A Publication of WTVP

40 Leaders Under Forty

Aaron McLean | 37

Physician assistant, hospitalist, UnityPoint Health Central Illinois

Aaron McLean
Aaron McLean

As a physician in the UnityPoint network of area hospitals, Aaron McLean is known for his superior clinical skills, empathy and compassion for patients and their families. He is a natural collaborator, active in process improvements in an ever-changing health care environment. He is a knowledgeable resource for new employees and a mentor for physician assistant students. 

Previously, he was employed by Midwest Orthopedic Center and has done sports medicine outreach to area schools, Peoria’s former arena football team and the U.S. Indoor National Speedskating Championship.

Meanwhile, he volunteers at Cuba Elementary School, in Canton High School’s football program, and at his church. He has been active with Special Olympics.

As his nominator noted, “To quote one of the physicians Aaron has worked with throughout his tenure with our group, ‘Aaron is one of our best. Period.’ ”

Hobbies: “I enjoy exercising and playing any sport (hockey, soccer, softball, basketball, golf, tennis, pickleball, walleyball). In the winter, I build an ice rink in my backyard to play hockey and have fun skating with my family … Most of all, I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter and taking vacations/traveling with them.”

Biggest challenge: “When my wife was pregnant. After losing our first child at 20 weeks pregnant, my wife and I were expecting again, and unfortunately around 21 weeks … she required bedrest and was hospitalized for six weeks … Our beautiful daughter was born premature at 27 weeks and weighed 1 pound, 5 ounces, and was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for 88 days. Thanks to the great providers and nurses at OSF NICU, we were able to bring her home. She is 9 years old and continues to thrive. This time in my life gave me the perspective of a patient and changed how I care for my patients.”

Leadership definition: “A great leader stands tall and confident in both good times and bad. They prove themselves with their actions instead of words …”

Personal impact of COVID: “In medicine, tough decisions need to be made to provide the best benefit to the patient with the least amount of risk, which was difficult with the weekly changes/information for treating COVID and lack of guidelines. Overall, COVID has made me a better provider.”