San Diego Organization of Healthcare Leaders

September 2021

Regent's Message: Summer 2021

Dissenting Voices

Imagine that you were in a hard-fought battle for an elected office. You and your opponents were on opposite ends of the spectrum, and there was little middle ground. Debates were vociferous, divisive, and attacks became personal. One of your opponents subsequently wins, yet invites you to join their cabinet. What would you do, and do you think you would succeed?

William H Seward and Salmon P Chase faced such a dilemma. The year was 1860, and the victor, Abraham Lincoln.

Doris Kearns Goodwin, in her book Team of Rivals, examines how Lincoln embraced multiple points of view and purposely invited dissent into his inner circle. His pragmatism, as well as an ability to be empathetic to others' motives and beliefs, allowed him to build a team with the complementary skill sets needed to navigate the Civil War. There are lessons for us today.

ACHE is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. While we can measure demographics and trends, our success will come from truly listening to differing opinions, perspectives, and ideas. This can become uncomfortable. Our own core beliefs may be challenged, and emotions riled. We cannot merely dismiss the differences as unreasonable, or the proponent as poor “team players.” For some of us, honing this skill is not easy. But it can be done.

In high school, I wasn’t much of an athlete, so I joined the debate team. A topic was assigned, and you spent hours developing the argument for or against the proposal. Similar to a trial, you would present your side and try to show how the alternative was not correct. One day as we were about to begin, the coach made us switch – pro became con and visa versa. We were forced to immediately think about the common themes and how to reframe them. It was a valuable lesson. Even today, when asked to review malpractice litigation, I do the review as if I was the opposing counsel. In committee meetings that I chair, we’ll go around the room and ask everyone’s perspectives, especially those we know may not be in agreement with a proposal.

Although our current political and social environment seems as fractured as ever, I am confident that we will begin to talk to, rather than at, each other. It starts locally, in your own institutions. Find someone you don’t agree with and invite them for coffee. You may be surprised by how much you have in common.

“He who cannot put his thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of dispute.”

― Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits

Be safe,


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

President's Message

 A New Era of Innovation

In the words of Steve Jobs, “Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity - not a threat.” The past year, healthcare leaders have been innovative and visionary in their approach to transition from in-person to virtual services. The San Diego Organization of Healthcare Leaders (SOHL) has embraced this approach to advance services for its members as the Chapter is in a new era of innovation to provide all services online.

In light of all the recent changes with online services and the integration of the healthcare and technology industries, SOHL established a Technology and Innovation Committee. The Committee is in the beginning stages of developing its vision, mission, and goals and will provide more details in the following year as the Committee’s Charter is finalized. Thank you to the Committee’s Co-Chairs, Pranav Dixit and Darrell Atkin, who took the initiative to create and oversee this Committee.

Furthermore, SOHL made changes to its LinkedIn account and website. The LinkedIn account is now a SOHL Company page, which provides more functions to interact with members, the Board, sponsors, and others interested in the Chapter programs and events. Please feel free to do the following:

Thank you to the SOHL Board members and volunteers, Carol Cannizzo, Jessica Taylor, Ana Ramirez, Barbara Gerber, Nicholas Hance, Sarah Norwood, and Alice Dang, for their leadership and time to update the LinkedIn Company page and website. These opportunities ensure that as a Chapter, SOHL provides innovative ways for you to stay connected and engaged.

If you would like to make a difference in the healthcare community and give back to your local SOHL network, now is the time. SOHL is currently accepting applications for volunteers. Serving on the SOHL Board or being a volunteer allows you the opportunity to learn, network, and develop leadership skills that are integral to advancing in the healthcare management field. Apply today:

Please stay tuned for the opportunity to attend more programs this fall and winter: Career Symposium on September 23 and 24, the Board of Governors study series in October, in conjunction with the California Association of Healthcare Leaders, and the Annual Conference at the end of the year, etc. In addition, keep a lookout for opportunities to apply for scholarships, such as the Kathleen Lencioni Career Development Scholarship, that will launch soon:

Don’t forget to recognize a healthcare hero in San Diego and Imperial Counties that has gone above and beyond the call of duty this past year. You can contact Mike De Castro, SOHL’s Newsletter Editor, at, for an opportunity to feature them in the next newsletter or other media capacity.

The healthcare sector continues to face many challenges, including the rise of COVID-19 cases and ICU admissions. Due to this, SOHL events will continue to remain virtual for the health and safety of the community and members. As your professional network, SOHL is here to keep you informed and involved with your local healthcare leaders. We look forward to seeing you virtually at a future event.

Thank you for being a distinguished leader amongst all the challenges the healthcare industry has faced since March 2020. Remember, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” - Steve Jobs


Nora M. Bota, M.P.H.

