USC Student Health Council

Transformative Leadership

Transformative Leadership 4/2 @ 630pm

Snapshots of Cultural Change at Local Hospital
April 2nd, 6:30pm | The Radisson

During this period of intense industry change, a number of hospitals and healthcare organizations are developing and implementing cultural / organizational change by:

  • Developing a long-term strategic plan for the organization
  • Aligning mission, vision and values
  • Creating a culture of service excellence
  • Retaining, engaging and developing employees

Learn more about what local hospitals are doing at this highly-anticipated healthcare forum with three well-established leaders in the industry!


Dr. Lavonna LewisLavonna Lewis, PhD USC Price School of Public Policy
Teaching Professor & Director of Undergraduate Programs
Los Angeles, CA

LaVonna Blair Lewis, Ph.D., MPH, is a Teaching Professor and the Director of Undergraduate Programs at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. She is also the Director of the USC Diversity in Healthcare Leadership Initiative, explained in greater detail below. Dr. Lewis joined the USC faculty in 1996 from Rice University where she received her PhD in Political Science and she was selected Undergraduate Professor of the Year in 1998 and 2001. In 2013, she was selected Professor of the Year for the Masters in Health Administration Program. Dr. Lewis’ areas of research and professional interests consistently focus on cultural competency and health disparities, both targeting the health status and health care needs of underrepresented groups. As such, she feels she has a two-fold mission in life—to make the invisible, visible (if people are blind or unaware of problems for a particular group or in a particular community, you have to find ways to get these problems on their radar screen) and to make people uncomfortable (she believes that if people are always comfortable, they aren’t being challenged or they have quit learning and growing).

 In an effort to address cultural competency, Dr. Lewis established the USC Diversity in Healthcare Leadership Initiative, which was started in 2002, with initial funding provided by the California Wellness Foundation. Its’ signature program is the Summer Enrichment Program which is offered in both Los Angeles and Sacramento, and which introduces career options in healthcare management to graduating baccalaureate students and undergraduates who may have an interest in health, but are unaware of the scope of opportunities available in healthcare management. The initial goal of the program was to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups applying to and enrolling in programs in health management, public health, and health policy, but it has since been expanded to all students. In addition, she serves as a cultural competency consultant for hospitals and other health care organizations as they seek to develop strategies and plans to enhance the cultural competency of their staff.

She is currently involved in multiple projects that address racial and ethnic health disparities in cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, and infant mortality. From 1999-2012 she worked with a Los Angeles based community based organization (CBO), the Community Health Councils, Inc., on the African American Building a Legacy of Health (AABLH) Project. The project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was a community based project that explores individual, organizational, and community support for (and barriers to) healthy living, a key factor in reducing CVD and diabetes.

Additional funding from the CDC in the form of a Community Transformation Grant and REACH Demonstration grant will explore lessons learned in the AABLH project in other ethnic enclaves and communities in Los Angeles County. In addition, the new projects will work with additional partners and other types of community organizations, including schools and federally qualified health centers.

Her work has appeared in the American Journal of Public Health, Family and Community Health, the Journal of General Internal Medicine, and other health management and policy journals. Moreover, all of the work to date has employed a community based participatory research framework that partners with the relevant stakeholder groups in developing the research questions.


Tony Padilla, MBA

Tony Padilla, MBA | UCLA Health
Chief Patient Experience Officer
Los Angeles, CA

Tony Padilla has dedicated his career to improving the patient experience. He leads UCLA Health’s efforts in fostering a patient-centered culture through its CICARE philosophy. Mr. Padilla was instrumental in the implementation of CICARE and its
success in raising UCLA’s HCAHPS “hospital rating” scores from the 26th percentile in 2007 to the 97th percentile in 2012. Mr. Padilla partners with UCLA Health’s patients, physicians, staff and executive team on an array of patient experience efforts.

Mr. Padilla is responsible for ensuring that CICARE is incorporated into UCLA’s leadership practices, service training, employee selection and onboarding processes.  He partners with the entire UCLA team to ensure that patients are true partners at each juncture of their experience. In partnership with the UCLA’s Performance Excellence team and the UCLA Institute for Innovation in Health, Mr. Padilla works to make the voice of the patient a central component of UCLA’s improvement paradigm.

