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Michael Burris ’09 leads a dynamic team as regional president of Sound Physicians

Michael Burris ’09 leads a dynamic team as regional president of Sound Physicians

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Michael Burris smiles in a conference room of his office. He is a learning against a high table and a piece of glass art sits next to him.

Image: Michael Burris ’09 majored in business at PLU and now serves as regional president of Sound Physicians. (photos by Sy Bean/PLU)

April 26, 2023
By Lora Shinn
PLU Marketing & Communications Guest Writer

Michael Burris ’09 worked at the intersection of business and healthcare since before even graduating from PLU with a business major and economics minor. While in his third year at PLU, he began an internship with MultiCare Health Systems, working as the CFO’s “right-hand man.” He was offered a job before graduation.

Now, Burris lives in North Tacoma with his wife Claire and 18-month-old son Van and has worked at Sound Physicians for eight years. As regional president, Burris delivers Sound Physicians’ strategic and operational management of inpatient care for health systems nationwide, and leads a dynamic team that measurably improves quality, satisfaction and financial performance for their partners.

“PLU sets you up in positions to think critically about the problems our current healthcare system faces daily,” Burris says: in the classroom, through internships and with mentors in the industry. He’d first tried to decide between nursing and business, and decided to focus on both, in a way.

A logo for PLU's Lute Powered story series. Lute Powered is hand written in black below a hand-drawn half sun

But PLU didn’t accept Burris initially. Burris and his mother visited PLU’s admission department to talk about how and why PLU might still be a good fit, due to small class sizes and strong academic support— throughout past schooling, Burris had struggled with dyslexia.

“Ultimately, they accepted the risk and let me into the school, which was the best thing to happen to me. I love PLU, and I still talk to the friends I made in school daily in a group text chat. PLU is a big reason I’m here today.” 

PLU offered learning accommodations during his time in school, academic coaching and mentorship. He later found leadership courses and executive coaching at Sound, as well. Both PLU and Sound invest in their people, which he says drew him to Sound as a long-term career move.  

PLU’s healthcare programs to “grow nurses, advanced providers, and most importantly, critical thinkers” is deeply needed within the industry, he observes. 

“We need a pipeline of talent that understands the complexity of problem-solving, who can apply critical thinking and compassionate care for our communities,” he says. “At the end of the day, we’re all just people taking care of people – in whatever role you play.”

Lute Powered is a project highlighting PLU alumni at well-known organizations across the Puget Sound region. Michael Burris ’09 is the second of three Lutes we will be highlighting from Sound Physicians. Dr. Erik Arnits ’11 was previously featured. 

Previous Lute Powered series include Amazon,  MultiCare Health System, City of Tacoma, Port of Tacoma, Educational Service District 113, and Chief Leschi Schools.

Michael Burris smiles while standing in the lobby of his office. There is a blue and yellow wall behind him and he is wearing a red sweater.