckily, the team we have has the best interests of the company at heart. We have people who are a unique combination of excellent skill set with an immense sense of responsibility for the brand; so when they are presented with any ideas that carry merit, it gets accepted by the mainstream.”

“We encourage our entire organization to look for transformational change so that we can always be ahead of the curve and adopt innovative ways to deliver our visions and mission to treat our patients well,” she said.

Moopen believes that women should go all out to highlight their efforts and achievements.

“We underplay our strengths and we over emphasize our shortcomings. We are usually our own worst critic and are hardest on ourselves,” she said.

“Trust yourself, your instinct and capabilities. We are stronger than we ever give ourselves credit for. Don’t be so harsh on yourself. Let us believe in ourselves, because we will never be able to convince the world what we are capable of, unless we are convinced ourselves first. Let us believe and let us make the magic happen,” Moopen concluded.

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