Physi­cian to lead Calif. foun­da­tion

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK IN HEALTHCARE - –Steven Ross John­son

It was her in­ter­est in ex­am­in­ing how ed­u­ca­tion, poverty and ge­og­ra­phy in­flu­ence the health sta­tus of com­mu­ni­ties that prompted Dr. San­dra Her­nan­dez to make the switch in 1997 from her role as di­rec­tor of the San Fran­cisco Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health to the world of phi­lan­thropy, head­ing the San Fran­cisco Foun­da­tion.

As she pre­pares to take over as pres­i­dent and CEO of the Cal­i­for­nia Health­Care Foun­da­tion in Jan­uary, Her­nan­dez re­flected on her 16 years as head of the San Fran­cisco Foun­da­tion and the lessons she learned about the po­ten­tial role phi­lan­thropy can play in im­prov­ing pub­lic health.

“The San Fran­cisco Foun­da­tion was an ex­tra­or­di­nary place to take a pri­mary-care-trained physi­cian like me and re­ally deeply un­der­stand all of the dif­fer­ent levers that ex­ist in in­flu­enc­ing health out­comes in com­mu­ni­ties, and ways in which phi­lan­thropy could act as a cat­a­lyst for so­cial change and im­proved health in com­mu­ni­ties,” she says.

Her­nan­dez said she’s thrilled to join the Cal­i­for­nia Health­Care Foun­da­tion, with its $700 mil­lion en­dow­ment, as the na­tion im­ple­ments the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act.

“It’s a very his­toric time, in my view, to be able to en­gage in this phil­an­thropic work while ACA im­ple­men­ta­tion is un­der­way,” Her­nan­dez said. “It uses my back­ground in hav­ing run a very large de­liv­ery sys­tem in the city of San Fran­cisco.”

Her­nan­dez suc­ceeds found­ing Pres­i­dent and CEO Dr. Mark Smith, who is step­ping down from the po­si­tion he has held since 1996.

“Pass­ing the ba­ton to San­dra Her­nan­dez gives me great plea­sure,” Smith said in a writ­ten state­ment. “I have ad­mired her work both from afar and up close at San Fran­cisco Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal ... I know she will ca­pa­bly lead the foun­da­tion into the fu­ture.”

Look­ing ahead, Her­nan­dez said she planned to as­sess the pro­grams the Cal­i­for­nia foun­da­tion funds to see where re­sources can best be used. “I’m not re­ally go­ing in there to do a dra­matic change of di­rec­tion,” she said. “We will look at what’s work­ing and what other op­por­tu­ni­ties ex­ist.”


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