San Diego Organization of Healthcare Leaders

July 2021

ACHE Regent's Message

Breaking Out on Top

Do you remember a time you boarded a flight on a dreary, grey day? There was a sense of the world closing in. Perhaps conversations were a bit muted. Shortly after rotation, you ascended into an ill-defined space, not being able to see beyond a few feet. But soon, the skies begin to lighten, and suddenly you are on top of the clouds in blazing sunlight, something that you would not have appreciated had it not been for the grey.

So it is with all of us as we emerge from the pandemic.

As your regent for ACHE, it has been an honor to work with you, albeit virtually. We navigated through not only COVID-19, but also increased recognition of our responsibility to assure health care equity and access for all. We took a hard look at ourselves and committed to addressing longstanding issues of systemic prejudice. We accepted our humanity, recognizing that unconscious bias is an inherent part of pattern recognition imprinted in our neural pathways. With that recognition came new awareness.

ACHE stands ready to partner on your personal and professional development as a health care leader. Our greatest strength is each other, with diverse experiences, skills, and attitudes. Do not hesitate to reach out to your chapter leadership and colleagues. There are many tools at your disposal.

There are flights where you must descend into the darkness on the way home. Even when they cannot see outside, pilots have navigation aids and protocols that keep everyone safe. When they break out at minimums, the landing runway is directly in front of them.

With every best wish for success and happiness on our journey forward.

Harry C. Sax, MD, FACHE
Regent for California – Southern

President's Message: A Time for Gratitude and Celebration

This Summer, there is a lot to be thankful for as our Chapter’s region celebrates the State reopening. It’s an exciting moment in time to see the highest COVID-19 vaccination rate in Southern California and the cases decreasing in the region.

Not many would have thought that reaching this milestone would take over 16 months. During this time, healthcare leaders have demonstrated their hard work, dedication, passion, commitment, and sacrifice to support the community. I hope you are proud of the difference you made to keep the community healthy and safe. Even though there is more work to be done, it is still time to celebrate the accomplishments as the State begins to safely reopen.

In addition to the State’s reopening and celebrating with friends and loved ones, there are more celebrations underway. The future generation of healthcare leaders recently graduated this summer. The San Diego Organization of Healthcare Leaders (SOHL) will spotlight Board Members that recently graduated or achieved a new position in their career trajectory, one of which is featured in this current newsletter issue. Being actively involved in SOHL as a Board Member or volunteer provides the ability to learn, network, and develop leadership skills that are integral to advancing in a healthcare management field. The Board Members have volunteered their time in SOHL to help healthcare leaders advance professionally amongst their other work and personal commitments. Now, it is time to celebrate these individuals and more acknowledgements will be provided later in the year.

As we acknowledge our Board Members, a certain advocate of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), Chris Van Gorder, FACHE, President and CEO of Scripps Health, has truly demonstrated the importance of leadership during difficult situations. Not only did Van Gorder lead his team to provide appropriate care during the COVID-19 response, but he also addressed a cyber attack at the same time. SOHL appreciates Van Gorder’s continuous commitment to ACHE and we support Scripps Health as the organization transitions back after responding to the cyber attack. It is circumstances like these where true leaders are born and Van Gorder, as well as you as an ACHE and SOHL member, have demonstrated true leadership during the pandemic.

There are many healthcare heroes that have gone above and beyond the call of duty this past year. If you would like to acknowledge a healthcare hero in the San Diego or Imperial Counties, please contact Mike De Castro, Editor for SOHL’s newsletter, at, for an opportunity to feature them in the next newsletter or other media capacity.

We realize that as businesses open-up, more opportunities may arise to host events. At the moment, SOHL events are virtual. However, the Board will continuously assess the appropriate steps for opportunities to host virtual, in-person, and/or hybrid events. We appreciate your patience with the process as our most important role as healthcare leaders is to ensure your health and safety.

Thank you for making a difference for communities in San Diego and Imperial Counties. If you have any questions or would like to be more involved with SOHL, please do not hesitate to contact me or any Board Member.

I will leave you with a few words to remember our moment in time of gratitude and celebration:

 “Be present in all things, and thankful for all things.” - Maya Angelou


Nora M. Bota, M.P.H.

President, San Diego Organization of Healthcare Leaders


SOHL Programs: Quarterly Update

SOHL is enjoying a strong start to the first half of 2021. The number of virtual events and programs have been well balanced and ranged from networking events to vital discussions on topics affecting the national landscape, including equity of care and how technology is impacting healthcare. Following are summaries of recent events that reflect SOHL’s delivery of educational and quality content for healthcare leaders.

