Jack Shellito, MD, SVP of Via Christi Physician Services

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The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

Via Christi Clinic physician continues family tradition of health care leadership

Dr. Jack Shellito, MD, comes from a long line of physicians. He is the fourth generation of Shellitos to go into health care. He says it was a natural progression to study and embrace medicine.

“It has been a tradition in my family to pursue a career in health care, and I have been honored to carry on that tradition,” he says.

That career has led Dr. Shellito to the position he’s in now, Chief Clinical Physician Officer of Via Christi Clinic and a senior physician leader in Via Christi. He will help lead the move to physician-led, patient-centered care.

Dr. Shellito was instrumental in the merger of Wichita Clinic and Via Christi Health. He says the challenge to combine Wichita’s largest provider of health care with Wichita’s largest physician practice group was huge, but rewarding.

This merger will help achieve the triple aim of health care, which includes better population health, a better patient experience and more cost-effective care. In short, better patient care for less cost.

Crucial to the achievement of this goal is the successful integration of physicians from the former Via Christi Medical Associates and the former Wichita Clinic to form the new Via Christi Clinic.

Highest quality, cost-effective care

“We have an excellent foundation in that both groups already emphasized patient-centered care and a strong culture of physician leadership. Now we have the opportunity to work together to provide quality and cost-effective care in both the inpatient and outpatient settings,” he says.

It’s probably not what he thought he would tackle when he started medical school. His older brothers were his mentors and role models. They had already been to medical school.

“I’ve always been close to my brothers, and with my father as an influence it was just a natural transition for me to go into the field of medicine,” says Dr. Shellito.

Dr. Shellito’s father, John Shellito, came to Wichita and started at Wichita Clinic about a year after it was founded. He was assigned to the University of Kansas Medical Unit in World War II and served in France and Germany.

Coming home

While serving, he met many of the physicians who formed Wichita Clinic. They recruited him when he returned to the states and he left Mayo Clinic to come to Wichita after he completed his surgery residency.

He practiced at Wichita Clinic for 33 years and retired just before his son, Jack, returned to Wichita after practicing in Tennesee.“I think he wanted me to come back and join the clinic, but didn’t want me to be in a position where I would be compared to him, so he stayed around long enough for me to commit to coming back and then he retired and gave me his office,” says Dr. Shellito. “He even left me his typewriter.”

In his spare time, Dr. Shellito likes to cook and garden. He sees the work of cooking and gardening as releases.

“Those are the two things that ground me outside of work,” says Dr. Shellito. “Administration can be extremely challenging and time consuming, and results can be slow in coming. With gardening and cooking the processes are much more linear. You have a task, you work at it, you achieve it and you see the benefits right off. It’s a nice break and helps to keep me energized.”


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