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In-House Counsel: Elizabeth Truesdell Smith

Elizabeth Truesdell Smith has been devoted to health care for as long as she can remember. Her father’s law firm served as outside counsel to Abbott Northwestern Hospital and her grandfather was on the Abbott Northwestern board of directors.
Committed from an early age to the idea of being a physician, Truesdell Smith changed her focus while working in a research lab at Harvard Medical School. “I came to the realization that I didn’t want to practice medicine,” she recalls, “but I wanted to be involved in health care deeply.”
She returned home to attend the University of Minnesota Law School with a health care career in mind and has not wavered from that course. She joined Bassford Remele, the same firm where her father had worked, and did medical-malpractice defense work. Allina Health was one of her clients. An opportunity arose to join Allina in-house in 2001. She took it, and never regretted the decision.
She is senior vice president and general counsel at Allina, serving on the corporation’s executive team. She is the chief legal advisor to the entire health system and also is the senior executive in charge of clinical and enterprise risk management and emergency preparedness.
“Being able to serve the board of directors as their lawyer is just a tremendous honor,” Truesdell Smith says. “It’s an amazing board of incredibly dedicated business and lay leaders and community servants.”
“It’s just a wonderful culture. Every day I feel we’re making a difference in lives—which is what brought me into medicine in the first place.”

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