A Conversation: Improving Patient Experience and Quality Care for Diverse Populations

April 6, 2021

In early April, SOHL held its first face-to-face credit event of the year, a panel discussion titled, “A Conversation: Improving Patient Experience and Quality Care for Diverse Populations.” Given the events of the past year and the nationwide conversations around diverse, equity, and inclusion (DEI) increasing, our DEI committee set out to develop a program that would provide SOHL members and other attendees with tangible takeaways on how to be more equitably minded healthcare leaders.

The panel consisted of Jeff Gering, SVP, Support Services, Family Health Centers of San Diego; Joe Avelino, CEO, College Medical Center; Nathan Aish, Licensed Clinical Social Worker; and Shawishi Haynes, Director of Revenue Cycle, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, with Kelly Price Noble serving as moderator.

Kelly began the conversation by introducing the concept of trust and its importance when approaching diversity, equity, and inclusion and delivering quality healthcare. From there, the panel discussion began, first with each participant defining what diversity meant to them and within their respective organizations, and how they ensure they deliver equitable and inclusive care to their patient populations. Next, the conversation turned toward empathy and its role in DEI work. Next, the speakers explored next steps and what healthcare administration professionals can do to incorporate DEI efforts in their own work. Finally, the event concluded with a thoughtful Q&A session with the attendees.

Graduate Student Council (GSC) Networking 101

April 16, 2021

SOHL GSC hosted the introductory "Networking 101" event for students and members in early April. Networking 101 is a monthly workshop that provides opportunities to help individuals connect with key contacts through professional skills assessments, personal branding development, and networking engagement. GSC is a peer-led, student volunteer group with many working professionals who have much to offer. We will continue to share and build meaningful professional connections through the Networking 101 mini-workshops, which will culminate with premier events with additional SOHL board members and others. We are excited to host the next event in the series on Saturday, June 5th! If you have any questions or would like to participate, please contact us at

Advancement to Fellow Study Group

This Spring, SOHL partnered with our Northern California colleagues, the California Association of Healthcare Leaders (CAHL), to launch the first collaborative virtual Board of Governors test prep series.  With almost 50 registered participants, the collaboration has been quite a success! 

The series consisted of five sessions that covered the exam’s 10 knowledge areas, utilizing both voice-over PowerPoints and other presentations, with an emphasis on test taking techniques. Registered attendees received the materials prior to the sessions and were also able to access each recorded session shortly after the event. The sessions were very engaging and utilized sample quiz questions through an application called QuizLet. Additionally, subject matter experts assisted the attendees through a “brainwalk” where sample test questions were deconstructed to identify to the best answer. 

Stayed tuned on the SOHL website for more virtual and collaborative programs in the future.

Lunch and Learn & Networking Event - Disruptive Innovation: Healthcare Artificial Intelligence Helping Healthcare

May 25, 2021

SOHL members and guests advanced their knowledge with insights into how technology is being leveraged to advance healthcare. Two top healthcare leaders from IBM Services provided participants with key concepts and services regarding data mining.

The program was moderated by Marco Hernandez, Services Client Executive. His focus is on healthcare and life sciences for Southern California organizations. Marco has worked at IBM for over 20 years in various technology-focused roles. Marco was joined by his colleague John Chaves, WW Data and AI Technical Specialist, who is an IBM Analytic Solutions Architect with over 20 years of experience in the architecture, design, and implementation of analytical systems. Both professionals provided an overview of how artificial intelligence (AI) for healthcare is changing healthcare and how it is improving care quality and population health outcomes, while reducing costs. They discussed what optimization can do for the healthcare industry and presented case examples of AI and the benefits garnered. After the Q&A session, participants went to breakout rooms for networking opportunities. Similar to past networking events, participants received a follow up survey to provide feedback for future event planning and, received an attendee contact list to keep in touch with event participants and grow their networks.


More SOHL events and programs are in the works for the next quarter, so be on the lookout for more Save the Date emails, and check the Events section of SOHL’s website regularly for more information!

