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Q&A With Curi Advisory’s Managing Director, Risk Solutions, Donna Nicholson 

By: Curi Editorial Team
4 Minute Read

At Curi Advisory, we pride ourselves on our ability to provide clients with a wealth of knowledge, resources, and support as it relates to risk management within their medical practices. Leading our team of in-house experts, Donna Nicholson has dedicated her career to the pursuit of providing high-quality healthcare to patients. We recently sat down with Donna to learn more about her background and extensive industry experience, as well as her perspectives on the opportunities that lay ahead for Curi Advisory’s Risk Solutions Department.  


Please tell us a bit about yourself! 

I was born and raised in Charlotte NC as an only child of two successful businesspeople. Through their example, my parents certainly modeled the importance of hard work throughout my childhood, while simultaneously making sure to nurture my interests. At a young age I discovered my affinity for horses and horseback riding—a love that I now get to enjoy with my daughter, Ashley (31) as she also expressed an interest at a young age. Further evidence of my mother’s ambitious spirit, after taking time off to raise me, she went back to college (funnily enough, at the same time as me), changed careers, and re-entered the workforce. 

Nowadays, I love to read, spend time with my two dogs, and travel with my kids. Singapore, New Zealand, Greece, Austria… we have been all over—but Disney will remain one of our favorite places to visit together.  


Can you walk us through your career to date? 

I began my college career pursuing a degree in Biology at Agnes Scott College, but I quickly realized that I wasn’t quite sure what profession I could pursue with such a degree. I knew that I didn’t want to go to medical school, as it would be extremely difficult to achieve the work/life balance I desired in that profession, so ultimately, I decided to go to nursing school and transferred to University of North Carolina at Charlotte. And after starting my family, when my son, Nick (35), was 12 and my daughter, Ashley, was 9, I decided to go back to school to earn my MBA. 

After graduating nursing school, I began my career in the emergency department at Duke University Hospital. This was the first time that Duke hired new graduates to the ED, and it was seen as a bit of an experiment to throw a new nurse into such an intense work environment. It was absolutely challenging, but I learned so much about a wide range of disciplines. Later on, I worked in coronary care, but when hospital hours became difficult to manage, I pivoted to working for a cardiologist in an independent practice. 

My first experience outside of the hospital setting was with a large, multi-specialty practice, where I stayed for the better part of a decade. In time, I became the executive director of a spin-off from this group called Piedmont Healthcare Alliance, where my team and I were responsible for the operations of 130 physicians. 

It was at this time that I went back to earn my MBA. Once I graduated, I went to work with a different organization as the Vice President of their consulting division and Corporate Compliance Officer. After some time, I started my own consulting company called Providence Healthcare Consulting that focused on independent physician practices. I continued that work for 12 years until I met Curi’s former Chief Operations Officer, David Sousa, and ended up at Curi in 2017. 


What do you enjoy most about working at Curi? 

My team, really. I lead a fantastic team in the Risk Solutions Department and have great working relationships with my other colleagues throughout the company. What makes our team so special is the fact that we all share common values, which creates a very positive and collaborative culture. Within my team, we’re a bit different than the rest of the organization, as we’re more patient-focused than others. We work directly with clients to optimize the quality of care they deliver to patients. Given that many of my team members have a healthcare background, this work truly aligns with our personal goals of ensuring patients are well taken care of.   

Our collective belief is that, if we assist healthcare providers in delivering high-quality care, we can help them avoid mistakes and complications. We also help get our clients out of difficult situations where they don’t know where to turn. We often say, “you can’t make this stuff up,” because just when you think you’ve seen it all—something new happens. It’s a great feeling to know that our clients can always rely on us to help them through.  


What do you see as the biggest priority in your role? 

We are always challenged to stay current on what’s next on the healthcare industry’s horizon as it relates to physician practices. We need to stay ahead of the curve and bring our clients the necessary information and advice to run a care-focused practice. It’s our job to give them the tools and knowledge they need at every turn, and that is our primary focus always. 

My role is to lead our team with this goal in mind. I have a team of tremendously talented people, so my job is to lift them up and remove any barriers in their way to help them succeed in their efforts.  


What makes you most excited about the future of Curi’s Risk Solution offerings? 

In light of our recent merger, I’m very excited about this opportunity of integration and knowledge-sharing as we merge our resources and expertise with another team of talented and experienced risk experts. We plan to collaborate with one another to leverage the strengths of both legacy organizations to deliver even higher quality services to our combined group of clients.  

Curi Editorial Team

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