Science knowledge helps CEO succeed in the business side of medicineSteve Freeland | 1984 Alumnus, B.S. Biology | Biology Department Steve Freeland has never been far from medicine.
From spending more than two decades working at St. Vincent Hospital to his most recent position as CEO of Cancer Care Group (CCG) in central Indiana, he has built a successful career in the business of medicine.
Today, Freeland is responsible for running one of the country’s largest private radiation oncology practices – overseeing the group’s operations, as well as several separate business ventures, including a physics company and a leasing firm. He also directs CCG’s partnerships with over 20 hospitals throughout Indiana and manages a regional staff of more than 60 associates. Before joining CCG, the executive brought a homecare pharmacy company back from the brink of failure, turning it into a profitable enterprise in just four years.
While Freeland is as comfortable in the CEO’s chair as anyone you’ll ever meet, it’s not the job he envisioned for himself as a science student at IUPUI in the mid-1980s. Freeland had every intention of going to medical school, following in the footsteps of his father, once a small-town family practitioner and later an Indianapolis OBGYN practitioner. Medical school admission offers came from schools in other states, but Freeland, father of a toddler at the time, turned them down to stay close to his family.
“Not getting accepted to medical school here was a real setback,” says Freeland. “I stayed at St. Vincent, where I’d been working while attending IUPUI, and decided the best thing to do was progress through the business side of health.”
Navigating down a new road, he earned an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University in 1995, which was, according to Freeland, “one of the best things I ever did,” and invaluable for the positions he’s held since.
As for the biology and chemistry learned in his days as an undergraduate, the science hasn’t been lost on him. Freeland refers back to it frequently when in discussions with the practice’s oncologists and physicists about their work treating cancer patients. There were other lessons learned at IUPUI too – lessons that serve the CEO well, even today.
“The thing I got out of IUPUI is learning how hard you have to work to achieve,” Freeland says. “That’s the kind of place IUPUI was – a lot of hard-working students, there for different reasons, doing just what I was doing – trying to balance school, full-time work and family. I really liked that diversity.”
Spotlight Update: Steve Freeland received the Outstanding Alumni Award from the School of Science Alumni Association in 2013.