Welcome Our Newest Members of SOHL

Please join us in welcoming the following new members, who have joined SOHL since March 2021 (listed in alphabetical order by last name):

  • Barbara Bates, Children’s Hospital of Orange County
  • Catherine Bayne, Naval Medical Forces Pacific Regional Chief Nursing Officer, US Navy
  • Sarah Chamberas, Nurse/Manpower Analyst, US Navy
  • Deborah Chambers, MPH Program Coordinator, National University
  • David Chevallard, Senior Director, Customer Success Operations, AMN Healthcare Services
  • Max Clark, Occupational Medicine Physician
  • Tim Coker, Director - Administration, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton
  • Libertie Collins, Quality Improvement & Patient Safety Manager SoCAL/HI/GA, Kaiser Permanente
  • Diana Cozzens, Division Head, US Navy
  • Danielle Duncan, MAO, US Navy
  • Tara Eagle, Lab Operations Manager, Tri-City Medical Center
  • Keith Edwards, General Counsel, La Maestra Family Clinic
  • Ashley Gambhir, Senior Director of Transformational Health, UC San Diego Health
  • Brian Gorrill, Director of Imaging, Scripps Health
  • Elizabeth Grasmuck, Anatomic & Clinical Pathologist, US Navy
  • Mary Hessert, Senior Medical Officer, US Navy
  • Paul Heyliger-Fonseca
  • Kelsey Knutsen, Student
  • Michael Kumura, Senior Healthcare Recruiter V, Aya Healthcare
  • Kim Kurth, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Kaiser Permanente
  • Scott Livingstone, COO, Tri-City Medical Center
  • Paul Maldonado
  • Stephanie Meads, Healthcare Administrator, US Navy
  • Shannon Menzer, Director/Continuing Medical Education & Foundation Events, Scripps Health
  • Brandon Mizuhara, Tricare Operations Department Head, US Navy
  • Gilbert Morgan, NMRTC San Diego
  • Arnold Noriega, Health Education Manager, Community Health Group
  • Ryshawn Peer, Strategy Manager , University of California San Diego Health
  • Jennifer  Phan, COVID-19 Graduate Case Manager, San Diego State University
  • Lindsey Ryan, Director Cardiothoracic ICU and ECMO, Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego
  • Austin Schumacher, Imaging Supervisor, Palomar Health
  • Riham Seif, UCLA Health
  • Mary Serrano, Research Assistant, IQVIA
  • Laura Sliwinski, Executive Program Director/Faculty, Colorado Technical University
  • Hunter Smith, VP of Workforce Solutions, Aya Healthcare
  • Donelle Spivey, Director of Inpatient Nursing, Palomar Health
  • Jesse Stewart, CIO, Naval Medical Center San Diego
  • Abigail Suarez, Project Assistant, Via Healthcare Consulting
  • Nathan Tegel, Biomedical Equipment Technician, US Navy
  • Kimone Thompson, Purdue University Global
  • Aubrey Thompson, Manager IT, Scripps Health
  • Michelle Tressler, Senior Director of New Business, Dexcom
  • Brian Allison, Vice President, Rady Children's Hospital San Diego

Future Healthcare Leaders: Recognizing our Graduates

James P. Revels, CPA, MAS

  • Degree Completed: Masters of Advance Studies – Leadership of Healthcare Organizations
  • University: University of California, San Diego
  • Job Title and Organization: Service Line Financial Manager – University of California, San Diego Medical Center

James Revels is a Service Line Financial Manager at the University of California, San Diego Medical Center. James’ life’s work and passion has always been in the financial sector of the healthcare industry and has over 20 years of experience working in major academic medical centers in various leadership positions. He has always been fascinated with how the dynamics of the industry have changed through regulation and restructuring of the industry. James’ goal is to become a Chief Financial Officer at a leading academic medical center and assist senior management to develop a better understanding of their respective entity’s finances.

Q2 2021 National News

Connect With Your Peers

New in 2021, we are pleased to offer members three free online communities for physician executives, Asian healthcare leaders and LGBTQ healthcare leaders. The communities platform makes it easier than ever for peers to connect in real time, tackle issues together and ask important career-related questions. Members can participate in discussion threads, share resources and best practices, and crowdsource innovative ideas and solutions.

To join, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to

  2. Under “Helpful Links” on the right-hand side, click the last option, “My Communities.”

  3. Click the “Add” button to choose the online communities you wish to join. An MD or DO degree is required to join the Physician Executive Community.

  4. Watch your inbox for your welcome email and instructions to access your new community! The email will arrive within 24 hours.

We hope you will join these communities. If you have any questions, please email

Save $225 on the Exam Fee

The FACHE® credential is the standard for board certification in healthcare management. Obtaining this prestigious credential signifies hard work, dedication and commitment. To thank you for your efforts, when you submit your completed application by June 30, 2021, along with the $250 application fee and all supporting documents, we’ll waive the $225 Board of Governors Exam fee for approved applications.

Learn more about the requirements to sit for the Exam and the resources available to help you prepare.

2021 IHF Awards Open for Entries

The International Hospital Federation is currently accepting submissions for the 2021 IHF Awards, including the American College of Healthcare Executives Excellence Award for Leadership and Management.