President, San Diego Organization of Healthcare Leaders


SOHL Programs: Quarterly Update

August 12, 2021: CEO Rounds with Jonathan Reynolds, CEO, Titus Talent Strategies – Virtual Program  

On the afternoon of August 12th, over 20 aspiring and senior healthcare leaders joined the virtual Zoom session to led by Jonathan Reynolds, CEO, Titus Talent Strategies. As CEO of Titus Talent Strategies, Jonathan is a visionary, catalyst, and game-changer. He is energized by inspiring company leaders and equipping them with unique approaches to better understand their people, foster organizational alignment, and create optimal performance among their team members. During his presentation, Jonathan shared strategies on how to help your employees identify where they are today and where they can see themselves as part of the company’s growth in three years’ time. Additionally, he discussed how tying an employee’s performance to a quantifiable performance objective (i.e., scoreboard) provides transparency, visibility, and motivation for growth.

We would like to give a huge thank you to our speaker, Jonathan Reynolds, our facilitator, Lydia Napa, and thank you to all the attendees. The event was a success and the attendees were left with more knowledge and tools on how to retain committed employees, increase engagement in an in-person or remote work environment, and identify top performers for succession planning.


Upcoming SOHL Events:


  • 9/23-9/24: Career Symposium
  • Every Wednesday: Executive Program



  • TBD - ACHE Choice Program – Leadership coach Kevin O’Conner


  • TBD - SOHL Annual Conference

For more information on how to register for the upcoming events, visit the SOHL website:San Diego Organization of Healthcare Leaders (


If you have any questions regarding programs and/or would like to partner with SOHL: Please contact SOHL Program Co-Chairs, Lydia Napa at and Jack Hallmark at

Welcome Our Newest Members of SOHL

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

  • Albert Adame, Genteka Group
  • Shashaanka Ashili, CEO, CureScience
  • Romy Avena, Administration Office Manager, Dameron Hospital Association
  • Carolina Cuevas Favela, San Ysidro Health
  • Dana Dare, Department Administrator, Kaiser Permanente
  • Kimberly Davis, Physician, US Navy/Naval Medical Center San Diego
  • Omar DeCastro, SMDR, US Navy
  • Nicole Denton
  • Jacqueline Doyle, Administrative Analyst, County of San Diego
  • Shayok Dutta, Manager DRG Validation Follow-up, Ensemble Health Partners
  • Brenna Hill, Program Evaluation Specialist, Rady Children's Hospital
  • Shiako King
  • Nicholas Kirsch, BMET
  • Reynalda McBee, US Navy
  • Erica Nelson, MSN/MBA Student, Johns Hopkins University
  • Zoe Neufeldt, Clinic Operations Manager, Ochsner Health
  • Brooke Newman, ACNL, Nurses on Boards Coalitions, CNI College
  • Erin Ocker-Reza, Deputy Assistant Director Market Operations, DHA San Diego Market
  • Christa Overton, Milieu Manager, BrightQuest Treatment Centers
  • Loreli Owens
  • Jordan Padilla, Cardiovascular Technician, Tri-City Medical Center
  • Amanda Pape, CFO, Palomar Health Medical Group
  • Keith Payne, Senior Director, UC San Diego Health
  • Nafisah Raji, USN
  • Paulnathaniel Resultan, Hospital Corpsman First Class Petty Officer, Department of the Navy
  • Donna Rolin, Director of Imaging
  • Nancy Saavedra, Community Engagement Manager, San Diego Hunger Coalition
  • Kendall Sanderson, Rady Children's Hospital San Diego
  • Christy Schumacher, National University Systems
  • Jessica Stewart, Practice Administrator, California Head & Neck Specialists
  • Katrina Thomas, Logistics Specialist, US Navy
  • Christian Tomaszewski, UC San Diego
  • Myra Vieira, Performance Improvement Specialist, Sharp Healthcare
  • Junna Yeo

SOHL Member Spotlight: Mike De Castro, MHA

Name:  Mike De Castro

Current role with SOHL:      Newsletter Editor

Current professional role/title and name of organization:        Manager, ECG Management Consultants

What are your career aspirations? In my current role as a management consultant with ECG, I partner primarily with leaders across an academic medical center’s (AMC’s) component entities (e.g., medical school, teaching hospital/health system, faculty group practice) to solve various strategic, financial, and operational issues that impact their clinical and academic missions. Working with these institutions that provide top-notch medical care, promote scientific and clinical discoveries, and educate and train future doctors is very rewarding and humbling. I enjoy tackling the challenges these organizations face, which are varied and unique, and I look forward to serving as an adviser to these organizations for many years to come.

