Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center assistant chief physician wins North Bay Women in Business award
Kendal Hamann, M.D., assistant physician in chief for outpatient quality and care experience at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center, is a winner of North Bay Business Journal’s 2021 Women in Business Awards.
Professional background: I am a board certified endocrinologist and joined Kaiser Permanente in 2007. I currently oversee Care Experience, Outpatient Quality, and Outpatient Covid Operations in Santa Rosa and serve as the chief of the Endocrinology Department in Santa Rosa..
Education: Bachelor of Science University of California San Diego in chemistry; MD from UC San Diego; residency in Internal Medicine at UC Davis; fellowship training in Endocrinology at UC Davis
Tell us about yourself and your company: I have worked at Kaiser Permanente since completing my medical training in 2007.
I am proud to work for an organization that embraces the HMO model of health care and provides care for more than 4.4 million people in Northern California. We provide state of the art care and lead the nation in preventive health such as cancer screening and prevention of heart attack and stroke. These are the number one and two preventable causes of death which makes our work incredibly powerful and rewarding.
Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?
I am proud to have started the Covid Surveillance program for Kaiser Permanente in Santa Rosa at the start of the pandemic and see it through the various surges we have faced as a community.
This work was designed to educate and reassure people who were sick or exposed to the virus, keep them home and away from others when it was safe to do so, and intervene swiftly if they needed additional care.
We called people who were Covid positive daily, and still do. We had medications delivered to their home if they needed it, we provided medical care by phone, and we provided emotional support for many people who were anxious and scared.
We helped patients with Covid feel OK about staying at home with mild symptoms, and we helped catch them when they needed to come in urgently for care in person.
I also co-led our Covid Vaccine clinics, and to date Kaiser Permanente has provided just over 100,000 Covid vaccine doses to residents of Sonoma County.
What is your biggest challenge today?
My biggest challenge is saying “no.”
Words that best describe you: Hard working, shy, and lover of the North Bay Area.
The pandemic placed an extraordinary burden on women. They’ve had to deal with remote learning for school-aged children, plus juggling their own remote working circumstances.
Personally, which of the adjustments you’ve had to make in your home life and career have been most challenging?
I have enjoyed the closeness with my family this past year. I’ve been able to understand my kids’ struggles and successes in school and their other activities up close.
My husband and I developed new habits that include slowing down and taking time to reflect and enjoy each other’s’ company. I would say that having a “first week of school” in April of this year and figuring out how all the rides to and from work out was a stand out challenge in my personal life.
Professionally I am fortunate that our video visit technology at Kaiser Permanente was state of the art even before the pandemic. Pivoting to providing care in that new format was natural, though I did very much miss seeing my patients in person in my Endocrinology practice.
How about the women your work with, or know outside the work place? What adjustments have they had to make?
My female colleagues have been inspiring to me throughout the pandemic, especially those with young children in need of substantial help with online school. It is simply incredible what they have accomplished personally and professionally this past year.
As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?
The imposter syndrome is real for many professional women.
Over the years I have learned to grow my own sense of belonging and understand that doing so does not mean I have to compromise my own humility and individuality. Many women and men have supported me along my career path, and their support made all the difference.
Those mentors and colleagues who took the time to say, “you’re good at this, keep going” as well as provide helpful feedback when I needed it, are treasures to me.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?
I hope that medicine will evolve to be more inclusive of all. No one should live a less healthy life or a shorter life on account of lack of access to preventive care.
Who was your most important mentor? And tell us a little bit about that person:
I am a first generation college graduate in my family. When I was a little girl I wanted to be secretary or a house cleaner.
Those roles, along with teachers, were the professions I understood to be available to me as a woman. And, as an incredibly shy person I couldn’t picture myself standing in front of a room full of students.
In high school I had teachers who challenged me, inspired me and nurtured my academic passions. They opened up new possibilities for me. They literally opened the world to me and showed me the way to a path of lifelong learning.
What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?
Work hard. Challenge yourself. Keep going and keep growing. Listen to others AND listen to yourself.
Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Best place to work outside of your office: In the community, we did a pop up Covid Vaccine clinic at Wright Charter Elementary school in Roseland which is a bicultural community in Santa Rosa. We collaborated with the Raizes Collective who received a vaccine equity grant from Kaiser Permanente, and we vaccinated just over 160 people over three hours. Preventing illness and helping others always brings me joy.
Current reading: “Migrations” by Charlotte McConachy
Social media you most use: I barely use social media which is totally confusing to my kids. I enjoy one on one time with others by phone or in person.
Stress relievers: Running. Music. Visual and performing arts.
Favorite hobbies: Watching ballet and visiting museums with my kids in San Francisco or other cities around the world; fly fishing; my vegetable garden.
Is there something we didn’t ask that you would like to add?
Thank you for the recognition. There are countless other women with whom I work who are equally deserving.