Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center administrator wins North Bay Business Leadership Pride award

Paul-Louis Maillard

Medical group administrator

Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center

401 Bicentennial Way Santa Rosa 95403

707- 393-4000

Paul-Louis Maillard, Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center medical group administrator, is a winner of North Bay Business Journal’s inaugural Pride Business Leadership Awards.

Professional background: Paul-Louis, or “P.L.” as he is known in professional settings, has served as the medical group administrator for the Kaiser Permanente, Santa Rosa Medical Center since February 2018. As the chief administrator for The Permanente Medical Group (TPMG), P.L. serves as the administrative partner for TPMG’s Physician in Chief for Santa Rosa, Dr. Michael Shulman, providing oversight for 1,500-plus employees and over 400 physicians.

P.L. previously worked as assistant medical group administrator (AMGA) in Santa Rosa since 2106, where he had oversight for primary care, the Emergency Department, hospital-based medicine, and the ambulatory care experience program. P.L. also served as an AMGA in the Southern California Region at Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center (LAMC) for 12 years prior to his relocation to Northern California.

P.L began his career as a physical therapist, working in acute rehabilitation settings where he specialized in the treatment of neurological diagnoses, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and stroke.

Education: University of California, Berkeley – Bachelor of Arts Dramatic Art/Dance, Kinesiology; University of California, San Francisco/San Francisco State University (Joint Program – Master’s in Physical Therapy; University of Phoenix – Master’s in Healthcare Administration ; Harvard Business School – Kaiser Permanente Executive Leadership Program (ELP)

Tell us your story in your words: I live in Sebastopol and am the father of three grown daughters. My hobbies include gardening, beekeeping, and enjoying the outdoors in beautiful Sonoma County! I am an avid animal lover, volunteering with Forget Me Not Farms - Animal Rescue & Youth Mentoring Program and serving on the North West board of directors for Canine Companions for Independence.

I am a dual national with France, having been born in New York City to French Nationals. I have lived in both countries, and this bi-cultural perspective has provided me with valuable insight into my life and work.

As a gay man who grew up in the 1970s and came of age in the 1980s, much of my early life was about developing a sense of myself as someone who was different but belonged and was valued, then navigating how to feel seen and heard in the world.

I came out in high school, and shortly after that, many friends and mentors in my community began to die from AIDS, and this crisis and the response from the LGBTQ community very much influenced my early adulthood. Becoming a father as a co-parent with a lesbian couple — two of my best friends from college — was thus such a joy-filled and life-affirming journey to embark upon following that time.

My first career was that of a professional dancer, after which I went back to school to earn a master’s in physical therapy and a second master’s in health care administration. As I transitioned into leadership, like those from any under-represented group, I felt a lot of pressure to be a role model to show that an out-LGBT person could be successful in a corporate environment.

I am so fortunate to have such a loving family that has been such a tremendous source of support for me throughout my life.

Personally, what have you learned about yourself within the past year -- with its economic and social challenges -- and how will it change the way you live going forward?

I learned I needed to shift my perspective from that of a traditional ‘heroic leader’ responsible for all decisions and strategy to one whose chief responsibility is to develop the tremendous potential of my team. We have been through all kinds of disasters in recent years here, from fires that led to the evacuation of our hospital and clinics not once but twice, along with PSPS events and floods.

However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to quickly adapt and change virtually every aspect of how we provided care to keep our people, patients, and community safe.

With the vast scope of what was before us, it was immediately clear there was no way we could continue at that pace, and as a leader, there was absolutely no way I could do everything on my own. I had to face my limitations.

At the same time, I was presented with a phenomenal opportunity to develop my people. I witnessed and supported their growth as they stepped into key leadership roles in the various aspects of our pandemic response. I’m incredibly proud of how we have and will continue to keep our community safe. This work continues, and so do the remarkable achievements of my team. I am incredibly grateful for this lesson which has forever changed the way I lead.

Did it give you a new perspective about your career or the business you are in? What was the biggest shift in that perception?

Our approach to health care delivery completely changed. In addition to the rapid shift to providing virtual health care, we also went from patients coming into our facilities to our physicians and staff going out to the community, such as to Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly and Skilled Nursing Facilities.

We had to adjust to the needs of our patient population and significantly altered our approach to medical care, moving many services outdoors and into tents.

We also had to shift our roles and duties to meet the areas of greatest need as the pandemic unfolded. We have rapidly contributed to the evolution of care delivery and the future of medicine. It gave me a new perspective in terms of where we provide and how we provide care.

In terms of my career, not only did we pivot to virtual health care, but we pivoted to virtual leadership. I gained a new perspective on the importance of clear and consistent messaging and how we network, support, monitor, and develop our teams because we had vastly fewer touchpoints for our people. The most significant shift in my perspective was the realization of how quickly we can change.

Changes in the health care industry have typically been slow, methodical, and driven by rigorous research and development over time.

And yet, look at how quickly we were able to develop a COVID vaccine! It was estimated to take a minimum of two years to develop, yet in less than one year, we swiftly made considerable strides in containing the pandemic.

Of all the things you learned about yourself in the past year or so, which one surprises you the most and why?

Resiliency as an essential life skill surprised me the most.

Yes, prior to this past year, I felt we were a reasonably resilient facility and community with the fires, the power outages, the floods, etc.

However, the pandemic hit when we were still recovering from all of those recent traumas. This past year has been relentless, lasting far longer than any past disaster with which we have dealt. I have never had to sustain a wholesale change, and at such a pace, for so long.

I would never have thought myself capable. I had to lead differently, and I had to ask the same of my team. Never has the importance of work-life balance and taking care of ourselves so we can continue to take care of others been so critical. It really is amazing what you can do when you must.

