Blog Post
Blog Post

Welcome, Sarah Smithson, MD, MPH

September 12, 2022
Intend Health Strategies Blog
Welcome, Sarah Smithson, MD, MPH

Sarah Smithson, MD, MPH, has been a dedicated member of the Primary Care Progress and Intend Health Strategies team for more than a decade and will formally transition to the Intend Health team as Vice President of Partnerships in September, 2022.

Growing up professionally and clinically in the context of Relational Leadership with the Intend Health Strategies team, Sarah thrives in joining interprofessional collaborations that support leadership development and health systems innovation, communication, and team-based care delivery. Sarah will work closely with the Intend Health leadership team in leading our case-building and sustainability activities and bringing a key, clinical voice and perspective to the team and this work.

"We are delighted to engage Sarah with this unique opportunity, as she will not only bring her decades of clinical expertise to our team, but our community will greatly benefit from her deep experience in building and championing the UNC Relational Leadership community during the past four years," stated Intend Health CEO Brian Souza.

Sarah most recently supported Intend Health as a contracted Senior Advisor, building on her work as a primary care physician at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill and as the assistant dean for clinical education at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Sarah earned degrees in medicine and public health from Emory University before completing her internal medicine residency training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Sarah Smithson, MD, MPH, joins Intend Health Strategies as Vice President of Partnerships in September 2022.

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"I think the collaborative work that Intend Health does to recruit bright, energized, resilient, diverse, and compassionate primary care physicians all over the country will be even more impactful. Intend Health's efforts will be a big part of the solution to mend our ailing primary care infrastructure in the coming years."

Peter Meyers, MD, MPH

Family Physician, Minnesota Community Care

"The leadership skills, relationships, and perspective I have gained through my involvement in Intend Health have shaped the clinician, educator, and leader I am today."

Kyle Turner, PharmD

University of Utah

"Thank you for inspiring a generation of future docs to become primary care physicians. I definitely felt like I had a community during medical school."

Shani Truong

Family Medicine Resident, UC Davis San Joaquin General Hospital

“Relational skills are particularly important right now because they’re rooted in people, with the fundamental assumption that we are good and have common values. If I can approach with unconditional positive regard and build in psychological safety, who knows what we can accomplish, despite the chaos around us.”

Lexy Kliewer, LCSW

Oregon Health and Science University

"This year, there's been so much change with COVID, with work, with everything. But I feel like the PCP Student Action Network has been that constant that I could always just count on. And my favorite part is that no matter how stressful work was, no matter how stressful the year was, whenever it came time for a PCP call or any PCP anything, it's always something that I look forward to."

Student Action Network Coach

"In a healthcare system fraught with silos and computer screens, we need the human voice — a personal connection — now more than ever. That's the work of Intend Health."

Matt Lewis, PhD

Strategic Consultant

“Over 100 members of the UNC community have participated in our Relational Leadership Institutes… one word stands out for me in our evaluations — regardless of whether cohorts met in person or via Zoom — and that word is transformative."

Josh Hinson, MSW, LCSW

Assistant Professor University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work

“I participated in RLI [the Relational Leadership Institute]... and my world has not been the same since. The community that I’ve gained at RLI has been extraordinary. Being part of RLI means being connected to a diverse, interdisciplinary community that breaks down the walls that are typical in academic medicine.”

Katie Gradick, MD, MHS

University of Utah

“A big impact that Intend Health has on me is it makes me more humble, kinder, more intuitive, a better listener, and I’ve been able to teach the skills I’ve learned to others. All of this makes me a better team member, and I think that that's integral to what Intend Health teaches — we need high functioning teams to provide the best care.”

Student Action Network Participant

“Relational Leadership is what keeps me going. When I feel overwhelmed, stressed, down, I turn to members of the Relational Leadership community for support and resilience. We genuinely care about each other. We put ‘people first,’ truly, in our work together.”

Sarah Smithson, MD, MPH

Assistant Dean for Clinical Education University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine

“So far, my experience in this Relational Leadership course has been THE highlight of my leadership journey. This program exceeded my expectations. I have been sharing the content with my colleagues who are also inspired by it. Thank you for making the world a better place one Relational Leadership course at a time.”

Relational Leadership for Clinician Leadership Program Participant


"I have employed and used so much of my Relational Leadership experience and training from Intend Health to work."

Krisda Chaiyachati, MD, MPH, MSHP

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

Intend Health People