Richard Bock, MD
Richard Bock builds things. As a vascular surgeon, he repaired damaged arteries, saved lives, and founded a nationally respected, multidisciplinary vascular team. Now he is devoting his talent and energy to Immersion Advisors™, a consultancy dedicated to improving understanding among health system Board members, elected officials, journalists and philanthropists of what it takes to deliver high quality, cost-effective care in the 21st century.
With one foot in the boardroom and one in the operating room, Richard Bock is experienced in illuminating the immense challenges faced by executive leadership and caregivers. His programs for Board members are unforgettable and transformative for governance. Policymakers leave Richard’s sessions with powerful insights, and he brings journalists the material they need to accurately convey the challenges health systems face. Richard’s work with selected donors creates compelling and indelible bonds.
Richard received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Virginia, where he was an Echols Scholar and Resident of the Lawn. He completed his six-year residency in general surgery at the University of Louisville, winning the Edelin prize for best published research in the 35-resident program.
After a research and clinical year at the University of Sydney (Australia) under Professor Robert Lusby, he served his vascular surgery fellowship at UCLA. He then remained on UCLA’s clinical and teaching faculty, performing vascular research in the Nobel-Prize-winning laboratory of Louis Ignarro.
In 1995 Richard Bock moved to Asheville, NC to build a vascular program at Mission Health System’s 770-bed tertiary hospital (surgical volume now 46,000 cases/year). He founded Carolina Vascular at the Mission Vascular Center, and built the group to comprise five vascular surgeons and five P.A.s. In 1998 he performed the first Ancure endovascular aneurysm repair in the USA, and became a physician trainer, teaching endovascular procedures to more than 100 visiting surgeons.
Richard also founded Vein Specialists of Carolina Vascular in 2005. This subspecialty vein practice, part of Carolina Vascular, treats vein disorders ranging from spider veins to vena cava disease. In the late-2000s he followed these interests to the basic science laboratory, where he developed a new treatment for small and spider varicose veins. Soon after, he performed over 60 animal trials and succeeded in developing a fundamentally new treatment for spider veins.
In 2006 Richard joined the Board of Directors of Mission Health, a $1.7 billion, six-hospital system serving Western North Carolina. His work with Ronald A. Paulus, MD (Mission’s nationally-known, visionary CEO), with Mission’s Board, and on its Executive, Finance, and Search Committees, all convinced Richard of the need for more in-depth, experiential board education. In response to this need, he created the Immersion Day program.
Richard Bock has a rare talent for translating the complex world of health care for key leaders. Board members have called Immersion Day “unforgettable”, “magnificent”, and “transformative”. Journalists and policymakers concur. As one CEO observed, “if someone actually sees what we do every day, they will never think of us in the same way again, and negativity evaporates.”
In 2016, Bock and Paulus reported results of the Immersion Day program at Mission Health in the New England Journal of Medicine. The article has generated nationwide interest in the work of Immersion Advisors and the Immersion Day experience.