As ACHE is a premier association member of IHF, this award is open to all ACHE members (and their hospitals or health service providers) who demonstrate excellence or outstanding achievements in leadership and management.

Hospitals and healthcare organizations are invited to submit their entries by July 2 for a chance to be recognized internationally.

The winners of the IHF Awards will be announced during the 44th IHF World Hospital Congress, scheduled for Nov. 8–11, 2021, in Barcelona, Spain.

Healthcare Consultants Forum Member Directory: Connecting Executives to Consultants

The Healthcare Consultants Forum Member Directory offers a robust search functionality to help you identify a consultant who meets your needs. And if you are a consultant looking to gain visibility with decision-makers, consider joining the Healthcare Consultants Forum. The forum also offers resources tailored to a healthcare consultant’s specific career development needs.

Forum on Advances in Healthcare Management Research

ACHE is inviting authors to submit proposals to present their research at the 14th annual Forum on Advances in Healthcare Management Research. This session will take place during ACHE’s 2022 Congress on Healthcare Leadership, which will be held March 28–31. The lead presenter of each selected proposal will receive a complimentary registration to Congress. Learn more about the selection criteria and submission instructions. Submit your up-to-400-word abstract by July 12, 2021.

How Providers Can Continue to Support Mental Health Services Post-Pandemic

While the pandemic is subsiding, provider organizations can continue to focus on expanding behavioral health service access through telehealth. The behavioral health services space experienced heightened attention as people suffered from greater levels of stress, anxiety, and depression during the pandemic.  

Urvashi Patel, PhD, chief analytics officer, Brighton Health Plan Solutions, a healthcare enablement company based in New York, said there was a shortage of behavioral health workers prior to the pandemic, and it has only underscored the importance of adequately supporting mental health services. She added the need for greater access to pediatric behavioral health services will be evident over the next year.

When asked what hospital executives can do to address the issue, Patel said provider organizations can continue to focus on expanding behavioral health service access through telehealth. She added telemedicine apps that offer mental health services through text or chat features can provide convenient access for patients and lead to improved appointment compliance.

Hospitals and health systems should also explore models of integrated care that coordinate treatment with behavioral health specialists and primary care doctors. She also said another opportunity exists for health systems in states where advanced practice nurses can practice psychiatry on their own, noting tapping into this workforce can meet patient demand.

While there has been a significant drop-off from the record-high overall utilization of telehealth at the start of the pandemic, Patel said behavioral health utilization through virtual care has only seen a slight decline.

Patel added that behavioral health services might have a longer staying power when delivered through telehealth and could aid in removing the stigma for patients when seeking mental health treatment.

—Adapted from "How Providers Can Continue to Support Mental Health Services Post-Pandemic," HealthLeaders, by Jack O’Brien, April 27, 2021.

Leading Growth in Lean Times

There is no doubt the pandemic has challenged even the strongest hospitals and health systems, exhausting staff, destabilizing finances and putting growth plans firmly on the back burner.

Though McLaren St. Luke’s is not immune to these challenges, the 300-bed community hospital is also primed for growth. With strong quality outcomes, engaged employees and tremendous community support, St. Luke’s has served the growing Toledo, Ohio, suburb of Maumee for more than 100 years.

In August, the hospital was acquired by McLaren Health Care, an integrated health system with 15 hospitals and health plan operations across three states. The partnership provides additional resources to support the hospital’s long-held vision of expanding services to allow more people to receive care close to home. By seeking out partnerships with small, independent hospitals and large physician groups, McLaren St. Luke’s senior leadership is working to expand services to fill unmet community needs in a fiscally responsible manner.

People First

A hospital’s success for achieving growth in uncertain times hinges on its ability to earn and maintain the trust and support of its employees and physicians. This is even more important during the pandemic, as caregivers make significant sacrifices to care for patients and one another.

Employees and physicians need to know that the administration is in their corner and that growth will not come at their expense. Clear and decisive leadership communication builds consensus quickly and shares not only the organization’s broader vision but also a road map for getting there. McLaren St. Luke’s values empowering leaders and using their knowledge to form a complete picture that allows leadership to make informed decisions and effectively communicate with their teams as they navigate uncharted waters.

Clinical Excellence as a Cornerstone

While it may not be a typical growth strategy, McLaren St. Luke’s is making the standardization of clinical practices a cornerstone of its expansion plans. Anchored by the belief that adherence to evidence-based protocols produces better outcomes, the hospital is pursuing several important designations to support staff in their efforts to deliver a higher level of care, safely and reliably.

