Providence names first medical director for environmental stewardship

RENTON, Wash., April 4, 2023 — Providence today announced that Brian Chesebro, M.D., is joining its national advocacy and social responsibility division as medical director of environmental stewardship. Most recently, Dr. Chesebro served as medical director of environmental stewardship for Providence in Oregon.

Dr. Chesebro is not only the first in this role, which spans Providence’s seven-state footprint, he is also one of the first medical directors of environmental stewardship in the nation. In this role, he will facilitate Providence’s transformation of clinical delivery of care to one that is safer for the natural environment, in line with our goal to be carbon negative by 2030. Dr. Chesebro will focus on reducing the health system’s pollution through mitigation, developing resilient systems and communities through adaptation, and advocating for planet safe policies and decisions.  

“As our organization continues to advance toward our sustainability goals, Providence will lean on Dr. Chesebro’s dedicated and innovative spirit to expedite our progress and make a cleaner, greener health care industry a reality,” said Beth Schenk, Providence’s executive director of environmental stewardship. “He’s led the way in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon, and I am excited to see him scale these important innovations across Providence.”

As an anesthesiologist, Dr. Chesebro looked within his own work to reduce emissions. Due in part to his findings in anesthetic greenhouse gas emissions, Providence has decreased greenhouse gas emissions from anesthesia by 78% and reduced overall carbon emissions by 11.5% by the end of 2022 compared to our baseline year of 2019. The reduction produced annual savings of $3.5M for anesthesia and a total of $10.8M compared to 2019. As Providence continues to make more data-driven choices with the environmental stewardship initiative, it hopes to achieve annual savings of $100M by 2030 that can be reinvested back into the communities it serves.  

“When I left Montana to enter medicine, a career focusing on the environmental sustainability of healthcare wasn’t part of my plan,” said Dr. Chesebro. “However, our results in Oregon show the impact and importance of this work. I am excited to focus on clinical environmental stewardship in helping Providence achieve its vision of health for a better world.”

Dr. Chesebro uses a data-driven approach to identify opportunities for improvement, while maintaining efficacy and safety for patients. To measure progress, each hospital receives a WEACT Scorecard every month, a one-of-a-kind database for resource use, cost, and carbon emissions for dozens of elements. Dr. Chesebro will use this database to find and share best practices that are scalable. 

Dr. Chesebro received his Doctor of Medicine from The John Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed the Anesthesiology and Perioperative Care Residency Program at the University of California, San Francisco. Outside of his environmental stewardship work, Dr. Chesebro will continue to practice as an anesthesiologist in Portland, Oregon.

About Providence

Providence is a national, not-for-profit Catholic health system comprising a diverse family of organizations and driven by a belief that health is a human right. With 52 hospitals, over 900 clinics, senior services, supportive housing, and many other health and educational services, the health system and its partners employ nearly 120,000 caregivers serving communities across seven states – Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, with system offices in Renton, Wash., and Irvine, Calif. Learn about our vision of health for a better world at Providence.org.

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