Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc., and Hospitals
What inspires you in your work?
I regard health care as a basic human right, and I view my work in medicine as a means to promote social justice. I am inspired by health care professionals who take the time to listen and address patients’ physical, emotional and social needs as well as those who build systems to make it possible for those needs to be more efficiently and effectively addressed for all, especially those among us who are most vulnerable for poor health outcomes.
What's your secret vice?
A perfect expresso. In pursuit of this goal I have travelled to coffee producing regions in Columbia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Hawaii to develop an appreciation of differences in the beans. At home, I roast my own beans, use a grinder that reliably prepares an exact amount of coffee to my specifications, and then prepare the perfect cup through an Italian expresso maker that is capable of extracting the flavors. For my wife, who prefers some whitening of her coffee, I dabble in latte’ art.
What’s your secret talent?
Shavasana. Several years ago I started to practice yoga with my wife, Rebecca. I have found yoga to not only be a wonderful compliment to my other favorite exercise activities of skiing, cycling and swimming, but also a way to discover my secret talent, shavasana. It perhaps sounds funny to celebrate a talent for relaxing, but given the pace of my life at work and home, I believe I am truly fortunate to be able to rapidly transition from full exertion to rest. Taking a lesson from our own beating hearts, we need to spend more time in relaxation (diastole) than exertion (systole) to sustain ourselves.
If you could change one thing about healthcare, what would it be?
One of the things I love about medicine is the use of research and scientific processes to advance our understanding of disease and its treatment. Patients contribute so much to this process, and therefore I believe that we have an obligation to turn what we learn from them into better clinical practices. Unfortunately, we are often slow and inconsistent in our adoption of research evidence to improve practice. I believe that we’re to make a greater commitment to systematically implement what we learn from research, we could greatly improve health outcomes and achieve greater equity for all.