In addition to becoming one of only 13 hospitals across the country to earn certification from DNV GL Healthcare as a Primary Plus Stroke Center, McLaren St. Luke’s will be pursuing national verification of its trauma program from the American College of Surgeons. These certifications ensure caregivers have received rigorous training in care protocols proven to yield the best patient outcomes. Our leadership team regards these designations as not just an opportunity to expand key service lines but, more importantly, an opportunity to strengthen core competencies to meet vital and often time-sensitive patient needs.

Responsibly Meeting Community Needs

As part of McLaren Health Care, McLaren St. Luke’s now has the ability to leverage the system’s collective size and scale to reduce expenses and improve efficiencies. This allows the hospital to achieve greater purchasing power, improve supply chain operations and add technology.

These advantages cannot be underestimated in today’s environment, but looking beyond the balance sheet to achieve growth amid limited resources is a wise strategy. For McLaren St. Luke’s, that means a focus on enhancing (not duplicating) services that already exist in the market. By seeking out partnerships with small, independent hospitals and large physician groups, McLaren St. Luke’s senior leadership is working to expand services to fill unmet community needs in a fiscally responsible manner.

For example, the hospital is leveraging clinical resources available through the McLaren Health Care network to explore adding of needed oncology services and rebuilding its cardiovascular program. Though no organization can be everything to everyone, concentrating expansion efforts in areas where McLaren St. Luke’s can add clinical value allows the hospital’s leadership team to make the most of limited resources.

As the pandemic tests the limits of many organizations, the crisis does not have to be a deterrent for growth. With a strong vision and a commitment to the fundamentals, McLaren St. Luke’s is seizing this moment to execute strategic growth opportunities and find new ways to fulfill its mission.

--Adapted from “Leading Growth in Lean Times,” Healthcare Executive, Jennifer Montgomery, RN, FACHE, president and CEO, McLaren St. Luke’s, Maumee, Ohio.

Special Thanks to Our Platinum and Gold Sponsors

The generosity of SOHL's Platinum and Gold Sponsors make all that we do possible! We are very proud to say SOHL has recently added a new sponsor this quarter – IBM. Special thanks to the following organizations (listed in alphabetical order):




AMN Healthcare is the leader and innovator in healthcare workforce solutions and staffing services to healthcare facilities nationwide. With insights and expertise, AMN Healthcare helps providers optimize their workforce to successfully reduce complexity, increase efficiency and improve patient outcomes






Emerald Textiles is now the largest provider of commercial healthcare linen services in California. Our high-tech equipment and superior products result in cost savings for our customers, and patient satisfaction for theirs. We value the partnerships we have with our customers and are proud to support the healthcare communities we serve.






The Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties (HASD&IC) is a non-profit organization representing 38 hospitals and integrated health systems in the two-county region. Our mission is to advance the organization, management, and effective delivery of affordable, medically necessary, quality health care services for the San Diego and Imperial County communities.




IBM is a leading cloud platform and cognitive solutions company, and the largest technology and consulting company in the world with more than 350,000 employees serving clients in 170 countries. With Watson, the AI platform powered by data, we are building Healthcare and Life Sciences solutions to real world problems.






Kaiser Permanente is a leading health care provider and not-for-profit health plan, serving over 11.3 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health, Kaiser Permanente’s focus is on total health.



Founded in 1924, Scripps Health is a nonprofit health system in San Diego. Scripps treats more than 700,000 patients annually through the dedication of 3,000 affiliated physicians and more than 15,000 employees throughout five hospital campuses, 25-plus outpatient centers, and hundreds of affiliated medical offices throughout the region.





Sharp HealthCare is a nonprofit health system that includes four acute-care hospitals, three specialty hospitals, three affiliated medical groups, and a spectrum of other facilities and services. Sharp has 2,900 affiliated physicians and more than 18,000 employees across its care sites.


Sodexo is the worldwide leader in quality of life services. Every day, we strive to improve the quality of life of 100 million people. We develop, manage, and deliver a unique array of on-site services, benefits, and rewards service, and personal and home services.






UC San Diego Extension programs meet the needs of current and future healthcare professionals for professional development, technical education, and training and innovation. The Healthcare Portfolio at UC San Diego Extension includes a broad array of educational opportunities with many courses and certificate programs online or as in-person workshops.




UC San Diego Health has cared for the community for 50+ years, while researching new treatments and training tomorrow’s doctors. Our physicians and scientists have made important contributions to numerous fields. Our specialty care in cancer, cardiology, and surgery consistently ranks among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report.





The University of Phoenix is the first of its kind created for—and by—working adults. Our flexible programs are available online and on campus, with a curriculum influenced by real industry expectations and taught by instructors who have actual experience in the health care world.