How has SOHL/ACHE shaped your journey within the healthcare industry? Since day one as a student member of SOHL and ACHE, I have found great value in being part of such prestigious organizations. SOHL and ACHE have broadened my understanding of healthcare management and provided me with various tools and resources to further my learning and development. Equally as important, I have had the opportunity to meet many bright and forward-thinking individuals from provider and payer organizations, as well as key vendor entities that provide critical services to these groups. Being able to connect with them and learn about how they are addressing numerous issues is both insightful and inspiring, and has played a key role in my overall growth as a professional.

What are some personal interests of yours? I enjoy traveling, both domestically and internationally. I feel it’s the best way to learn about a particular destination’s history, culture, and people. I also like being outdoors, doing activities such as hiking, kayaking, and camping.

Partnering for Success: Preparing for the ACHE Board of Governors Exam

For several years now, the San Diego Organization of Healthcare Leaders (SOHL) and its Advancement Study Group (ASG) have been assisting members in becoming recognized leaders among executives and other professionals in healthcare management by becoming a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). Through its ACHE Board of Governors (BOG) exam preparation sessions, the ASG has helped deliver key content covering the 10 identified knowledge areas as well as test-taking techniques for success.

For Fall 2021, the ASG is once again partnering with the California Association of Healthcare Leaders (CAHL) to launch a virtual BOG exam review and preparation webinar series. The five-week program will take place every Saturday in October, from 10:00 to 11:30 am PDT. The cost for the entire program is only $50 and those that complete the series will earn 7.5 QE credits.

The following is a testimonial from Jack Nasser, DBA MBA MHA FACHE, Senior Health Services Manager, Solano County Family Health Services, who passed the exam and obtained his FACHE designation this past Spring, on his experience and advice for the exam:

“The test will be different for each person as we all come from different backgrounds and skill sets. It is important to identify each of the areas that are our strengths and weaknesses and the relation they have to the weighted value of the exam, and really focus on them directly. The other part I would focus on is to have a realistic time frame and be disciplined to ensure you are hitting your benchmarks along the way. Overall, it was a very meaningful experience that made me appreciate the profession that we are in.”

For more information, and to purchase your access to the BOG exam review and preparation webinar series, please click here.

Q3 2021 National News

Connect With Your Peers

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

Our Exclusive On-Demand Content Library Can Help Advance Your Career

Did you know that as a member, you have access to guided presentations to assist with your healthcare management career development? Our Career Resource Center has compiled a library of member-only, on-demand sessions that provide information and resources for healthcare leaders at all stages of their careers. Whether you are a student entering the field, a leader aspiring to a position in the C-suite, or a clinician transitioning to an administrative role, there’s something for everyone. All sessions within the CRC’s On-Demand Content Library were recorded at the 2021 Congress on Healthcare Leadership. We encourage members to explore the On-Demand Content Library and other resources and tools available just for them in the Career Resource Center.

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. This directory will also be available in the upcoming September/October issue of Healthcare Executive magazine. 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.

ACHE Blog and Podcasts

Gain best practices and learn from your peers through our blog and the Healthcare Executive Podcast. Both the blog and podcast provide up-to-date content on the issues most pressing to healthcare executives. Be sure to share these with your colleagues. Follow the Healthcare Executive Podcast wherever you access podcasts.

Tackling Important Conversations Virtually

Regardless of the circumstances, executives are always seeking effective, efficient methods of communication. But these days, executives need virtual ways to communicate that are just as effective and meaningful as face-to-face encounters.

For many, communicating in the virtual space has become the preferred method of doing business.

Following are strategies for getting the most out of day-to-day work communications, engaging with remote employees, and having meaningful conversations virtually.

Good Manners Equals Great Communication

Many of us have been working remotely for months; however, we can’t let our guard down and forget virtual meeting etiquette. Some recommendations for maintaining good virtual meeting manners include:

Have an agenda and stick to it. If possible, send out an agenda a day or two before the meeting. An accurate agenda not only lets everyone know exactly what will be discussed but also gives meeting participants the opportunity to ask or answer questions prior to the meeting.

Punctuality matters. When participating in a virtual meeting, a tardy host is almost as frustrating as the recurring chime that announces the addition of a latecomer. Arrive a few minutes early and have the meeting program running in the background of your computer while you are working on other tasks. Finishing a meeting on time is just as important as arriving on time.

Remove potential distractions. Silence your mobile phones, block time on your shared calendar, close the window to unnecessary websites, and let others who are working or living in your virtual office space know you’re in a meeting and are not to be disturbed, if possible.

Mute yourself. Unless you’re presenting, be sure to mute yourself. It’s amazing how much background noise microphones pick up.

Dress for success. Although many bedrooms currently are doubling as home offices, loungewear is never acceptable office attire.

