Featured business person: Karl Ulrich

Karl Ulrich, Chief clinical officer, Via Christi Health

Ulrich found his wife and career while serving in the Peace Corps.

A native of Rochester, Minn., Ulrich earned his teaching certificate with the idea of coaching hockey, which he’d played in college. But he got interested in medicine while working in a tuberculosis control program in South Korea. He also met his wife, Heesoon. The couple have four grown children.

Back in the United States, Ulrich earned a medical degree from the University of New Mexico, did his psychiatry residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, then worked in public psychiatry in North Dakota. He spent 17 years at the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin, serving as president and CEO of the 800-physician group and earning a master’s degree in medical administration from Tulane University.

Most recently, he’s been the chief physician executive for Dignity Health in Sacramento, Calif., a 40-hospital system with locations in three states.

Ulrich, who started at Via Christi in February, said he was familiar with Wichita from having done work for Cargill and from having served on the hospital’s board of directors. It was while serving on the board that he was approached by hospital officials about a job here.

At Via Christi, Ulrich said his role will be to fully integrate inpatient and outpatient care.

“We want to create a continuum of care that will be patient-friendly regardless of the venue they’re getting it in.”

Ulrich, 64, still follows college hockey closely. “And, of course, now living here I have to follow the Shockers,” he said.

Joe Stumpe