How St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital manages its unique risks

How St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital manages its unique risks | Corporate Risk & Insurance

How St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital manages its unique risks
Non-profits face enormous responsibilities each day when fulfilling their unique purposes, making the proper mitigation and protection of risks evermore important to ensure organizations can focus on the heart of their missions.

We sat down with LaKeisha Sisco-Beck, enterprise risk manager and counsel at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to gain her perspective on the risks that are top-of-mind for her today at one of the world’s premier pediatric research hospitals.

IBA: How do St. Jude’s risks differ from other non-profit organizations?
LaKeisha Sisco-Beck:
One of the biggest differences between St. Jude and other non-profits is that St. Jude has much less risk exposure associated with volunteer and fundraising activities. St. Jude is fortunate to have a separate organization, called ALSAC, which is solely devoted to spreading the word about the St. Jude mission and raising funds to support treatment and research. As such, ALSAC manages the bulk of the risks that are associated with fundraising and marketing. I would say this is one of the biggest differences between St. Jude and other non-profits.

IBA: What risks are top-of-mind for you today?
LSB:
With increasing measure, in today’s global economy, we are looking at managing travel risks as effectively as we can. For example, how to respond if a staff member is on a work assignment in an area where there is a civil disturbance, a disease outbreak, or natural disaster? We are also looking at our crisis management procedures and protocols and making sure we can quickly deploy the resources we have available and tailor our response to the specific situation at hand. This work has involved multi-disciplinary collaboration across many departments outside of risk management including security, human resources, travel services, and compliance.

IBA: How does St. Jude approach the handling of risks?
LSB:
One major thing we try to do is keep an ear to the ground and interact with front-line staff as often as possible. For example, there’s a daily briefing on the clinical side of the house that happens every morning, and we make sure someone attends that briefing every morning. We are very active participants on institutional committees and get to interact with faculty and staff in those settings. We also are very involved in the contracting process, so that work gives us exposure to many projects and their associated risks.  I think another key for the enterprise risk team is our emphasis on education. We try to provide several educational sessions annually to help departments better manage the risks that are unique to their areas.

IBA: What is your advice to insurance professionals on how they can better serve non-profits?
LSB:
The more they can offer services in addition to what we see as traditional carrier and brokerage services, the better. Many carriers have just-in-time training videos available or loss control consultants on staff who can visit their client’s facilities and perform a gap analysis at no additional cost. These are resources I would advise them to call to their clients’ attention. They might even consider incorporating these sorts of discussions into the annual insurance planning process. The more they can educate their clients about the resources that may be of interest to them, and make those resources affordable and easily accessible, the better. Things like this always stand out and are very helpful to us.