Meet the leader with the unique role of overseeing operations at Tidelands Health Medical Park at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach
Jason Self always has his eye on his next challenge.
The 44-year-old retired military officer and health care veteran craves opportunities to take on new responsibilities, push his limits and, simply put, find a new way to excel.
So Self, who joined Tidelands Health in 2017 as the director of digestive health, didn’t hesitate to jump at the chance to take on the role of executive director at the new Tidelands Health Medical Park at The Market Common, which opened in September. The three-story facility brings together a variety of practices and specialties under one roof to usher in a new era of highly coordinated care in the Myrtle Beach area.
“I want people to look at it as the best in Horry County,” Self said. “I won’t lie – I like to be the best.”
It’s that drive – combined with his medical knowledge, business development experience and leadership ability – that make Self a perfect fit for this new role. It’s a unique role in the health system for a unique medical park.
Designed with patients in mind, Tidelands Health Medical Park at The Market Common featured integrated spaces that allow for enhanced collaboration across medical specialties to provide highly coordinated, comprehensive treatment for patients.
Self is responsible for overseeing patient care at the new medical park and the 100 employee partners who work there.
“We are very excited to have Jason in this role,” said Gayle Resetar, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Tidelands Health. “Jason will be the glue that holds things together in this collaborative, state-of-the-art facility.”
Self adapts to changes positively and is an effective leader, in part, because he is personable and truly cares about the employee partners, providers and patients at Tidelands Health, said Brooke Howard, vice president of ambulatory operations at Tidelands Health.
“He holds himself to the highest standard and is not afraid to tackle any task large or small,” she said. “He is an effective communicator and strives for perfection.”
Finding his passion
Self stumbled into a health care career – discovering a passion for serving patients - shortly after he enlisted in the United States Air Force after high school.
After a couple of years doing electronics on F15s, Self shifted gears and took advantage of opportunities through the military to attend school - choosing an educational path to become a laboratory technician.
By 2003, Self had earned his associate’s degree of applied science in medical laboratory technology from the Community College of the Air Force. But, more importantly, he’d found his passion for serving patients that helped launch his career in health care.
His 24-year military service – combined active duty and reserves – overlaps his varied health care career. He’s done everything from performing blood bank and coagulation lab operations as a medical technologist and supervisor for the American Red Cross in his home state of Missouri to serving as director of business development at Lighthouse Behavioral Health Hospital in Conway.
Each role has helped him learn and grow – and push himself to new limits.
“I like to take jobs I’ve never done before,” said Self, who also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Columbia College.
He found his true passion for health care early in his career as a clinic lab and X-ray supervisor at Central Ozark Medical Center, a federally qualified health center in Richland, Missouri. Population: about 1,900 now.
This small town had one diner, one feed store and one clinic to provide needed health care. Having chest pains at midnight? Self and the physician – both who lived next to the clinic – would be there in a jiffy to unlock the clinic and check you out.
“We did rural health in the truest sense of the word,” Self said. “That’s where I probably built my passion for health care and taking care of patients.”
He also learned countless skills and lessons that still come in handy today from his two decades of military service.
After his active duty service in the military, Self served as the health services administrator for the United States Air Force Reserves until he retired in 2017.
His military experience taught him discipline and helped him develop a knack for bringing out the best in those around him. And, working in an environment where you never knew what would happen next, he developed the ability to recalibrate a plan to adjust to conditions.
“That’s where I learned a lot of my leadership skills and appreciation for people’s strengths,” Self said. “It also made me a very fluid leader. I accept change well. We may have a plan, but we can change direction quickly if needed.”
Family and fun
Between his military experience and health care work, Self was juggling one of the toughest jobs of all – raising his daughter, Makayla, who is now 25, as a single dad.
Family is important to Self. He’s married to Amber and, in addition of Makayla, has two stepdaughters, Hannah Kraus, 16, and Katie Braden, 12, and a grandson who recently turned 1. During the week of opening activities in August at Tidelands Health Medical Park at The Market Common, Self’s daughters helped him look his best for these special events by picking out his suit and tie every day.
Though he’s known for his put-together look and ability to accomplish even the most daunting tasks, Self may let a bit of his playful side show through – but don’t blink or you might miss it. You might catch a glimpse of his wide grin or hear his bellowing laugh from down the hall.
Though usually serious at work, Self knows how to have fun after the workday is done. He and his family also often hit the beach – usually in the spring and post-Labor Day when the summer crowds aren’t so intense.
He zooms around town in a yellow Dodge Challenger – you know he’s coming because you can hear the roar of the powerful engine - and enjoys a good evening belting out country tunes during a backyard karaoke session.
“I only wear a suit at work,” Self said.
Though he makes time for family and fun, most of his time the past few months has been focused on getting Tidelands Health Medical Park at The Market Common settled into its new community.
He worked with other leaders to develop a unique orientation for the charter team members at the new location, helped make sure the $44 million medical park was ready to greet its first patients and helped solve the inevitable glitches that occur with any new operation.
Tidelands Health Medical Park at The Market Common is the largest investment for Tidelands Health since it opened Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital in 2002. It’s also the health system’s most significant location in Myrtle Beach, opening a new gateway for the community to discover all the services Tidelands Health offers.
At full operation, the medical park at The Market Common will record 140,000 patient visits a year.
“We have moved into Myrtle Beach with a huge footprint,” Self said. “A big part of my role is building community partners in that area.”
Since the medical park opened in September, Self has been busy welcoming new patients, helping ensure streamlined practices and technology are running smoothly and helping the charter team get settled into a building designed to promote collaboration among varied services lines.
The building was designed with patients in mind, offering a convenient, streamlined registration process; technology at patients’ fingertips in every exam room; and The Health Desk, a first-of-its-kind patient resource with custom iPads offering reliable health information and more.
Ushering in this new level of care is just the kind of role Self relishes.
“It’s just a whole new challenge,” he said. “It’s fun and rewarding, but it will be one of the most difficult things we’ve ever done. It’s exciting.”