This all started years ago when I toured the yet-to-be-opened Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center with Dr. David Feinberg. While I was overwhelmed by the beauty, grandeur, and futuristic technology of the complex, I was ostensibly visiting it in preparation for a presentation that I was to give to Dr. Feinberg’s leadership team. That presentation was focused on making sure that the patient experience at UCLA was commensurate with the quality of the soon-to-be-opened new hospital.
While I had no idea that this book would emerge from that early work at UCLA, I suspect that Dr. Feinberg had already envisioned this outcome. I will forever be grateful to David for his ability to see and make this book possible. Moreover, I am in debt to him for his mentorship on developing a service-centric culture and his living example of what it takes to put your patient/customer first.
Lest you think that Dr. Feinberg was solely responsible for this book or for the amazing level of care provided throughout UCLA Health System, I must quickly acknowledge all the members of the senior leadership team and of the medical community who shared their time and wisdom. Of special note are Amir Dan Rubin, Dr. Gerald Levey, Dr. Tom Rosenthal, and Mark Speare. Each of these people made extraordinary contributions to Prescription for Excellence. They stand out for the significance of their contribution and their passion for service.
Pattie Cuen, director of marketing at UCLA Health System, and her team (particularly Jake Scherzer and Marina Lawson) were my gracious guides and coordinators at UCLA. Pattie helped with finding appropriate UCLA staff members and scheduling meetings with them, streamlining my meetings with leaders, securing releases, overseeing the editing of the manuscript, and generally keeping a seemingly implausible process running flawlessly. Pattie did all of this with positivity, graciousness, and humor. Without Pattie, this would have been a concept, not a book.
There are far too many UCLA contributors for me to recognize all of them by name in this section. However, in the back pages of the book, you will find what is intended to be a list of all those who participated in this project.
I am becoming increasingly embarrassed that my name is the only one that appears on the covers of the books on which I have worked. Don’t get me wrong, I am proud to have my name on the cover; it is just that one person can’t produce a project of this size. In this instance, I have benefited from three amazingly talented research assistants, Ryan Walsh, Kelly Merkel, and Jill Merkel. The administrative duties and interviews conducted by this trio serve as the foundation on which this book is assembled. Lloyd Rich, publishing attorney extraordinaire, keeps my writing career moving smoothly, and Terry Moore uses his photographic talents to smooth out my wrinkles. Thanks to both of you for allowing me to benefit from your sizable talents.
So now to the not-so-big secret, at least for anyone who has had the pleasure of working with her. Lynn Stenftenagel, my SVP of operations, has been most instrumental to this book’s existence. In fact, this is the third book I have worked on with Lynn, and I am not sure how I wrote my first two without her. Suffice it to say that I can’t envision ever again doing a book without her involvement. She is my friend, business partner, supporter, taskmaster, organizer, and project manager. When it comes to this book and my overall business success, one name stands out—Lynn.
The last couple of years have been a time of significant challenge and interpersonal growth. As a result of this turmoil and evolution, I have come to appreciate my family and friends at an even deeper level. Fiona, you have always brought a warmth, charm, and presence wherever you go. I am so grateful that you are and always will be “my girl.” Dance, act, sing—the world needs your joy. Andrew, just yesterday you were a boy, and now you are a man. I am inspired by your rapid interpersonal growth and maturation. I cherish the adult-to-adult relationship we are developing. Andrew and Fiona, I am so proud of both of you, and I welcome the opportunities to share your victories and your sorrows. Nora, your strength, patience, forgiveness, faith, and laughter are gifts that I will never deserve. Thanks for sharing them unwaveringly and for keeping our family together through so much adversity. You have silently toiled and nurtured the children and me, always doing so without the appreciation, respect, and recognition that you deserved.
The support of friends and colleagues is central to my being able to do what I love. Special recognition goes to Dr. Dale Mann, Rob Graf, Paul Prouty, Tim Horne, Dr. Dwight Gaudet, Michael Pollard, Dr. Bill Dove, Doug Fleener, and Dr. Jeff Wooddell.
I am not one to mention my faith in the context of my professional life, but I must thank God for abounding love, uplifting hope, and truly amazing grace.
Wow, are you still reading these acknowledgments? Then I guess it is time that you were finally recognized. I understand the formula: no readers = no books. Your supportive readership is so important to me and has made this book possible. The only way I know to repay you is to try to meet your needs with each word. My gratitude lives in the benefits I hope you will derive from Prescription for Excellence.