Cedars-Sinai Graduates Leaders to Strengthen Safety Net
A Cedars-Sinai funded leadership program recently graduated its second class of more than two dozen community clinic managers who return to their organizations with a new vigor to tackle the complex health needs of the city’s most vulnerable residents.
The eight-month Managing to Leading program—part of a larger community clinic initiative that focuses on quality improvement, financial strength and effective data management—provides intensive training and hands-on experience to help clinic managers become agents of change within their organizations.
"One of the most important things about this program is the way it increases the bench strength of talented leaders who will be ready to step in when the opportunity presents itself," said Thomas M. Priselac, president and CEO, during the graduation on April 20 at the Cedars-Sinai Accelerator Innovation Space.
Priselac noted, "There’s a direct connection between the program we’re celebrating tonight and this site where we advance emerging technologies to make healthcare more affordable, accessible and efficient."
The 26 graduates represent 18 local clinics, including Eisner Health, Watts Healthcare Corporation, Planned Parenthood, Los Angeles Christian Health Centers, Saban Community Clinic and Venice Family Clinic.
Louise McCarthy, president and CEO of the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, said the leadership training program helps address a nationwide healthcare workforce shortage that is “particularly acute” in Los Angeles.
"We need to grow our own leadership. Cedars-Sinai’s Managing to Leading program is exciting because it creates capacity within clinics," McCarthy said. "It elevates these organizations, so they can elevate the patient experience with innovation, new ideas and strategic thinking."
Priselac noted the program, offered in partnership with the Healthforce Center at the University of California, San Francisco, prepares leaders to fight healthcare disparities.
"Supporting local clinics is fundamental to Cedars-Sinai’s community benefit work. It’s an integral part of what we believe we can and should do to make Los Angeles stronger for all of us," he said.
Graduates praised the program for enhancing their communication and motivational skills and also for developing a new network of support.
"The dedication and passion of the Healthforce Center and Cedars-Sinai for this leadership program are priceless," said Steonée Laskey, director of operations at QueensCare Health Centers. "Every single person who walks out this door with a certificate is a game-changer. We will make sure our community gets better quality of care."
"Supporting local clinics is fundamental to Cedars-Sinai’s community benefit work. It’s an integral part of what we believe we can and should do to make Los Angeles stronger for all of us."
Erin O’Leary-Wood, nurse manager at Asian Pacific Health Care Venture, Inc., said she learned to delegate and create boundaries to avoid burnout. She also talked about the passion she and her fellow program participants bring to their work.
"My clinic serves undocumented and underserved people. Many of them don’t speak English, and many are in a foreign land in a world they don’t really understand," she said. "I’m filled daily with gratitude and honor to have the opportunity to serve this population and help them navigate the system and achieve their healthcare goals."
During the graduation, program participants answered questions about their poster presentations describing the quality-improvement projects they led at their clinics. The projects focused on strategies for tracking and completing referrals, increasing patient visits, addressing gaps in care for patients struggling with homelessness and hunger, increasing diabetic retinal screenings and forming strategic partnerships, among other goals.
Photo: Bertha Becerra of South Bay Family Healthcare Center discusses a presentation poster at the recent graduation ceremony for the Managing to Leading program. Photo by Cedars-Sinai.