Family and Community Bonds
Vanchiere’s own strong family background in the world of independent pediatric practice is likely what has driven his career focus. The youngest of five children, Paul was raised in Lake Charles, LA by his father, Buzzy, a pediatrician with a military background, and his mother, a nurse.
Buzzy was heavily involved in the community in Lake Charles, where he ran an eight-location independent pediatric practice. It was through Buzzy’s contributions to the community that he almost inadvertently developed an effective grass-roots marketing approach. “It wasn’t an intentional marketing effort,” explained Vanchiere, “it was more about just being deeply involved. In a small town, the pediatrician is really at the heart of the community, getting to know the parents, children, and families that live there over the course of generations. You don’t see that as much these days. It’s a shame because that sense of connection increases quality of life and reduces physician burnout.”
Even before the rigors of the pandemic, physician burnout was reaching alarming levels. According to a New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst collection entitled, “Physician Burnout: The Root of the Problem and the Path to Solutions,” more than half of practicing physicians were already experiencing symptoms of burnout in 2018, a number which has only increased since with the added stresses of Covid-19 on the healthcare industry.
While there are many factors that contribute to physician burnout, one strong mitigator is meaningful interactions with family, civic, and religious organizations, and positive relationships with colleagues in the workplace.1
Vanchiere credits a great deal of his father’s practice success to the fact it was steeped in the bonds of family. “Children from all the provider families helped to varying degrees with the running of the practice. We all spent time helping out during the summers of our high school and college years. One Saturday a month, the whole family would go to the office to process paper statements together.” As the Vanchiere children assisted in their father’s office, they got to know the families of the other providers. “There was a strong sense of camaraderie there. All the families involved in the practice had a genuine liking and respect for each other.”
Forming strong connections with one’s community is undoubtedly beneficial to the individual physician, but it also has far-reaching advantages for the healthcare industry itself. A broad study by The Annals of Internal Medicine found that physician burnout costs the industry approximately $4.6 billion annually due to turnover and other associated expenses. Reaching out to the surrounding community and involving family whenever possible goes a long way to combat the feeling of disconnectedness that so often drives burnout.
For Vanchiere, the positive feelings and bonds he formed growing up laid the groundwork to which he found himself returning during his college years. “I spent some time in college unsure of my career path. As I continued to work for my father, the path became clearer. I certainly felt the call to be involved in pediatrics in some sense.” Rather than go the route of becoming an M.D. like his father or brother, Paul Vanchiere was called to work on the business end of things.
Vanchiere attributes his business acumen to seeing his parents run a specialty gourmet food store in his hometown of Lake Charles. Vanchiere’s Market Place provided unique gift baskets with various foods from around the world. Going back further, Buzzy’s family had a general store in a community of fewer than 2,000 people outside Baton Rouge that provided everything from milk, to shoes, to plumbing parts, and even hunting equipment. “The experience from running these types of stores instilled within us the basics of business. Those basics are really straightforward and don’t change much even when the scale increases.” The lessons learned in both family businesses are now Paul’s to impart to independent practitioners through his work with PMI.