Mr. Padilla also oversees UCLA’s Patient Advisor Program, Patient Liaison Services, Patient Satisfaction Surveys, Language Assistance, “Front Door” services, UCLA’s Patient and Family Guest House, and a volunteer corp. of over 3,000 individuals.  Mr. Padilla develops and instructs courses in Patient Advocacy at UCLA Extension and
has served on the member advisory boards of University Healthsystems Consortium, The Picker Institute, Press-Ganey Associates, and the Beryl Institute. He earned his B.A. in Psychology from the University of Southern California and his MBA from Pepperdine University.

char ryan

Char Ryan, MHA Keck Hospital of USC
Patient Experience Officer
Los Angeles, CA

Char Ryan is the Patient Experience Officer at Keck Medical Center of USC. In this position she leads her team to promote a culture of patient-centric care which embodies and emphasizes outstanding service and compassion. Responsibilities also include transforming the experience of our colleagues, patients, families, visitors and guests to exceed their expectations.

The Patient Experience Officer (PXO) represents the ‘Voice of the Patient and Family’ and works closely with and influences senior leaders, medical staff and departmental directors to ensure that all patient experiences at Keck Medical Center of USC embody the highest degree of service and compassion. This PXO brings cutting-edge best practices and a passion for patient advocacy, patient and family centered care, unparalleled customer service skills and the ability to serve as an expert resource and a dynamic leader to internal and external patients/customers.

Accountable for creating, implementing, coordinating and integrating processes, systems and structures, the Patient Experience Officer has responsibility for collaborating closely with senior leaders and teams across the medical enterprise to align clinical quality and performance improvement strategies with service excellence outcomes.

Char received her bachelors degree in business administration and her masters degree from USC in health administration.

Dr. Cynde Herman

Cynde Herman, PhD | Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA

Dr. Cynde Herman has more than 20 years of experience in Health Care focused in administration, human resources, and operations in a variety of settings – academic medicine at CHLA and the Keck School of Medicine at USC, private physician practice, physician practice plan, and hospital administration in internal medicine (cardiology, endocrinology), surgery (adult and pediatrics), ophthalmology, pediatric anesthesiology and critical care medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology. In these settings,she has served in leadership roles including Administrative Director, Division Administrator, and COO of the physician practice plan of USC Obstetrics and Gynecology, Inc.

Dr. Herman’s work focus shifted after receiving her Doctorate in Organization and Management (with an emphasis in Leadership) in 2004 at Capella University. Shortly thereafter, she completed her second Master’s degree (MS.Ed) in Post-Secondary (Adult) Education at Capella University and began teaching in graduate and undergraduate programs in the areas of Leadership, Management, Organizational Behavior, and Human Resources. She is an adjunct professor the University of Redlands(from 2004) as well as a Clinical Instructor for USC since 2006. Dr. Herman’s foundational education background prior to this shift and focus was in business,receiving her BS and MBA in business administration from University of Redlands. She is also a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Dr. Herman now leads, works, and educates in the areas of Leadership Development,Management Development, Organizational Effectiveness, Culture Transformation, and Change. The emphasis of this work is on personal transformation and accountability from the perspective of mindset and choice (not compliance) – leading to increased results, effectiveness, and emotional / social intelligence. With her team, Dr. Herman facilitates culture transformation retreats, the annual Leadership Conference,organizational effectiveness interventions, leadership development, and management development in addition to onboarding programs.

Dr. Herman serves on two advisory boards, The Vision Center at Children’s Hospital and The Children’s Hospital Association – Learning and Performance Forums. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) and the Society forHuman Resource Management (SHRM). She has served most recently as a committee member of ACHE’s Programs, Products, and Services Committee (2009-2011) and she has co-authored the chapter, “Intersection of leadership, organizational culture, and clinical performance” in the text – Pediatric and Congenital Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery and Intensive Care.

RSVP & Purchase your tickets here.

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