What stereotype or bias involving the Pride movement which you most like to knock down and why?

Thank you for acknowledging that all of us have biases.

That is incredibly important. We talk so much in health care about social inequities, and we are exceedingly aware of the impact of biases on people’s health.

For example, one of the biggest indicators for your life span is your zip code. So too, the impact of the pandemic was not equitable.

For example, the inequity was immediately evident as not everyone understood how to protect themselves or access the care and information they needed. We became aware that we needed to develop different strategies for different communities and life experiences, for youth and the elderly, rural vs. urban. T

The bias that I would most like to address is the assumption that we have a uniform LGBTQ community. Our LGBTQ community is just as diverse as the community at large. Every segment and every age group has different needs, many shaped by a legacy of fear and discrimination.

We can’t assume we are doing right by all in our community by meeting the needs of only one group. LGBTQ is not a line item, and servicing the LGBTQ community is not a one-stop-shop.

What was the best decision you made in the past year in your professional life, and what was the worst? Tell us why.

The best decision I made harkens back to the first question: Trusting, supporting, and tapping into the leadership potential of my team and the importance of bringing us all together while working virtually. I eventually realized I could not be the expert or key point of access in all things.

In retrospect, I wish I had immediately initiated a complete and open-minded call to action to everyone from the onset. I didn’t realize initially how much that this was going to be a marathon, not a sprint.

Our entire care-delivery team here at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa would need support as well as relief to make it through a pandemic that is still ongoing a year and a half later.

What is the achievement you are most proud of when it comes to your professional life and why:

I am most proud of my leadership through adversity here in Sonoma County. From the fires, PSPS events, floods, and now the COVID-19 pandemic, we have withstood five years of incredible challenges.

These events have had a devastating impact on our community at large and on our Kaiser Permanente community, as many physicians and employees lost their homes in 2017 and have been rebuilding ever since. Along with my team of leaders, my most significant achievement has been that we have helped keep our county and medical center community safe.

What are you most proud of regarding the achievements of your organization, your work and/or your community activities when it comes to the Pride movement?

I’m incredibly proud of Kaiser Permanente’s commitment and proven dedication to health care equity for the LGBTQ community.

For example, we were one of the first health plans in the country to cover gender-affirming surgery. Before I transferred to Northern California, I served as the Administrative Director for the first-ever Kaiser Permanente Center of Excellence for Culturally Competent Care for LGBTQ Health Care Equity at Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center.

I also helped organize and present our organization’s first-ever regional and national conferences on LBGTQ health care. In Northern California, I’m proud of advocating, along with my organization, for the needs of our most at-risk LGBTQ populations through our community benefit work.

Words that best describe you: Energetic, strategic, kind, warm, dedicated, and curious

As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

Probably my self-doubt and internalized homophobia about what I might achieve as an out gay man in a very traditional industry and corporate environment. I came to health care as my second career.

I started out as a professional dancer, then went back to school to study health science and pursued my first master’s program in physical therapy, followed by a second master’s in health care administration.

I felt the pressure to succeed while balancing my non-traditional family’s needs. I was a different kind of parent in that my husband and I were co-parents with the lesbian couple we partnered with to have our three daughters. I was atypical on all fronts, yet felt pressure to ‘prove’ that I could succeed on all fronts, as a ‘model’ gay man, father, professional, etc.

I overcame these obstacles through a lot of work on myself and my own personal and professional development. I strove to bring my most authentic self to every situation, regardless of whether it was one with which I would not be included or comfortable with traditionally.

Now tell us who influenced, mentored or inspired you in the area of the Pride movement, and tell us why: LGBTQ health care champions have influenced, mentored, and inspired me at every point in my life and career. As a young man in the midst of the AIDS crisis,

I volunteered with the Shanti Project. Here at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa, there have been two physician leaders who have inspired me — Dr. Kate Feibusch and Dr. Rachel Friedman. In addition to being a champion for LBGTQ health care, Dr. Feibusch has founded health clinics and health care training centers in Guatemala.

As associate program director for our Family Medicine Residency Program, Dr. Friedman has dedicated herself to educating our medical center about unconscious bias and racial and ethnic inequities in health care.

Remi Newman is one of our health educators, and through her work, especially in HIV, she epitomizes the LGBTQ ally and passionate community advocate.

Dr. Richard Mehman was my physician partner when I was the Administrative Director for the first-ever Kaiser Permanente Center of Excellence for Culturally Competent Care for LGBTQ Health Equity at Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center. He, too, is a passionate and fearless advocate for the health care needs of our community. He never hesitated to address important but uncomfortable topics with a community that was often woefully uninformed.

Nationally, I’m inspired by Dr. Ronald L. Copeland, Senior Vice President of National Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and Policy and Chief Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals. An African American man trained as a surgeon, Dr. Copeland has dedicated his professional life to equity, diversity, and inclusion, with the health care needs of the LGBTQ community always present.

Current reading: I recently finished “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles

Most want to meet: I am a devoted follower of the ‘Letters from an American’ writings of Heather Cox Richardson. She is a 19th-century American history professor at Boston College. I read her column every day, and her historical insight helps put today’s complex political landscape into perspective.

Stress relievers: Anything outdoors in Sonoma County or the North Bay. My job is so social; I’m around people so much that solitude and time for reflection are very restorative.

Favorite activities outside work: Time with my family and friends, including traveling to be with those who live in other parts of the world (once all COVID restrictions are finally lifted!). The importance of maintaining those connections and buoying each other up is a high priority.

Those who care about you, what would they say are your best qualities: My empathy, sense of humor, and commitment to my own development and helping people with theirs.

Paul-Louis Maillard

Medical group administrator

Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center

401 Bicentennial Way Santa Rosa 95403

707- 393-4000

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