Can You Hear Me Now?

We all want to be heard. And when communicating in the virtual space, it’s often difficult to know if we’re being heard or seen or even understood. Prior to 2020, most of us took for granted those little acknowledgements that let us know when we had successfully connected with another co-worker. Today, most of us aren’t able to give our co-workers an encouraging pat on the shoulder, provide a hug to someone who might be grieving, or even onboard a new employee with a tour of the office and traditional meet-and-greet welcome lunch.

With remote work and the use of virtual platforms the norm for the time being, finding connections with each other is critical to preserving our mental health and ensuring a necessary standard of production to remain successful. Here are simple ways leaders can preserve connections with their teams:

Prioritize daily face-to-face check-ins. A quick, 10-minute “huddle meeting” with your team at a set time each day can foster an atmosphere of collaboration and teamwork. Ask all participants to turn on their video, if possible. We all communicate much more effectively when we can be heard and seen.

Celebrate milestones and accomplishments—regardless of size. Though we might not be physically together, that shouldn’t stop us from getting together in the virtual space to celebrate each other and our accomplishments. Continue celebrating birthdays, work anniversaries and team wins—big and small.

Collaborate and educate. As an executive, you’re part of a senior leadership team. Being a good team member includes sharing helpful information with other leaders. When meeting with your peers, include time on your agenda for ongoing training, best practice sharing and problem-solving. “What are you currently reading?” is a great question to spark an information-sharing session. 

Do lunch. Remember how nice it was to get out of the office for a bit and share a bite to eat? It’s still possible to create that same atmosphere of connection and conversation, even when working remotely. Consider sending lunch via food delivery apps to one person or your entire team.

When an In-Person Meeting Is Needed

All executives are tasked with performing duties such as delivering difficult news, negotiating contracts or disciplining an employee. Meetings related to these situations are best conducted in person. Face-to-face interactions allow meeting participants to share a common space, where distractions are minimized and technological issues eliminated. Unlike virtual meetings, an executive can control the environment of the in-person meeting and keep distractions and interruptions to a minimum. In-person meetings allow for a fuller sense of connection and trust over virtual meetings.

Because of our experience navigating 2020, we are all much better equipped to work in this new, virtual space. And now that we know better, we can all do better.

--Adapted from “Tackling Important Conversations Virtually,Healthcare Executive, Jean Willey Scallon, FACHE, regional vice president, operations, Signature Healthcare Services LLC, Corona, Calif., and an adjunct professor at Indiana University in the O’Neill School.

The Impact of Remote Work on Reading Body Language

Many people are fully aware of how their body language can communicate their feelings and emotions to the outside world, whether intentionally or not. For instance, crossed arms might signal defensiveness or hostility, consistent eye contact can relay a sense of confidence, leaning forward can suggest engagement and interest.

But with the widespread shift to remote work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Americans have shifted to remote work, and for many that remote work is likely to remain a feature of employment for the foreseeable future, even as the pandemic subsides. This means, among other things, that common visual cues around body language are more difficult to pick up in the new remote world. There is widespread use of video conferencing tools, but these don’t fully mimic the nuances of in-person body language.

There are many relevant cues that can be picked up through various aspects of digital communications in a manner similar to how body language is read. The ability to read that language is important for creating a positive work environment in remote and hybrid settings.

Something as simple as including a smiling emoji on an email or text can help set a friendly, disarming tone with colleagues and subordinates and change an email requesting a status update of a project from something that could be taken as demanding and impatient to a casual, friendly check-in.

The fact that millions of Americans have shifted to a remote work setting means that it’s more important than ever to be conscious of how communication is received. While working in-person in an office allowed coworkers to rely on body language to communicate more effectively, that becomes more challenging in a remote setting.

Nevertheless, digital body language can help bridge the gap as long as employees understand how to leverage it. It’s another form of communication that companies should be alert to as they help train their employees for success in the new world of work.

—Adapted from "The Impact of Remote Work on Reading Body Language," by HR Daily Advisor, a sibling publication to HealthLeaders, July 19, 2021.

Special Thanks to Our Platinum and Gold Sponsors

The generosity of SOHL's Platinum and Gold Sponsors make all that we do possible! 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






Dexcom, Inc. empowers people to take control of diabetes through innovative continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems. Headquartered in San Diego, California, Dexcom has emerged as a leader of diabetes care technology. By listening to the needs of users, caregivers, and providers, Dexcom simplifies and improves diabetes management around the world.






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.





Established in 1948, the award-winning team at Palomar Health provides the most comprehensive health care in North San Diego County through its two medical centers and more than 900 affiliated medical providers. Palomar Health is San Diego County’s only member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network.



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.